The number of ransomware incidents reported to Treasury’s financial crimes enforcement unit for the first half of 2021 exceeded those reported in all of 2020, according to a report released Friday under last year’s anti-money laundering (AML) statute.
The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), said 635 ransomware-related suspicious activity reports (SARs) were filed under the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) between Jan. 1 and June 30 of this year, up 30% from the 487 such reports filed in all of 2020. It said the value of such activity reported was $590 million, up 42% from the $416 million reported in all of 2020.
“If current trends continue, SARs filed in 2021 are projected to have a higher ransomware-related transaction value than SARs filed in the previous 10 years combined, which would represent a continuing trend of substantial increases in reported year-over-year ransomware activity,” the report states.
Of the 635 SARs filed during the review period, the report notes, 458 report actual transactions that occurred during that period worth $398 million; the remaining 177 SARs report transactions that occurred before 2021. It states that the mean average total monthly suspicious amount of ransomware transactions was $66.4 million between Jan. 1 and June 30 (the median average was $45 million).
FinCEN also identified bitcoin (BTC) as the most common ransomware-related payment method in reported transactions, the report states.