The U.S. treasury released a report; the report stated that over $ 5 billion bitcoin transactions are associated with the top ten ransomware variants. The department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCen) and Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) published two reports: the report underscored how profitable ransomware associated with cybercrimes has become for gangs. The report entailed financial service firms reports- Suspicious activity reports (SAR) – filed to the U.S. government.

SARS report disclosed that ransomware SARS activity amounted to $590 million in the first six months of 2021.

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“FinCEN analysis of ransomware-related SARs filed during the first half of 2021 indicates that ransomware is an increasing threat to the US financial sector, businesses and the public. The number of ransomware-related SARs filed monthly has grown rapidly, with 635 SARs filed and 458 transactions reported between 1 January 2021 and 30 June 2021, up 30 percent from the total of 487 SARs filed for the entire 2020 calendar year,” the report said.

The Treasury department analyzed 177 unique convertible wallet addresses used for ransomware related payments. This ransomware was linked to the 10 most commonly reported ransomware variants in SARS.

According to data generated from ransomware-related SARs, the mean average total monthly suspicious amount of ransomware transactions was $66.4 million and the median average was $45 million. FinCEN identified bitcoin as the most common ransomware-related payment method in reported transactions,” the report adds.

The report listed the common variants: REvil/Sodinokibi, Conti, DarkSide, Avaddon and Phobos. FinCen said it found a total of 68 different ransomware variants.

Ransomware expert and Recorded Future computer emergency response team member Allan Liska told ZDNet that Phobos being in the top five is surprising.

“Phobos tends to fall under the radar and doesn’t get a lot of attention, clearly more focus needs to be placed on it so organizations can better defend them against it,” Liska said.