Ransomware charges victims $25M in the last 2 years

 Ransomware victims paid more than $25 million in ransoms over the past two years, according to a new study reported by The Verge.

A study conducted by researchers from Google, Chainalysis, UC San Diego and the New York City-based New York University Tandon School of Engineering tracked 34 separate families of ransomware. The researchers followed victims' bitcoin ransom payments through the blockchain and compared them against known samples to draw conclusions about the ransomware ecosystem.

The dominant ransomware strain? A virus called Locky, which has incurred more than $7 million in payments since it appeared in early 2016.

"Locky's big advantage was the decoupling of the people who maintain the ransomware from the people who are infecting machines," Damon McCoy, PhD, an assistant professor at NYU who worked on the project, told The Verge. "Locky just focused on building the malware and support infrastructure. Then they had other botnets spread and distribute the malware, which were much better at that end of the business."

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