Jul 12, 2021 - Technology

"Ransomwhere" project tracks payment demands

Money.
Photo: Paul Yeung/Bloomberg via Getty Images

A new project, Ransomwhere, aims to put a dollar figure on the profit-driven attacks that have become a headache for businesses, governments and non-profits around the globe.

Why it matters: While ransomware is clearly a growing problem, there hasn't been a good way to keep tabs on how much is being paid, and to whom.

How it works: Ransomwhere is an "open, crowdsourced ransomware payment tracker" launched by Jack Cable, a former government cybersecurity expert who now works as a security architect for Krebs Stamos Group.

  • Anyone can enter a payment demand they have received, though people are required to submit a screenshot of the ransom note as one means of verifying the legitimacy of claims posted to Ransomwhere.
  • The site also keeps a running tally of bitcoin payments by taking advantage of the public nature of blockchain ledgers.
  • As of Sunday night, Ransomwhere had tracked just over $60 million in ransomware payments.

What they're saying: Cable told Axios that he launched Ransomwhere because no one was really tracking the total impact and it's hard to address what you can't measure.

  • "Without knowing the full details of ransomware economics, it's hard to tell if actions have an effect on criminal behavior," Cable said. "Knowing that bitcoin is entirely public, I started building Ransomwhere as a method to crowdsource information on ransomware payments."

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