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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."

Go deeper: Ransomware epidemic intensifies

Go deeper

Google creates cybersecurity team to help respond to attacks

A Google logo at the company's offices in Berlin in August 2021. Photo: Sean Gallup/Getty Images

Google announced Tuesday it has created a new cybersecurity team to help respond to and prevent cyberattacks against governments, critical infrastructure managers and other crucial companies.

Why it matters: It said the creation of the team is in response to the recent surge in cyber and ransomware attacks, including the ransomware attempt against the Colonial Pipeline in May and the sprawling SolarWinds breach, which was uncovered in December 2020 but likely existed for months before its discovery.

Texas abortion law remains in effect after appeals court ruling

Pro- and anti-abortion protesters outside the Supreme Court as arguments begin about the Texas abortion law on Capitol Hill in November. Photo: Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images

A U.S. appeals court transferred a challenge to Texas' law banning most abortions after about six weeks of pregnancy to the state supreme court in a 2-1 vote on Monday evening.

Why it matters: The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals' decision means the country's most restrictive abortion law can remain in place for the time being.

2 hours ago - World

At least 2 dead after Tonga volcano eruption and tsunami

A satellite image of the explosive eruption of the Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha'apai volcano on Saturday. Photo: UNICEF/NOAA

At least two people are confirmed to have died in Tonga following the undersea volcanic eruption that sent tsunami waves toward the island nation and across the Pacific over the weekend, officials said Monday.

The big picture: Officials reported major damage along the western coast of the main island of Tongatapu, where the capital, Nuku'alofa, was covered in ash and dust, including on the runway of the airport. A New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson told Axios over the phone that two people had been confirmed to have died in the disaster.