XMR is arguably the currency most used by ransomware agents. CipherTrace recently released a study titled: “Current Trends in Ransomware” on ransomware trends in 2021.
Monero: The new face of ransomware
CipherTrace analysts have discovered an evolving pattern in recent ransomware attacks. Most of the groups were found to use privacy coins like XMR to increase anonymity compared to Bitcoin.
“DarkSide — the team behind the US Colonial Pipeline Company hack — accepts both BTC and XMR but charges 10-20% higher prices for BTC payments. The following image clearly illustrates this, below “$350,000” and “$700,000” a note that reads “(+20%)” for BTC. In other cases, the CipherTrace analyst observed the spread to be as little as +10%.”
Recently, the Everest Ransomware group was accused of infiltrating the US government system. After a failed negotiation, the team decided to sell the data for $500,000 in XMR only.
Another trend is increasing measures to limit security breaches. Double extortion grows on a large scale as attackers threaten to release encrypted data. Data shows that the number of ransomware attacks increased fivefold from 2020 to 2021.
How does XMR work?
XMR has rallied since late February. While top currencies like Bitcoin and ETH failed to hold onto their 2022 highs, XMR continues to rise.
According to Bloomberg, many Moreno holders started withdrawing their coins from major exchanges. This move was later known as “Monerun“. According to a post on the token-specific subreddit, coins were moved away from exchanges to create an intentional short squeeze.
“The Monero community has come to a consensus that many exchanges do not actually hold all of the XMR that customers have purchased, despite the lack of evidence,” according to Reddit user “bawdyanarchist” post.
The withdrawal is intended to force those exchanges to buy tokens, which in turn will push the price of XMR much higher, according to the Reddit user.
The Moreno’s price spiked markedly on the chart, recording its highest value since November 2021. XMR was able to cross the $275 mark twice during this bull run and looks to extend to the overhead resistance line at $300 in the coming weeks.
The RSI value also shows bullish activity with the index always in the overbought zone. The indicator is stable at around 70 at the time of writing, representing strong demand. This looks set for a further rally as we near the end of April.