Cybersecurity experts say two trends are behind the increase in ransomware assaults. The first, they said, was the growth of difficult-to-trace cryptocurrency, which has allowed hackers to easily obtain large ransom payments under the nose of financial regulators.
Meanwhile, they said, foreign governments have recognized the value in allowing hackers to operate inside their borders. Such hackers pay bribes to officials and agree to only target victims overseas. Russian operatives, in particular, believe such hackers help advance their foreign policy goals by causing trouble for adversaries, according to law enforcement officials and cybersecurity experts.