Ransomware became an enormous problem when it was unleashed onto the unsuspecting public in 2013. It has since grown to become one of the biggest digital threats for businesses and individuals alike.
Bitcoin‘s rapid growth in recent years is partly a result of the success of ransomware. What is their connection?
How Ransomware Uses Bitcoin
Bitcoin is an encrypted payment system that makes it nearly impossible to trace transactions. While it is not exclusively for criminal activity, it has become something of a safe haven for cyber crime.
Financial blackmail goes back long before Bitcoin. Remember PO boxes? This, however, would require the blackmailer to physically collect the ransom, making it easy for the authorities to arrest the perpetrators.
Even in the digital age, Paypal and Western Union transfers are used, but are still highly traceable to bank accounts. And the slower nature of such transactions makes it harder for criminals to cover their tracks.
Bitcoin, on the other hand, uses block chain technology. This makes it almost impossible to trace. Even when the police close in on an account, you can move funds instantly, essentially laundering, and close the account.
Ransomware, Bitcoin and The Hollywood Presbyterain Medical Center
Arguably the most famous ransomware and Bitcoin case is when the Hollywood Presbyterian Center was hit in 2016 with a virus and a demand for 40 Bitcoins. This was about $17,000, which the hospital duly paid.
This caused much outrage in the wider community and led to calls for much harsher punishments for those that engage in acts of digital extortion. That is unlikely to make much of a difference, however, as ransomware viruses are popular with criminals from all corners of the globe.
Bitcoin and Other Services
While Bitcoin is the perfect method of transaction for ransomware extortion, hackers don’t use it alone very often. Anonymous browsers such as Tor make it possible to work anonymously on the Internet. This means that criminals are able to avoid detection every step of the way when using Tor and Bitcoin. Bitcoin use, and indeed its value, has soared in recent years, helped by the ransomware boom.
Backup Your Data with DMS to Make Sure This Doesn’t Happen to You
While security systems and the authorities continue to battle the latest developments in digital criminality, anonymous platforms will always provide safe havens. Sensible online practices to secure your business, such as backing up your data regularly, to an off-site location, are essential.