Cyber ​​attacks: few victims pay hackers for this reason

(Bloomberg). Despite this weekend’s unprecedented cyberattack , most of the Victims have not paid a ransom to the hackers. Why has this happened?

After the ransomware began infecting victims’ computers on Friday, they were given 72 hours to pay US$300 in bitcoins – method chosen by hackers because the crypto currency is harder to trace than conventional payments – or pay double that amount. If they refused to pay after seven days, their computer would be permanently locked, a serious problem for those who have not backed up their files.

As of early Monday morning, they had only paid about $50,000 in ransoms, according to Elliptic Enterprises Ltd., a London-based company that tracks the illicit use of bitcoins. The company calculated the total based on payments traced to the bitcoin addresses specified in the ransom demands, adding that it expects the total to increase.

“The amount is really low” said Michela Menting, director of digital security research at ABI Research. “This is probably due to the fact that organizations have started their backup and recovery procedures.”

On the other hand, for those who did not back up their data, pay a ransom It’s not like buying something from Amazon by providing credit or debit card information. Although hackers provide a useful link for those who haven’t paid with bitcoins, the crypto currency is unknown to most people.

“If someone receives an instruction to pay a certain amount in bitcoin, most people don’t know where to start,” said James Smith, CEO and co-founder of Elliptic.

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There are several steps. First of all, a person or company has to obtain the bitcoins by registering in one of the various online marketplaces and going through their verification process. After that, the money can be deposited in the market. And for those who live in countries that do not have a market, including the UK, the money must be converted to another currency.

Once the money is deposited in the market, the bitcoins can be sent to the address provided by the extortionist. “It seems like a long and confusing series of texts,” Smith said. After paying the ransom, the hackers allegedly release the infected computer.

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“It’s kind of hard to get a lot of bitcoin quickly,” said Alex Sunnarborg, an analyst at bitcoin research firm CoinDesk. He added that it can take a few days to create an account at a bitcoin brokerage or market, connect it to a bank account, and then receive the bitcoins.

A notable difference with this attack is that the The hackers demanded a relatively small amount of money, but from a large number of people, said James Chappell, chief technology officer and co-founder of the British security firm Digital Shadows.

Although it is More difficult than tracing a traditional bank payment, keeping track of bitcoin payments will help authorities try to track down those responsible. It’s nearly impossible to tell who’s responsible based on the bitcoin addresses they give to victims, according to Elliptic, but once the bitcoins are transferred from that address, they can be traced, which could help track down the victims. the culprits.

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