Ransomware hot as Bitcoin rises?

Ransomware and Bitcoin, a small dive into the world of cybercrime

Does the value of Bitcoin impact the amount of ransomware attacks? This is the question we want to answer in this post.

Ransomware

So, ransomware is a nasty thing to have on your device, once your device gets infected with ransomware, it can be very hard to gain back control, and in addition to that, there are a lot of ransomware families, this literally means that various ransomware behavior can be expected.

Picture by Coveware

20 Ransomware families

In the list below, you will find a small collection of various ransomware families:

  1. Dharma
  2. TeslaCrypt
  3. TorrentLocker
  4. Locky
  5. CryptoWall
  6. CTB-Locker
  7. FAKBEN
  8. PayCrypt
  9. PadCrypt
  10. Gandcrab
  11. CryptXXX
  12. DMALocker
  13. SamSam
  14. CryptoLocker
  15. GlobeImposter
  16. WannaCry
  17. CryptoTorLocker
  18. NoobCrypt
  19. Globe
  20. NotPetya
  21. Razy

Relation of Bitcoin to Ransomware

In a study performed by coveware, it is mentioned that still 98% of the preferred cryptocurrency in ransomware attacks is still Bitcoin. This literally means that Bitcoin is being used for initial payments to have a chance of getting back ransomware locked files.

65 000 USD impact on a ransomware breached company

In the same study, it is also mentioned that a successful ransomware attack on a company will cost an average of 65000 USD dollars.

Targeted ransomware attacks

Now, we also have to keep in mind that we are dealing with cybercriminals, most of them are organized and know how to optimize their profit. This means that they select specific sectors to compromise.

The moment that cybercriminals have compromised for example an hospital, the chance is very high that they will receive the Bitcoin payment.

A town in Florida paid 600000 USD to cybercriminals in order to regain ownership of the ransomware infected hospital files.

If you pay, do you regain access?

Well, according to the research performed by Coveware, the companies that had been compromised with ransomware, and which had decided to pay the ransomware, did actually regain access to their files.

In 96% of the cases, the companies that paid, did receive a working ransomware decryption tool. Additionally, 93% of the data that was compromised was actually restored, which again results in a 7% dataloss.

Ransomware hot as Bitcoin rises?

The usage of ransomware by cybercriminals all depends on how profitable they can be with the ransomware attacks. If we take into consideration that the price of Bitcoin can continue to rise, it will only be in the best interest of the cybercriminals to focus on attacks that enable them to force their victims to pay with Bitcoins.

So why Bitcoin?

Bitcoin is particularly useful here because it’s fast, reliable, and verifiable. The cybercriminals use the public blockchain to know if and when a payment has been performed.

The cybercriminal can create a unique payment address for each victim and automate the process of unlocking their files upon a confirmed bitcoin transaction to that unique address.

What do you think? Will Bitcoin influence the amount of ransomware attacks?