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Could Digital Currencies Become a Target in the Fight Against Ransomware?
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Could Digital Currencies Become a Target in the Fight Against Ransomware?

by Rebecca CampbellSeptember 23, 2016

According to a former assistant attorney general at the U.S. Department of Justice’s National Security Division, tackling the rise in ransomware attacks could see action taken against hard-to-trace digital currencies such as bitcoin.

In the last year, there has been an increase in the number of ransomware attacks.

Earlier this year, a Canadian university had to pay bitcoin to malicious hackers so that it could access its computer systems after a cyberattack denied access to its data. In February, a Hollywood hospital was the target of ransomware attack and had to pay $17,000 in bitcoins to the extortionists.

Unsurprisingly, due to the rise in ransomware attacks, banks are now keeping hold of bitcoins to pay ransom demands in case they become targeted by a cyberattack.

Speaking to Business Insider, David S. Kris, former assistant attorney general at the U.S. Department of Justice’s National Security Division said that:

I think the way to attack this – and I think the way you’re probably going to see some legal change over the next few years – is on the other end, with respect to the payments.

According to the tech firm Kaspersky Lab, this summer has seen a rise in the number of cyberattack victims. In 2014-2015, the number was around 131,000, but in 2015-2016 it had risen to an alarming 718,000, as reported by Business Insider.

A report from CCN last month found that, according to Juan Andres Guerrero-Saade, a Kaspersky Lab ZAO researcher, criminals employ ransomware because it’s easier to launch and because it’s more profitable compared to breaking into computers to steal funds through online banking.

Unfortunately, with various companies and organizations being targeted by ransomware attacks, it seems as though the threat from hackers is not going away anytime soon.

With the wide use of digital currencies making it easier for criminals to demand ransom payments coupled with a low risk of being caught, the use of digital currencies such as bitcoin will also continue for now.

Featured image from iStock/skodonnell.


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  • Why not catch the hackers and prosecute them? There is no footprint?
    And how about doing backups? Taking responsibility?

    • Nah, far easier to carpet the world than wear slippers.

  • 梁致朗

    Could GOLD Become a Target in the Fight Against Ransom?

  • dCo3lh0

    I agree with pete with the backups, but catching them is a little hard with such things as untraceable monero or dash, the bitcoin revolution as any kind of technology that has been created in human history have pros and cons, nice uses and evil too, we have to adapt.

    • Chris Wiedner

      What are the pros of a virtually untraceable currency? What legal use does it have that other currencies cannot fill?

      • Sam Spade

        The answer depends on whether you think government is always the good guy. If we our world is run by angles, than there is no use for anonymity in any area. If not, the latter is as essential as the dome over a nuclear power plant.

  • Rory Smith

    Bitcoins are built on a blockchain database that is decentralized. If organizations move to using the same decentalized databases to store their info, hackers couldn’t lock up the data in the first place and make ransomware a thing of the past.

    • Sam Spade

      In the case of information, sounds like just another way to make a back-up because you are too lazy to use the tools that already exist.