Bitcoin 

German Programmer ‘Hacks Back’ After Bitcoin Ransomware Attack

German programmer Tobias Frömel (aka “battleck”) has “hacked back” the perpetrators of the Muhstik ransomware who forced him to pay 0.09 Bitcoin (BTC) to recover access to his files. In a Bleeping Computer forum post on Oct. 7, Frömel revealed that he had hacked the attackers’ database, sharing almost 3,000 decryption keys and a free decryptor with fellow victims. An illegal but sweet revenge Bleeping Computer previously reported that publicly exposed QNAP NAS devices have been targeted by ransomware dubbed Muhstik. The attackers extorted a fixed “fee” of 0.09 Bitcoin…

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Bitcoin 

Riviera Beach City Council Agrees to Pay $600,000 in BTC to Ransomware Attackers

The city council of Riviera Beach, Florida has agreed to pay nearly $600,000 worth of Bitcoin (BTC) to regain access to data encrypted in a hacker attack, the New York Times reported on June 19. On May 29, the city experienced “a data security event” when a police department employee opened an allegedly infected email attachment, which eventually resulted in the online system breakdown. The hackers allegedly encrypted government records, blocking access to critical information and leaving the city without an ability to accept utility payments other than in person…

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Bitcoin 

64% of Ransomware Attackers Launder Proceeds via Crypto Exchanges

United States-based blockchain intelligence firm Chainalysis claims that 64% of ransomware attack cash-out strategies involve the laundering of funds via cryptocurrency exchanges. The data was revealed in a Chainalysis webinar attended by Cointelegraph on May 30. A ransomware attack involves the infection of a target with malware and the demand of a ransom payment — frequently denominated in cryptocurrencies. The payment is demanded in return for the ostensible delivery of a decryptor tool that can help victims recover access to their data. Chainalysis — which provides blockchain analytics tools that…

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Bitcoin 

Bitcoin Accounts for 98% of Crypto-Denominated Ransomware Payments, Study

Bitcoin (BTC) continues to account for the lion’s share of crypto-denominated ransomware payments, according to Coveware’s Q1 2019 Global Ransomware Marketplace report, published on April 15. The report — reportedly based upon aggregated ransomware data from cases tackled by Coveware’s Incident Response Team — indicates that in Q1 2019 the ransomware landscape saw a sharp increase in the average ransom demanded by threat actors. The average sum — demanded in exchange for the ostensible delivery of a decryptor tool that can help victims recover data after a ransomware attack —…

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Bitcoin 

Bitcoin Ransomware Hackers Laundered Money via WEX Exchange

Big Four consulting and auditing company PwC has linked Iranian nationals behind Bitcoin (BTC) ransomware scheme SamSam to the crypto exchange WEX in a recent report published in February.    The report is based on information that was previously disclosed by the United States Department of Justice (DoJ). As per the DOJ, two Iranians — Faramarz Shahi Savandi and Mohammad Mehdi Shah Mansouri — were responsible for creating SamSam. SamSam is a ransomware demanding Bitcoin that reportedly damaged multiple U.S. companies, government agencies, universities, and hospitals. Within 34 months the hackers…

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Bitcoin 

Cryptojacking Overtakes Ransomware as Top Malware in Some Countries

Cryptojacking, the unauthorized use of another’s hardware to mine cryptocurrency, has become the biggest cyber threat in many parts of the world, Bloomberg reported Dec. 14. According to research from cyber security research firm Kaspersky Lab, cryptojacking overtook ransomware as the biggest cybersecurity threat particularly in the Middle East, Turkey, and Africa. In Afghanistan and Ethiopia over one out of four detected malware are cryptocurrency miners, according to Kaspersky’s data. As cited by the Bloomberg, Kaspersky’s research “shows crypto mining attacks have risen almost fourfold in the region, from 3.5…

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