Ransomware attack: Why do hackers want payments through bitcoins?

‘WannaCry’ – the ransomware, asked users to pay a $300 ransom in bitcoins

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The recent ransomware attack has renewed a long-running debate about the dangers of digital currency. For those who are not yet aware, a malicious malware attacked almost 150 countries. The concept of the attack was simple: Your computer gets infected with a virus that encrypts your files until you pay a ransom.
 
Why do hackers prefer Bitcoin over other modes of payments?Of late, digital currency Bitcoin has emerged as a favourite tool for hackers.

Why is it a soft target? – When you pay something digitally, you use net banking, credit card or debit card. Now your information is attached to the card such as name, address, etc).

However, the case is different with bitcoin. The transactions you make using the currency are completely anonymous. According to a NDTV report, whenever customers trade in bitcoin, a private key associated with their wallet is used to generate a bit of code. That code is publicly associated with customer transaction but with no personal identifying information.

Thus, every transaction is recorded and securely signed in an open ledger that anyone can read and double-check.

Experts say that one of the probable reasons why hackers chose bitcoin as a form of payment was this – It protects identity.

Earlier, hackers used to ask for money from PayPal but due to stringent KYC (Know Your Customer) norms in PayPal, they have shifted to bitcoins.

This Twitter user has put an interesting flowchart on the Ransomware cyber attack.
 
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But what is Bitcoin?Bitcoin however, is not just a technology that can facilitate crime. It is a kind of digital currency. The coins are created by users who “mine” them by lending computing power to verify other users’ transactions. They receive bitcoins in exchange. The coins also can be bought and sold on exchanges with U.S. dollars and other currencies.

You store it in an online “wallet.” And with that wallet, you can spend bitcoin online and in the physical world for goods and services.

Bitcoin trade

According to Investopedia, Bitcoin price has undergone a price revision following the WannaCry cyber-attack. Bitcoin has enjoyed a phenomenal rally in the past few weeks, hitting a record high at $1,800 levels. However, now, the correlation between Bitcoin and criminals appeared to rapidly affect sentiment about the currency and Bitcoin’s price dropped.

The correlation between Bitcoin and criminals appeared to rapidly affect sentiment about the currency and Bitcoin’s price dropped.| read more…

 
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