Due to its decentralized nature and the anonymity of transactions, bitcoin usage has been popular in the underground internet community and among ransomware criminals. However, recent illegal dealings reveal that the cryptocurrency is simply being used to facilitate transactions through money laundering but that criminals are not interested in holding on to bitcoin for too long.
Instead, the falling price of bitcoin is leading them to convert it to cash right away – making its usage limited to the transactions involved in criminal activities rather than an investment vehicle. According to a senior fraud prevention strategist at IBM Security, criminals just use it to conceal their identity in making payments.
Bitcoin and Ransomware
Even the underground forums of Russian criminals are discussing that the continuous fall in the bitcoin’s value is making it less appealing to keep bitcoin. It has played a huge role in the ransomware market, as the malware encrypts all the documents it can find in an infected computer until the user pays in bitcoin.
To do this, users called “mules” are recruited to do the job then are paid by the masterminds in bitcoin. Mules can be anyone from retirees looking to supplement their income by working from home or overseas students looking to earn commission from the process.
What makes this system difficult to break down is that the mules typically don’t know that they are participating in an illegal activity until the police arrest them. However, the identity of the masterminds are kept secret since the dealings are conducted online and through bitcoin payments.
Ransomware attacks can also be spread through websites with malware. An entire server’s database can be gradually encrypted with malware and render other backups useless, allowing the criminals to extract cash from the business. So far, there haven’t been much security developments to protect regular internet users from these attacks.
Instead, the falling price of bitcoin is leading them to convert it […]