Ransomware Crooks Cashed Out $16 Million from Defunct Bitcoin Exchange: Google Research
The ransomware racket extorted over $16 million from 20,000 victims, research from academics and Google has revealed. | Source: Shutterstock
By CCN.com: In the two years leading up to 2018, a spate of ransomware attacks were analyzed in a report by a team of researchers hailing mostly from leading U.S. universities and Google. Results showed a conservative estimate of total funds stolen to be $16 million, with bitcoin providing a way for malicious actors to take payment from anywhere in the world.
The first quarter of 2019 has perhaps seen these types of attacks become more frequent and severe. Citing cases involving Ryuk, a notorious family of ransomware, the amounts demanded to be paid have reportedly increased by 90% since the end of last year. This marks an average ransom of $12,762 as compared to $6,733 in Q4 of 2018.
A threat to businesses and local authorities
Numerous attacks were carried out in April on U.S. based targets. The city of Greenville, North Carolina is still dealing with the fallout from a RobinHood ransomware infection; on April 13, Imperial County, California was struck by Ryuk ransomware causing some city systems to cease working; the very same day Stuart, Florida was hit by Ryuk, also, forcing a temporary shutdown of payroll, utilities, and other important functions.
Other attacks targeted infrastructure in Augusta, Maine as well as the Cleveland Hopkins International airport, which suffered outages of flight and baggage information that took up to a week to resolve. For private enterprise it is often easier to pay up rather than suffer the costs of downtime – typically 10x the amount of the actual ransom – but this would be highly problematic for local authorities who cannot be seen to incentivize these types of attacks.