WannaCry ransomware cyberattack dragged Bitcoin back into the eye of the storm
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Tale as old as time (or as Silk Road). Bitcoin is once again in the eye of the storm after WannaCry hackers dragged the digital currency back where it used to be when Silk Road was up and running. The cryptocurrency is being discredited yet again —with good reason, one might say.
The WannaCry ransomware cyberattack left Bitcoin in ruins — not financially since the price has not dropped too much but no one wants to “play with it” anymore. Case in point: blockchain initiatives are steering away from any connection they might have with the digital currency.
CoinDesk reported that the UK’s Chamber of Digital Commerce and a panel of other blockchain specialists acknowledged at a briefing for congressional staff yesterday that the cyberattack is dragging Bitcoin back into the eye of the storm where it used to be when Silk Road was the only conversation in which people heard about Bitcoin.
Since one bad apple can spoil the whole barrel, blockchain enthusiasts believe that if the technology doesn’t distance itself from its digital parent, all that has been built can fall to bits in a second. However, not everyone thinks that all is lost. CoinDesk cited Micah Winkelspecht, chief executive of Gem, a blockchain solutions company as saying that “Bitcoin is just a tool that these criminals are using.”
Bitcoin — untraceable no more?
Since payments in Bitcoin are anonymous, it’s not hard to see why hackers used this cryptocurrency as their partner in crime. Still, according to CNBC, payments can be traced. Elliptic, a London-based start-up which helps law enforcement agencies track criminals using the cryptocurrency, is actively working on trying to trace the payments. James Smith, CEO of the start-up explained that the task will get easier as the hackers attempt to withdraw their digital money in fiat currency.
Count on hackers to show you how to use Bitcoin
Understanding Bitcoin and how transactions should be made is not an easy task and victims might not know how to pay the ransom. To make sure they properly understand what happened and how they should proceed in order to receive their files back, hackers have turned into unusual professors.
Here’s what a London GP sees when trying to connect to the NHS network pic.twitter.com/lV8zXarAXS
— Rory Cellan-Jones (@ruskin147) May 12, 2017
This is no laughing matter.
According to a 2016 IBM report, more than one in three victims of ransomware pay the ransom. In the WannaCry ransomware cyberattack case, one of the reasons why the hackers have only made about $50,000 worth of Bitcoin is the fact that victims are not familiar with Bitcoin and don’t know how to use it.
Still, “some ransomware operators understand this as a factor in nonpayment and therefore provide detailed instructions on obtaining Bitcoin or set up customer support lines to guide the inexperienced,” Limor Kessem wrote in the report.
If you want to learn how to keep your work safe and your accounts secure, check out this article by Cher Zevala.