The cryptocurrency world has always been under the constant scanner of regulatory and governmental bodies due to its involvement in criminal activities. This notion does not seem to be going away either because of constant updates in the type of news
On February 5, the University of Maastricht revealed that it had paid hackers a ransom in Bitcoin to avoid losing its IT infrastructure.
The University officials stated that the 30 Bitcoin worth 200,000 euros was demanded by the hackers who had taken total control of their data systems. The ransom was demanded on Christmas eve with clear instructions that any foul play would result in a total digital wipeout.
Nick Bos, the Vice President of the University of Maastricht stated that the university had decided to pay the ransom because of what would happen if they did not. The University is known to keep lots of digital content which was important for students and staff alike. Bos added that if the hackers launched their attack, the University would have had to build the entire IT structure from start.
Bos admitted that the now hypothetical damage would have been disastrous for the entire college community. He gave out the details of the hack during an official press conference conducted by the University. The University had taken the help of Cybersecurity firm Fox-IT who identified that the hackers were a part of the TA505 group.
Cryptocurrency ransomware attacks had risen in popularity after Bitcoin’s surge in December 2017. Since then, hackers and other bad actors have figured out that demanding ransom in cryptocurrencies was the best way to avoid detection. In most cases, if a Bitcoin ransom case is not tracked in the beginning the trail almost always goes cold.
The latest hack came a month before a report that said cryptojacking had dropped by 78 percent in the second half of 2019. Cybersecurity expert SonicWall claimed that cryptojacking attacks declined by 78 percent in the second half of 2019 after the Coinhive shutdown. Its CEO Bill Conner stated:
“Cybercriminals are honing their ability to design, author and deploy stealth-like attacks with increasing precision while growing their capabilities to evade detection by sandbox technology. Now more than ever, it’s imperative that organizations detect and respond quickly, or run the risk of having to negotiate what’s being held at ransom from criminals so embolden they’re now negotiating the terms.”
The overall statistics were still scary with 9.9 billion malware attacks being reported, out of which 187.9 million were ransomware attacks. With the development of the internet, the attacks have also become advanced. Twenty nineteen also witnessed 34.3 million Malware attacks.