CryptoLocker Accepts Bitcoin Payment
CryptoLocker has recently become one of a few ransomware families which offer Bitcoin as a payment method to its victims. Security expert at AlienVault, Alberto Ortega, has recently released a report concerning these events. He stated that Bitcoin is the latest inclusion to the list of payment systems, which are used by CryptoLocker. As a result, the 300 USD ransom can be paid using not only cashU, Ukash or MoneyPak but also Bitcoin.
Most of the ransomware use similar tactics. These programs lock the infected computers or encrypt the data which is stored on the HDD. Then the victims are offered to pay a ransom if they want to regain access to their PC and their data. Unfortunately, if the money transaction is made there is still no guarantee that the computer or the data will become accessible. That’s why security experts do not recommend paying the ransom, no matter what type of ransomware has infected the PC. Seeking for appropriate antivirus product, or removing the malware manually, are the best solutions to this kind of problems.
The fact that the CryptoLocker developers have chosen Bitcoin as a possible voucher for the money transactions is quite surprising as very few ransomware use this platform, which is based on digital currency, to collect the payments. What is more, according to IT expert Alberto Ortega the addition of Bitcoin has not paid out so far. In his report, he claimed that not a single transaction was made using mentioned platform. Alberto Ortega tried to explain the situation by claiming that the usual users of Bitcoin are technically lettered thus they usually avoid this kind of computer infections. Although, this kind of thinking may seem logical, it cannot explain why other scammers, which also use Bitcoin, manage to get profits.
Once the PC is infected with this malware, the user is notified that the video files, photos, documents and other files, which are stored on the HDD, are encrypted. Victims are even presented with a link to a list of all the affected files. According, to the developers the RSA-2048 encryption is deployed which is protected by a private key. What is more, the victims are present with a clock which is counting down the time when the private key will be deleted. The developers of this malware claim that once the private key is deleted the access to the encrypted files will be lost forever.
Bitcoin is a popular currency among criminals. There are various reasons why they are fond of it, but the most attractive attribute is that Bitcoin is decentralized. That means that the currency is not governed by any central authority. As a result, the criminals can feel safe because there is no danger that the Bitcoin account could be locked by any law enforcement organization. What is more, Bitcoin is completely anonymous, and it is extremely difficult to track the flow of this currency. Nevertheless, it has a big number of supporters which are not associated with any criminal activity. They claim that Bitcoin is an easy solution for purchasing and selling goods or services online.
Silk Road, a major underground marketplace used by cyber criminals, was destroyed by the FBI earlier this year. This operation revealed that Bitcoin was widely used for purchasing hacking tools, weapons and drugs. What is more, Bitcoins are becoming popular among overseas currency exchangers which are willing to pay real money for them at very favorable rates.