Cryptocurrency has been attracting illegal dealers since its very inception. Due to its anonymity and security, Bitcoin was widely used as a payment method on the darknet shadow markets. However, lately criminals started paying more attention to Monero as this cryptocurrency allows for an enhanced secrecy and disguise.
Since the birth of Bitcoin, cryptocurrencies have been criticized for supporting illegal activities including terror operations, drug trading, human trafficking, money laundering, sex, frauds, monetizing ransomware, purchasing illicit products, and many others. People know how that accusation can damage the reputation and legal status of cryptocurrencies.
The United States (US) City Riviera Beach, Florida, paid a ransom of around $600,000 in Bitcoin (BTC) to cyber criminals. The anonymous hackers took control of the city’s systems a few weeks back as part of a perturbing tendency striking a multitude number of administrative systems in the US. The attackers demanded the ransom to be paid in Bitcoin, the world’s oldest cryptocurrency.
The first quarter (Q1) of 2019 registered a high average Bitcoin (BTC) payout for ransomware attacks, according to statistics published by security researchers at Kaspersky Lab, and Coveware, a firm which helps victims payout. The number of users (victims) that met cryptocurrency ransomware in 2018 and Q1 of 2019 soared by over 500% and 90% respectively.
Internet users have recently reported being provoked to open a phishing email containing crypto ransomware links. Cybercriminals used the ransomware program ‘GandCrab’ to encrypt victim’s data and requested a payout in Bitcoin or Dash for lifting a block from their files.
Ransomware has always been the main means of getting access to easy money for cybercriminals. However, the tendency shifted since new powerful financial technology began to evolve. Cryptocurrency mining platforms, especially those focused on Bitcoin and Monero, have become the favourite victims of malware programs.
A new deadly virus known as Dharma is seriously infecting computers (PCs) and servers by encrypting and locking files, which can only be successfully unlocked via a Bitcoin payment, responsible authorities warned on October 16, 2018.
Cryptojacking, that is quickly emerging as another option to ransomware, is a way of cyberattack used by hackers to hijack the damaged system's processing power when carrying out cryptocurrency mining.