Back in May when the WannaCry ransomware was still spreading like wild fire across different continents, we were told that some of the victims against the advice of experts had paid $70,000 to regain access to their computers even though we can’t easily say just how many of them have actually regained access to their computers.
We hear now though that the figure may have been $140,000 but the reason why this is resurfacing is that the money has suddenly disappeared from the bitcoin accounts the hackers asked victims to pay into.
It remains unclear who was behind the attacks but what we now know at least is that the hackers are now actively trying to get their spoils and this has raised red flags which law enforcement agencies are now interested in. You’ll recall back in May that the hackers demanded a ransom of $300 in bitcoin payment for access to your encrypted files.
Experts have disagreed on which group or state may be behind the attacks even though code analysis points to the notorious suspected North Korean “Lazarus” hacking group which has been responsible for similar attacks in the past.
Now Europol has confirmed that investigation into the attacks is ongoing while the US has launched similar investigations into the matter as well but one thing they might be interested in is to try and trace just how the withdrawn money is moving from account to account before the hackers can have a chance to convert it into physical cash. But investigating digital currency trails remains a challenge for authorities which is why some countries like Australia and Russia have decided to be more involved in crytpcurrencies by giving some kind of legal backing which could in turn provide them leverage towards regulating their activities in their respective nations. Bitcoin transactions can be public but the people behind the transactions are anonymous.
So far the US and many others in Europe haven’t come out in support of digital currencies.