Bitcoin price has failed to recover most of the loss it suffered after the WannaCry ransomware sent it below $1,600 from the mid $1,800 range and locked around 200,000 computers in more than 150 countries demanding bitcoin, according to CNBC.
Brian Kelly, CEO of Brian Kelly Capital Management, called the assault a hit to bitcoin sentiment.
The price recovered some of the loss over the weekend, trading around $1,676.42 on Monday. The price was in the low $1,700 range Monday evening.
The hackers demanded $300 in bitcoin within three days to unlock victims’ files, with the fines doubling afterward, then preventing access completely after seven days.
Check Point, a cyber security company, advised victims in a Sunday blog post not to pay the funds since no one who paid reported getting access to their files. The decryption process itself is problematic, Check Point noted.
Unlike its ransomware competitors, WannaCry doesn’t have a way of associating a payment to the payer. Most ransomware generates a unique ID and bitcoin wallet for each victim. Hence, they know who to send the decryption keys to.
Leading ransomware hackers also pride themselves on customer support, the blog noted, and are easy to contact. But the only way to contact WannaCry is a “Contact Us” option on the ransom note screen. Despite Check Point’s best efforts, the company has yet to receive a reply.
Few victims have paid the ransom so far. As CCN.com reported earlier, the ransomware has extorted in a relatively modest $53,000.
Kelly said bitcoin’s drop was also caused by a fall in prices on the Bitfinex exchange. Prices on the exchange were elevated artificially by restrictions on withdrawals. Prices rose on expectations that the restrictions will be lifted soon, taking the prices closer to those in other exchanges.
While a kill switch in the ransomware was discovered by 22-year-old British cyber expert Marcus Hutchins after he registered a domain name used by the malware to prevent it spreading, he believes the attack isn’t over and that people need to update their systems ASAP to avoid the attack.
Going by the name of Malware Tech, Hutchins posted a blog after the attack detailing the process he undertook that led him to discover the kill switch. He is now reportedly working for the U.K.’s Government Communication Headquarters, a British intelligence and security organization, to prevent another cyber attack.
Until systems are patched and a solution is found, many organizations either have to pay the ransom or risk losing access to their files forever.
Troy Hunt, Microsoft regional director, said he expects the ransoms paid to go up.
Featured image from Shutterstock.
Last modified: March 4, 2021 4:56 PM