Bitcoin ledger as a secret weapon in war against ransomware
While it may at first seem like cryptocurrency enables ransomware, cryptocurrency is actually instrumental in fighting it.
Ransomware, malicious software that encrypts computers and keeps them “locked” until a ransom is paid, is the world’s fastest-growing cyber threat, according to Coinfirm. Recent attacks on critical national infrastructure, like the Colonial Pipeline incursion that crippled oil and gas deliveries for a week along the U.S. East Coast, have set off alarms. Ransom payments are almost always made in Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies.
But while many were shaken by May’s Colonial Pipeline attack — the Biden administration issued new pipeline regulations in its aftermath — relatively few are aware of that drama’s final act: Using blockchain analysis, the FBI was was able to follow the ransom payments fund flow and recover about 85% of the Bitcoin paid to ransomware group DarkSide.