New technology, such as the Bitcoin, helps the world move forward and make things easier compared to the past, which is why we as humans have such a great interest in it. But new technologies can also be used for bad, as thousands of people has experienced the last couple of years.
Many people has had their computer infected with a Malware that basically encrypts files on your computer, with the perpetrators asking for a Bitcoin ransom to open up your files again. Softwares such as Cryptolocker and Cryptowall is being spread via phising emails and ends up with peoples files being locked through an advanced encryption so that the scammers can ask for Bitcoins to unlock the files again.
Now the FBI has told its C-level executives that the victims should simply pay the Bitcoin ransom if they want to see their files again. Joseph Bonavolonta, Acting Special Agent, told this in a Cyber Security Summit last Wednesday, despite the ransoms being from $200 to $10,000.
"The amount of money made by these criminals is enormous and that’s because the overwhelming majority of institutions just pay the ransom ... To be honest, we often advise people just to pay the ransom.” Bonavolonta said at the summit.
Over the past 14 months, the FBI received 992 complaints about Cryptolocker (Which is now defunct), with the victims losing a massive $18 million according to the report. Bitcoin is being used as the preferred method of payment because it is easy to launder, basically anonymous and decentralized, making it more or less impossible to trace after being send.
The problem in paying the ransom is that it just fuels the scammers to continue their scams and lure more people into the trap, which seems like a never-ending circle. A study made by the security firm ESNET reported that only 1.4% of the people who pay the ransom actually gets access to their files again, making a payment useless. The best way to avoid any issues is to not click on links in emails you don’t know the origin off as well as to not visit shady websites.