The availability of Bitcoin, the open-source virtual currency, has made crypto – ransomware’s business model viable and profitable, feeding an online crime wave that has seen new extortion-enabling malware families at least double each year since 2012.
There was one known ransomware family variant in 2012, according to F-Secure’s State of Cyber Security 2017 report. By 2015, there were 35, which went up to 193 in 2016.
Unless governments disregard previous concerns about shutting down the anonymous funding source, F-Secure Labs warns, this exponential growth is likely to only be limited by the ability of consumers to purchase Bitcoin.
“Bitcoin survived and thrived during the last U.S. presidential administration,” says Sean Sullivan, Security Advisor at F-Secure. “However, the new administration has indicated that it’s eager to reinvigorate the ‘the drug war’ by even cracking down on the sale of marijuana, which new U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has said is just ‘slightly less awful ‘than heroin.
If the U.S. pursues all the forms of potentially illegal payments, ransomware’s growth could be abated. Otherwise, we expect to see the new ransomware families we discovered in 2017 at least double.”
Chinese companies have made considerable investments into the vast server farms needed to mine the digital currency. The result is that 42 percent of all Bitcoin transactions last year took place in China exchanges, according to an analysis performed for the New York Times.
“While better blockchain provides them with visibility over their markets, officials in China likely have little financial incentive to see the Bitcoin market hindered in any way,” Sullivan says. “The U.S. government, however, has shown little interest in legitimizing the virtual currency as investment.”
F-Secure is a Finnish cyber security firm.
Source Reference By : ETTech