Nowadays, researchers face the situation that attacks in BTS with a demand for ransom are becoming more common fact. For 2 years the UK police registered more than 560 reports of such blackmailing.
Official data, obtained according to the freedom of information Law, shows that the UK Police in 2018 and 2019 received 562 messages from victims whose devices were attacked by hackers demanding a ransom in bitcoins. North Yorkshire police received the largest number of reports of such crimes. In 2018, only six such cases emerged, and in 2019, the number of such cases achieved 115 incidents.
The survey describes the types of attacks. In one case in Cumbria, an attacker gained access to the victim’s server and encrypted all files during the attack. The victim was demanded to pay a ransom in BTS within 72 hours, otherwise, the amount will be increased.
Threats to increase the amount of ransom were accompanied by other forms of blackmail. For example, criminals told a victim in Derbyshire that if she did not pay a ransom, the hacker would publish information in the open access about the victim’s history of visiting porn sites.
The police also investigated one of the incidents in Durham, where a hacker used social media to demand a ransom. The criminal sent the victim a message on Facebook that contained a link for transferring BTS on his account. In Manchester 83 cases of ransom demands in bitcoins were also registered. In six cases, attackers used letters that caused extreme emotional distress to their victims.
Searching for ransom hackers used the same tactics in almost all cases – blackmail, fear and intent to cause not only economic, but also moral damage. They used threats, intimidation, and other pressure tactics for getting bitcoins. Andrew Martin, CEO of Retail Financial Consulting, said:
«The growing wave of digital financial crimes scares consumers, who are concerned about the risk of fraud and blackmail by hackers. These incidents made us be aware of risks connected with online currencies, which often become an easy way for anonymous third players to extort money without being detected.»
As hackers gain access to not only individual computers but also public institutions, some governments began to take action on these crimes. In January New York senators prepared a bill banning taxpayers` payments to hackers who spread ransomware viruses and demand ransom in cryptocurrencies. Meanwhile, that in the middle of last month, users of the Google AdSense service began to receive messages from hackers with a demand of a ransom in bitcoins, otherwise, they could make the service block user`s accounts.