There is still an element of the crypto “Wild West” in 2020, as cryptocurrency stolen through hacks and ransomware attacks is still being cashed out on major exchanges around the world. Ransomware attacks have proved to be a lucrative cash cow for cybercriminals over the past few years, with the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation estimating that over $144 million worth of Bitcoin was stolen between October 2013 and November 2019.
A press conference held by the FBI in February revealed the huge amount paid out in ransom to attackers by victims that were desperate to regain access to their infected systems and data. Interestingly enough, attackers received the majority of ransoms in Bitcoin (BTC). More recently, researchers took a sample of 63 ransomware-related transactions, accounting for around $5.7 million of stolen funds, and found that over $1 million worth of Bitcoin was cashed out on Binance following a string of transactions across various wallet addresses.
There are a number of notorious ransomware variations that are used by different hackers and cybercriminal groups. Cybersecurity firm Kaspersky highlighted the uptick in these types of attacks targeting larger organizations in July, outlining two particular malware threats: VHD and Hakuna MATA.
These particular threats seemingly pale in comparison with the amount of cryptocurrency stolen through the use of bigger malware threats such as the Ryuk ransomware. So, here’s why Ryuk has been a preferred method of attack and what can be done to prevent and discourage attackers from cashing out their ill-gotten gains on major exchange platforms.
The Trojan at the city gates: Ryuk
These newer vectors of attack mentioned in Kaspersky’s July report have not quite garnered the same reputation as the Ryuk ransomware. Toward the end of 2019, Kaspersky released another report that highlighted the plight of municipalities and cities that have fallen prey to ransomware attacks. Ryuk was identified by the…