Two major ransomware operations stopped by Dutch authorities

By Daniel Zo Bitcoin, Scams, Ransomware

It’s widely known that the Bitcoin technology is quite dangerous when used by criminals, as it offers them a way of offering and accepting payments, while making it difficult to be tracked by the police.

Well, according to the latest reports, it seems like two popular ransomware strains known by the names of CoinVault and BitCryptor have been eliminated thanks to a joint effort carried out by law enforcement in the Netherlands alongside with an independent firm that deals with cybersecurity.

To put things better into perspective, the creators of the two platforms attacked and locked down computers, and then proceeded to ask victims for ransoms in bitcoin, that needed to be paid in exchange for unlocking the user’s computer. The thieves used around 14,000 different encryption keys, which were finally cracked by Dutch law enforcement and the private cybersecurity agency.

Now, the folks behind the platforms are under criminal investigation, and will likely face a couple of years in jail once the investigation ends. As a way of helping those who have been attacked by the two platforms, the authorities have given those affected the keys alongside with a decryption tool which can be downloaded for free.

What’s interesting is that the two platforms were used to obtain hundreds of dollars’ worth of bitcoin from each user in particular. The system also imposed a price increase that would be applied once after every 24 hours, without paying the ransom. With this in mind, studies show that a successful ransomware campaign affecting 15,000 computers can generate over $5 million in profits for the thieves.

While the two platforms were taken down, Cryptowall 3.0 is still around, which represents the latest variant of a huge far-reaching ransomware attack that has affected hundreds of institutions and thousands of individuals. At this moment in time, the authors of the diabolical Cryptowall 3.0 are still free, while pulling the strings on what may be, one of the world’s biggest ransomware operation to ever take place. With this in mind, so far, the authors of this platform have managed to gather over $325 million in bitcoin ransomware payments, made by the victims of the attacks.

It’s important to note that numerous law enforcement agencies alongside with private cybersecurity firms are working hard in order to catch the authors of the Cryptowall platform. Cracking it would also be a solution, but with today’s technology, finding all the key codes would likely take years, which is time that we cannot afford to lose.

If you’re a constant user of the internet, make sure that you use an updated antivirus, and that you don’t navigate onto shady sites, which might try to infect your PC.

Based on everything that has been outlined so far, what do you personally think about the two successes of the Dutch authorities, in fighting ransomware bitcoin crime? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below.