Three US federal agencies, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, and the Multi-State Center for Information Sharing and Analysis, issued a notice seeking information to stop attacks ransomware.
As part of the #StopRansomware campaign, the Cyber Security Advisory made citizens aware of Vice, a ransomware-type program that encrypts data and demands a ransom to decrypt it.
The trio predicts a spike in ransomware attacks, mainly targeting educational institutions, adding that school districts with limited cybersecurity capabilities and constrained resources are often the most vulnerable.
While proactive measures are still key to combating ransomware, the FBI has asked US citizens to report information that hackers could track. The FBI is seeking information on Bitcoin (BTC) wallets, ransom notes, and IP addresses linked to the hacker, among other things.
By using wallet addresses, authorities can track illicit transactions on Bitcoin’s inalienable blockchain without fear of going cold.
Although bitcoin enables frictionless cross-border transactions, most hackers prefer to use fiat currencies to fund their illicit activities. It was also found that only 0.15% of the activity on blockchain in 2021 was related to crime, which continues to decline year on year.
In addition, the three federal agencies strongly advise Americans not to pay ransom money “because payment does not guarantee the recovery of the victims’ files”. Those affected by ransomware attacks can report the details by visiting a local FBI office or through official communication channels.
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The Dutch Public Prosecutor’s Office recently found a cryptocurrency wallet linked to a ransomware attack against Maastricht University (UM) based in the Netherlands.
In 2019, a ransomware hack compromised all UM assets, such as research data, emails and library resources. UM later agreed to pay the hacker’s demand of €200,000 in BTC, currently worth around €500,000.