WannaCry has been one of the biggest ransomware attacks in internet history as nearly 300,000 computers were victimised across the globe and the affected users were left hesitating whether to pay up the ransom.
The victims were threatened to pay up the requested amount via Bitcoin accounts to the intended recipient's address or Bitcoin wallet. There were more clauses suggesting that the prices would double up, if they failed to pay up within the specified time window. And finally their files would be deleted after the stipulated turnaround time for making the payments.
Zomato is the latest victim of the ransomware attack wherein 17 million users' account information was compromised, following a security breach of the database involving emails and password hashes of registered Zomato users.
Coming back to the May 12 attack, details about the three Bitcoin wallets used by the hackers were recently made public. The folks at Quartz Media have reportedly set up a Twitter bot that tweets whenever a new payment is done to one of the Bitcoin accounts.
Check out one such tweet forwarded by the Twitter bot (below):
It has been reported that the Bitcoin ransom peaked on May 15, wherein a total 69 payments of $200 or more were deposited into the hacker accounts as opposed to just 36 payments of $200 or more on the first day.
The latest bot update suggests that the number of ransom payments has come down to eight as of 6pm EDT on May 18. Check out the graph below depicting various Bitcoin payments made during the last few days and it encouragingly shows a downward trend:
The downward trend in the ransom being paid to these hackers can be attributed to the lack of incentive to pay as hackers are unlikely to offer the key to securely decrypt the compromised files. Besides, there is no guarantee that the user's hacked personal details would not be compromised in the future.
The majority of payments made in the wake of ransomware attacks is said to be between $200 and $400, or less than $100 on the remaining transactions. One key reason for the varying values of payments made could be attributed to the fluctuating Bitcoin exchange rate.
Quite surprisingly, the victims were found to be sending less than a dollar to the specified Bitcoin wallet as if to test the authenticity of the account.
Nevertheless, several bursts of ransom payouts have been predicted in the next few days as the victims approach their deadlines to fulfil the hacker's request and the ransom could go up to $600 depending up on the severity of compromised user files, passwords and other confidential info.
Security experts have often advised ransomware victims to refrain from making any donations to the criminal enterprise and consider their files lost as there is no guarantee of securing your compromised data once it has been hacked. In fact, trying to communicate with hackers could lead to more backdoor entries into your digital world.