Follow Us

We use cookies to provide you with a better experience. If you continue to use this site, we'll assume you're happy with this. Alternatively, click here to find out how to manage these cookies

hide cookie message

Cryptolocker lowers ransom demands as Bitcoin price surges

Soaring virtual currency puts off victims

Article comments

The criminals behind the rapacious and terrifying Cryptolocker Trojan have lowered their ransom demands to take account of the soaring value of their preferred currency, Bitcoins, according to security firm F-Secure.

The sum demanded for a decryption key in a newly detected variant of the malware is 0.5 Bitcoins, down from the previous level of 2 Bitcoins. This reduces the price from somewhere between $1,400 and $1,800 (£875 to £1125 at current prices) to around $350-$600, more in line with what the gang believes people can actually afford.

Put another way, as Bitcoins have surged in price Cryptolocker victims must have stopped paying the ransom in sufficient numbers and the criminals noticed. They might be crooks but they’re not insensitive to the basic economics of price.

Despite being an untraceable way of taking payment, Bitcoins have turned out to have some disadvantages. Volumes – liquidity - are still too low which causes erratic shifts in price. Recently, prices have also been trending upwards, helped perhaps by a recent US Senate hearing in which official submissions offered some hope that Bitcoins might eventually gain acceptance.

Anyone unlucky enough to have lost data files to Cryptolocker shouldn’t feel too ashamed at the prospect of paying the ransom; earlier this week it emerged that a small-town US police department had done precisely that in order to recover important files scrambled after an attack.

If police departments are paying criminals, what chance is there for the principled mortal?

Also this week, the UK’s National Crime Agency felt it necessary to warn that Cryptolocker is being aimed at UK SMEs possibly using a database of direct contacts.

There have been heaps of advice offered on how to counter Cryptolocker, most plausible ones focussing on having secure backups and enough nous to reinstate a PC using a system image. If the antivirus firms seem powerless for once it is the often ignored backup companies that are feeling vindicated.


More from Techworld

More relevant IT news


Send to a friend

Email this article to a friend or colleague:

PLEASE NOTE: Your name is used only to let the recipient know who sent the story, and in case of transmission error. Both your name and the recipient's name and address will not be used for any other purpose.

Techworld White Papers

Choose – and Choose Wisely – the Right MSP for Your SMB

End users need a technology partner that provides transparency, enables productivity, delivers...

Download Whitepaper

10 Effective Habits of Indispensable IT Departments

It’s no secret that responsibilities are growing while budgets continue to shrink. Download this...

Download Whitepaper

Gartner Magic Quadrant for Enterprise Information Archiving

Enterprise information archiving is contributing to organisational needs for e-discovery and...

Download Whitepaper

Advancing the state of virtualised backups

Dell Software’s vRanger is a veteran of the virtualisation specific backup market. It was the...

Download Whitepaper

Techworld UK - Technology - Business

Innovation, productivity, agility and profit

Watch this on demand webinar which explores IT innovation, managed print services and business agility.

Techworld Mobile Site

Access Techworld's content on the move

Get the latest news, product reviews and downloads on your mobile device with Techworld's mobile site.

Find out more...

From Wow to How : Making mobile and cloud work for you

On demand Biztech Briefing - Learn how to effectively deliver mobile work styles and cloud services together.

Watch now...

Site Map

* *