Especially for those hearing about Bitcoin for the first time, their introduction a few years back was not a pleasant one. They were faced with ransomware at their company or business, being asked to pay with something called “BTC.” I remember the days in 2014 in Istanbul’s Şişli district when companies paid the money to save their devices, reminiscent of the days when their dollar accounts were active.
Crypto Risks: Ransomware Threats
Bitcoin‘s reputation in its early days was primarily damaged due to ransomware. The periods when BTC was most talked about worldwide could have been a few years ago during incidents like WannaCry. We’ve lived through days when devices around the world were taken over, and people had to pay to recover their data.
Subsequently, many operations were conducted worldwide, and this (although it still happens) began to be forgotten. Thus, after the 2017-2018 period (while WannaCry, etc., were being forgotten), BTC’s role as a store of value became more prominent.
Initially known for its philosophy, BTC later became known for ransomware and, more recently, as a store of value.
2023 Ransomware Attacks
However, this could change, as it’s negative for cryptocurrencies because the damage to Bitcoin’s reputation is bad for all crypto. There are many politicians in the US Congress who already accept the idea that BTC is a tool for crime. Chainalysis’s 2024 “Crypto Crime Report” tells us about attacks affecting well-known brands like the BBC and British Airways.
Annual ransom payments in 2023 reached an all-time high, exceeding 1 billion dollars. According to data from Recorded Future, last year 538 different ransomware targeted victims. The report also mentions that ransomware groups like CL0P focused on big game hunting.
“Cl0p exploited 0day security vulnerabilities that allowed it to extort a large number of wealthy victims en masse, which encouraged the operators of this type to adopt a data leak strategy instead of encryption.”
CL0P-type software represented 44.8% of the attacks in June and July 2023. In 2023, attackers used crypto bridges, underground exchanges, and mixers to launder ransomware revenues.