Bitcoin ransomware has been plaguing various companies and institutions for quite some time now. Up until this point, most traditional financial institutions were spared from ransomware attacks but that situation has come to change. Three Greek banks are being targeted by Bitcoin ransomware, and the hackers are requesting a total sum of €21m to decrypt the files.
Armada Collective Targets Greek Banks
The year 2015 has been less than stellar for Greece so far. Not only did the country have to be bailed out by the European Central Bank earlier this year, some of its banks are now being “held hostage” by ransomware. Armada Collective, as the group of hackers, call themselves, have been targeting three Greek banks for the third time in five days.
The first wave of attacks against these banks came in the form of a denial-of-service attack, flooding the banks’ websites and eventually taking them offline as the hosting server couldn’t keep up with the influx of traffic requests. That issue was resolved rather quickly, though, and the banks’ websites were operational again shortly after.
But it didn’t stop there, as the Armada Collective took things one step further last Thursday by disrupting electronic transactions at all three banks. No customer information was leaked during this attack, but several people have experienced slight delays when making payments online and in-store. Luckily, this “outage” only lasted for a few minutes, and services were resumed shortly after.
Armada Collective is not giving up their relentless attacks against these three banks, though, as they have opted to choose the ransomware route. By targeting these three Greek financial institutions and encrypting important files, they hope to persuade the banks into paying the sum of €7m each. It goes without saying that, being able to pull three different types of attack over the course of five days, is quite worrying regarding bank security.
At this time, it remains unclear as to whether these attacks are coming from the Armada Collective or a group of imitators. Bitcoin ransomware has become publicly available on underground hacker marketplaces and obtaining the source code is far less complicated than people would want. That being said, the three Greek banks are not prepared to throw the towel in just yet, as they collaborate with local law enforcement to resolve this matter without paying the ransom.
Bitcoin Ransomware Remains A Problem
The main concern most people have with Bitcoin ransomware is how it is affecting the public image of this popular digital currency. Bitcoin’s reputation is flaky at best, despite none of the accusations having anything to do with the concept of Bitcoin itself. The human element in the equation is subject to greed and corruption, whether it is because of Bitcoin, cash, or any other currency.
For infected parties, there are very little options at their disposal when it comes to Bitcoin ransomware infections. They can either format their hard drives and restore a backup – with potential data loss – or simply pay the ransom in Bitcoin. However, that latter option is no guarantee to get infected files decrypted.
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