Ransomware attacks are a kind of malware attacks where file-encrypting malware encrypts the entire database and remains so unless and until a ransom is paid in cryptocurrency like Bitcoins and Monero.
Security analysts say that the availability of options in digital currencies is also encouraging cybercriminals to launch more such malware attacks due to the fact that the payments received in the form are well hidden from the eyes of tax agencies and the law enforcement.
According to a report compiled by Gartner, the following cryptocurrencies are being much used by hackers-
Bitcoin- Till a decade ago, Bitcoin aka BTC was much popular with the dark web- all thanks to its nature of pseudo-anonymity. This shadowy connection has made many ransomware spreading gangs chose the said digital currency as their payment acceptance mode. For instance, the year 2017 witnessed WannaCry ransomware attack on UK NHS and other companies operating around the world. According to an unconfirmed report offered by a research firm the hackers made between 300-600 USD in Bitcoin for each affected computer earning them around a whopping $241,000 USD.
Monero- Currently, Monero happens to be the most privacy-centric digital currency in the whole world. And so its usage has become more popular on the dark web marketplace. Those who are found distributing Kirk Ransomware are said to be demanding $1,100 USD in Monero for decrypting a file.
Bitcoin Cash- This is another form of crypto which has been in fork since Aug’17 when Thanatos ransomware started infected machines around the world. The cybercriminals who started to spread the said ransomware demanded $200 to free up each infected computer and asked them to pay in Bitcoin cash.
Ethereum- After BTC, Ethereum happens to be the 2nd largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization as more and more hackers are seen demanding settlements in the said digital currency nowadays.
Apart from Ethereum, Verge and Dash are also other notable currencies prevailing in the ransomware underworld as these digital coins have equivalent privacy qualities that are appealing to most of the cybercriminals who are keen to avoid detection, arrests and legal judgment of conviction.
BTW, according to a report of Coveware, GandCrab ransomware occupies over 20.0% of market share along with Dharma which has a market share of 27.8% and Ryuk with 18.3% of market share respectively.