Ransom demands in Bitcoins are on the rise in India. In recent times, at least three traders in Delhi have been attacked by hackers who encrypted critical files on their systems and demanded Bitcoin payments to decrypt them.
Three FIRs have been filed, but other cases are suspected to have gone unreported.
Syndicates in Nigeria or Pakistan are suspected behind the attacks.
Hackers demand Bitcoin payments from Old Delhi traders
Hackers would decrypt some files for free, then demand ransom
Traders targeted by hackers found a "security problem" message displayed on their computers, with case numbers and email addresses for communication.
Upon contact, hackers would offer to decrypt five files for free, and the rest after getting the ransom. Cops said this was to display their level of control.
The traders would then be given links to buy and transfer Bitcoins to them.
Attackers might be located in Germany, Pakistan, Nigeria or elsewhere
One victim, Mohan Goyal, says he was asked for $1,750 (Rs. 1.11L) for decryption of the files. In one case, the IP address was traced to Germany. Syndicates in Nigeria or Pakistan are also suspected. Cops have sent the affected hard disks for forensic tests.
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Despite offering anonymity, Bitcoins present one major risk
The main advantage Bitcoins offer is anonymity: there's no middle man involved, the currency is decentralized, and virtual wallets are identified by only a number, no names are involved.
However, there's a major risk: the value of Bitcoins is fluctuating by the second, so there's no guarantee that Bitcoins worth $1,750 will be worth the same by the time the target pays.