BEACON TRANSCRIPT – At the beginning of this year, many people fell victims to WannaCry ransomware attacks, and most of them paid the ransoms to get their files back. Now, those hackers associated with the attacks want to protect their illicitly obtained money, and literally got their hands on them.
WannaCry hackers quickly emptied their bitcoin addresses
Elliptic is a company which keeps an eye on bitcoin addresses and can identify those which undertake illegal activities. On Wednesday, this company noticed how three bitcoin addresses associated with WannaCry activities were emptied. It reported how hackers had managed to gather over $144,000 in these three bitcoin accounts.
To better monitor their activity, Quartz set up a Twitter bot which reported everything happening with these accounts. At 11:10 p.m. on Wednesday evening, hackers started withdrawing money. After seven such transactions which lasted around 15 minutes, all the three accounts remained empty. They performed a sneaky process, which makes it hard to trace the money as it turns from bitcoin to physical currency.
The officials are still trying to track down the attackers
However, Tom Robinson, the cofounder of Elliptic, thinks otherwise. The bitcoin accounts might have been emptied, but he believes the hackers converted them into a different kind of virtual currency. This should be Monero, a type of cryptocurrency more focused on privacy than others.
At the moment, Elliptic is actively collaborating with the authorities to help track down the hackers. However, many agents of the government suspect North Korea might be behind WannaCry. This makes the attack more about politics than about money.
WannaCry first struck on May 12th, when several computers from Asia and Europe were attacked. Then, it quickly reached the rest of the world, spreading terror among businesses and government agencies. Victims discovered how their computers got locked, and had to pay a $300 ransom to have their files back.
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