US State Prosecutor Paid Off Ransomware Hackers with Bitcoin

Even American authorities are not safe from hackers and forced to pay in bitcoin like common victims.

While newer privacy-focused cryptocurrencies are already considered to be more secretive than Bitcoin, the first blockchain has kept its role as the payment method of choice for operations on the dark web. It seems that cyber criminals are only willing to accept bitcoin from their victims due to its wider availability and greater accessibility to the uninformed general public.

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Reports of individuals, corporations, banks and even hospitals falling victim to ransomware are nothing new these days, but now we learn that the office of a US state attorney has also been blackmailed for bitcoin. The Allegheny County district attorney, Stephen Zappala Jr., has confirmed to The Associated Press that his office paid off hackers from the infamous Avalanche network to gain back control of his system.

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The officials fell victim to a phishing attack that caused their computers to freeze and they were forced to send bitcoin to the hackers according to court documents filed against Avalanche. According to reports, Avalanche has been in operation as early as 2010 and has spread its tentacles to half a million computer systems globally. A number of undisclosed people are now held in alleged connection to it in various countries around the world.

In June we reported that 33% of UK firms said they were buying bitcoin in order to be able to pay off future ransomware attackers.

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