UK Court Freezes $1M Ransomware-Linked Bitcoin

Court Freezes $1M Ransomware-Linked Bitcoin

A UK high court has issued a proprietary injunction on Bitcoin stolen from a Canadian insurance firm through a ransomware attack.

On January 17, the court issued documents about a ransomware attack, indicating that over 1,000 computers of the insurance company were made inaccessible by using malware. The hackers requested Bitcoin worth $1.2 million to decrypt the data.

The insurance company covered the client’s cybercrime losses and agreed to pay Bitcoin worth $950,000 to decrypt the files. It received a tool to unlock the files within 24 hours after paying the amount.

The firm did not unveil the status of ransomers or the data submitted to the court, stating:

“Bitfinex has robust systems in place to allow it to assist law enforcement authorities and litigants in cases such as this. In this case we have assisted the Claimant to trace the stolen Bitcoin and we understand the focus of the Claimant’s attention is no longer on the Bitfinex platform. It now appears Bitfinex is an entirely innocent party mixed up in this wrongdoing.”

The insurer has hired blockchain analytics firm Chainalysis to track the hack. The analysis revealed that 96 Bitcoin had been effectively laundered through Bitfinex.

Accordingly, the court ordered Bitfinex to provide information about the account holder who obtained the ransom by December 19, 2019.

Darragh Connell, the insurer’s legal representative, said:

“Return hearings of the interim injunction will be heard again in due course before Mr Justice Bryan who has reserved the case to himself […] As this is only the interim stage, my client’s claim will need be determined after a trial in the Commercial Court in London.”

Ransomware attacks are increasing significantly. Texas-based CyrusOne has paid Bitcoin worth $600,000 in ransom for such an attack.

In a recent report, Chainalysis has indicated that crypto hackers became smarter. “2019 saw more cryptocurrency hacks than any other year. But of the 11 attacks that occurred this year, none of them came close to matching the scale of major heists such as [2018]’s $534 million Coincheck hack.”

In 2019, the crypto firms lost nearly $283 million due to malicious hacks.

Malicious hacks in 2019 – Source:

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Rabea Maguid 551 Articles
Rabea Maguid is a journalist completely obsessed with crypto industry. He holds B.A. from Al-Azhar University, and has a background in journalism and economics. Rabea Maguid likes to think about the future in a positive way, and sees blockchain as a potential driver of deep societal change.