Those behind the recent cyberattack affecting businesses around Europe have successful received a total of nearly 4 bitcoins, worth around $9621 at today’s price.
On Tuesday, reports emerged of a ransomware virus affecting businesses and governments throughout Eastern Europe. Ukraine and Russia have been particularly affected.
The malware, which has been identified as a modified version of the “Petya” virus, has also affected business in Western Europe, including Maersk, Merck and WPP.
The virus locks users out of their computer and demands a ransom of $300 paid in Bitcoin.
According to the bitcoin blockchain, there have been 42 confirmed transactions to the bitcoin wallet listed in the malware attack. The address is 1Mz7153HMuxXTuR2R1t78mGSdzaAtNbBWX.
The wallet has so far received a total of 3.751 bitcoins from victims. Coindesk lists the current price of a bitcoin at $2564.46. Technically, the hackers should have so far made $12,600, if the 42 transactions each represent one victim paying the $300 ransom.
Steve Malone, director of security product management at Mimecast, advised those affected not to pay the ransom.
“This new outbreak once again highlights the disruptive power of ransomware like never before. Simply by encrypting and blocking access to files, critical national services and valuable business data can be damaged,” he told CNBC via email on Tuesday.
“Mimecast advises organizations never to succumb to the pressure to pay the ransom to regain access to their applications and data. There is no guarantee this will unlock files and further motivates and finances attackers to expand their ransomware campaigns.”
However, some organisations cannot allow for their systems to be unavailable for any amount of time, points out Greg Sim, CEO at Glasswall Solutions. Among those affected include utilities, airports, banks and government systems.
“Hackers are targeting those that cannot afford to have downtime,” Sim told CNBC via email.
“An airport simply cannot have its systems down for a prolonged period of time or chaos ensues. If they do not give in and pay the ransom, then they risk their public image being dragged through the mud.”
In May, a similar ransomware attack made only $50,000 despite infecting around 200,000 computers. Law enforcement will be closely watching the bitcoin address, as they may be able to track where the owners of the wallet send the bitcoins when they actually want to spend it or convert it into another currency.