Hackers targeted traders in Old Delhi by encrypting files on their computer systems and demanded Bitcoin as ransom to release documents significant to their businesses. Ransom attacks are a dominant online fraud in many countries but this case has raised the eyebrows of both the police and traders.
Three FIRs have been registered by Delhi Police’s crime branch thus far. The traders say that there can be more FIRs because several ransoms paid in Bitcoins were not reported to the police authorities. The police have send the hard disk of complainants to the forensic lab for tests. The hackings were confirmed by Deputy Commissioner of Police (crime) Bhishma Singh but refused to give more details on the matter.
The traders were provided with the links to buy Bitcoins, and had to give in to their demands for the fear of losing data permanently.
Mohan Goyal, one of the victims who is the joint secretary of the DElhi Steel Tools and Hardware Traders Association said, “Some traders paid in Bitcoins and got their data back. Some deposited the money from abroad. When my data was hacked, I spoke to fellow traders and learnt that there were other such cases. I wrote to the hackers and they agreed to decrypt the files for $1,750 (around 1.11 lakh).”
Hackers played a foul game and gave traders the option of getting five files decrypted for free in order to manifest the control they had to the traders, a police officer said. Also, case numbers and email addresses were given to the traders for communication.
The director of cyber-security firm Voyager Infosec, Jiten Jain said, “We suspect there are syndicates in Nigeria or Pakistan. They identify vulnerable computer systems and use ransomware to target their files. Getting money in Bitcoin works for them because it is difficult to trace the money.”
Bitcoins are not legal tender in India. This incident has shocked many people and the police are investigating the things.