CryptoLocker and Bitcoin

The thoroughly expected “CryptoLocker” malware has attained prominence over the last two months, properly encrypting files and requiring a difficult-to-track ransom in order to receive back the decryption key.

At the same time, there has been a large run-up in the price of Bitcoin.

Most commentators have focused on the Chinese market for the Bitcoin run-up.  However, finally there is some attention to how the Bitcoin ransoms may be helping to inflate this tiny market:

2) A sinister cryptlocker virus has been spreading aggressively for more than a month. It hijacks computer systems and threatens to delete data unless a bitcoin ransom is handed over. Also, reports abound of a rush of purchases byunsophisticated and distressed buyers who are presumably ready to pay any price, and thus can be squeezed by more sophisticated players in the market.

Kaminska makes this reason #2, ahead of the Chinese market and below the Silk Road seizure – but the Silk Road incidents should have lowered the price, not raised it.

Combine that with how it might be difficult to buy a MoneyPak, and you’ve got the recipe for a squeeze.

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