Recently the world has witnessed the largest cyber-attack in the history named WannaCry ransomware attack which according to Wikipedia started on Friday, 12 May 2017 and affected more than 230,000 computers over 150 countries, the worst-hit countries are reported to be Russia, Ukraine, India and Taiwan. It is reported that the attack infects a computer when a user opens a phishing email which then hijacks their system and encrypts the files, in return the hackers demand to be paid in Bitcoins to decrypt the infected files and, although such emails have been alleged to be used to infect machines with WannaCry, this method of attack has not been confirmed. Once installed, WannaCry uses the EternalBlue exploit developed by the U.S.
National Security Agency (NSA) which was leaked by Wikileaks two months before to spread through local networks and remote hosts, that have not been updated with the most recent security updates, to directly infect any exposed systems. A “critical” patch had been issued by Microsoft on 14 March 2017 to remove the underlying vulnerability for supported systems, nearly two months before the attack, but many organizations had not yet applied it. Shortly after the attack began, a web security researcher who blogs as “MalwareTech” unknowingly flipped an effective kill switch by registering a domain name he found in the code of the ransomware. This slowed the spread of infection, but new versions have now been detected that lack the kill switch.
This does not end here, it is reported that the related attack, which installs a currency “miner” that generates digital cash, began infecting machines in late April or early May but had not been previously discovered because it allows computers to operate while creating or mining of a cryptocurrency called “Monero” in the background. Bitcoin is by far the largest crypto-currency, but the new mining program is not aimed at Bitcoin. Rather it targeted a newer and completely anonymous crypto-currency, Monero, those experts say has been pursued recently by North Korean-linked hackers.
These are some facts which are available on the internet widely, however according to Yoshi Solutions, India’s first and only Cryptocurrency Advisory firm that the cyber-attack is not the threat we are under, there is a lot more that meets the eye. According to Vishal Shori of Yoshi Solutions, the ransomware attack is not just about being up-to-date with windows update or antivirus signatures. It is about upgradation to the next technology, which is Blockchain and not Bitcoin. The difference between Bitcoin and Blockchain needs to be understood in order to understand the potential of the technology which is going to shape the future. This has been covered with utmost simplicity for understanding of a layman in the article “Blockchain – Internet 2.0” by Madhur Prabhakar, a cryptocurrency enthusiast who has been following Bitcoin, Cryptocurrencies and Blockchain Technology since 2013. He points out a food for thought for all the security experts and heads of the world to find the reason why the hackers demanded Bitcoins as ransom money, with such advanced hacking & cyber warfare tools why didn’t the hackers hack Bitcoin itself, which according to the governments is supporting illegal causes.
The answer is very simple; Bitcoin or more importantly Blockchain cannot be hacked. This is the technology the world needs to adopt. Instead of criticizing Bitcoins and other cryptocurrencies, India should study them and use the technology to stay one step ahead of these cyber-terrorists.