Cyber criminals and hackers will soon ditch Bitcoin for Monero. Cyber security experts have anticipated the shift to happen in the near future. They believe that the ransomware creators and distributors will start demanding ransom in Monero instead of Bitcoin in the coming days.
The shift will be influenced by the additional privacy and security offered by Monero. Bitcoin transactions are known to be pseudonymous at best. In spite of taking extra precautions, like using coin tumbling services to anonymize transactions, it is relatively easier for the law enforcement authorities to track questionable transactions over the blockchain. But with Monero, it is almost impossible.
The use of ring signatures by Monero network clubs multiple transaction inputs and outputs into single entries on the blockchain, making it hard to zero-in on a particular transaction. Whereas, each transaction is recorded as an individual entry on the Bitcoin blockchain. One of the security experts from Webroot was recently interviewed by a prominent business news service, where he explained the factors influencing ransomware merchants’ probable shift from Bitcoin to Monero as the preferred cryptocurrency for ransom demands.
Speaking to the publication, Tyler Moffit, a cyber security expert working with Webroot as a senior threat research analyst said,
“It’s just easier to accept the overwhelmingly more popular Bitcoin currency and then exchange [to Monero]. So it’s just the darknet services so far [who have started accepting Monero], but I do expect this to increase as the buzz continues.”
His comment follows a recent announcement by AlphaBay, a darknet marketplace that started supporting Monero. AlphaBay has included Monero as a payment option on its platform since the beginning of this month.
Majority of ransomware attacks are still followed by demands for ransom to be paid in the form of Bitcoin. But as law enforcement agencies, equipped with advanced blockchain analysis and Bitcoin tracking tools start turning the heat on these cyber criminals, they will move to better and much safer platforms, which in this case is Monero.
Cyber criminals are able to thrive because of their rapid adoption of advanced technologies. They are always a step ahead of law enforcement agencies. But in the recent days, agencies are increasingly anticipating the steps of cyber criminals and preparing themselves with newer technologies to tackle them. While the long arm of law will eventually catch up with them, until it does, they will continue to grow rich by preying on unsuspecting targets.