NEW YORK (AP) — Investigators looking to catch the perpetrators of the global “ransomware” attack will be looking for digital clues, including monitoring the bitcoin accounts used to collect ransom payments.
It’ll be tough, but not impossible.
Security experts say that bitcoin is often believed to be anonymous, but the transactions are highly traceable. What’s not known is who’s behind a particular account. But the bitcoin money often has to be converted into real-world currency at some point.
Steve Grobman of the security company McAfee says forensics experts will also be looking for clues in the structure of the malware, including how it was written and how it was run. He says the malware was sophisticated, helping to rule out pranksters and lower-level thieves.
The cyberattack that emerged Friday has paralyzed computers running factories, banks, government agencies and transport systems around the world.