Hackers who locked files on 200,000 computers globally and asked for a bitcoin ransom payment to unlock them, have only made around $50,000, an industry source told CNBC, despite the large scale of the attack.
On Friday, a virus known as WannaCry infected machines across 150 countries. It’s known as ransomware which is a malicious piece of software that encrypts a user’s files then demands them pay money to unlock them. In this case, the hackers asked for $300 worth of bitcoin.
James Smith, CEO of Elliptic, a London-based start-up that helps law enforcement agencies track criminals using the cryptocurrency, said his company had uncovered that since Friday, around $50,000 worth of bitcoin payments have been made to the hackers by 7 a.m. ET on Monday. This was up from $45,000 at 4 a.m. ET.
“We have seen the number of payments start to go up today,” Smith told CNBC Monday.
After 72 hours from when the attack started on Friday, the hackers said the fine would double to $600, and after seven days, the files would be permanently locked.
“We think over the course of today as we approach the first deadline where fines double we will see a bigger increase (in bitcoin payments),” Smith added.
The amount paid so far is still a small amount despite the global nature and scale of the attack. Security experts and government agencies have been urging people not to pay the ransom.