Cyber crime startup Chainalysis has raised $1.6 million USD, while announcing collaboration with Europol following an uptick in Bitcoin related ransomware attacks, which included including Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center’s recent $17,000 USD bitcoin payout.
Chainalysis Partners with Europol
While a 40-bitcoin ($17,000 USD) ransom payout made its way to hackers from The Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center, cyber crime startup Chainalysis announced international collaboration with Europol to combat the trend of the “Bitcoin baddy.”
“This new collaboration is an important next step in the endeavor to move digital currencies out of the hands of the criminals and into the hands of consumers and blooming commerce,” CEO Michael Gronager said in a statement quoted by Reuters.
The move came as the New York based company revealed a $1.6 million USD funding round closure backed by European investors.
Like many others, California hospital patients could no doubt have benefited from Chainalysis’ investigative tools in light of news that the institution was reportedly facing up to $3.4 million in ransom payments before the final payout was issued. The hackers had seized control of the computer network, gaining access to huge amounts of data.
Hospital president Allen Stefanek disputed the figure being reported in the media, but stood behind the decision to appease the attackers, calling it the “quickest and most efficient way” to regain control of the situation.
“In the best interest of restoring normal operations, we did this,” he added.
Criminal Appetite ‘Proportional’
Gronager meanwhile went on record to support the open nature of the Bitcoin system, arguing that it is by design a useful tool to combat, rather than encourage, cyber crime.
He told Bitcoin.com:
[T]he appetite from criminals in using ransomware is proportional to how easy they think they can get away with it. Bitcoin is pretty good at keeping your transactions private, but you are not necessarily anonymous – you are leaving trails carved into the blockchain – and they are not washed away by a light rain – they stay forever.
On the subject of businesses insuring themselves against future cyber attacks, however, Gronager advocated a more old-fashioned approach.
“[T]he best preventive measures is to keep a tight ship in your IT dept and remember to backup your systems,” he said in a more upbeat vein than Chainalysis co-founder Jonathan Levin, who admitted the precariousness of the situation currently facing law enforcement.
“The public nature of the network does give law enforcement an angle to help defeat them,” he said, “But it’s a game of cat and mouse.”
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Images courtesy of www.europol.europa.eu