It was an audacious and callous scheme. A parcel bomb, mailed to a crowded German market, with a ransom note demanding €10 million in bitcoins. Had the device packed with gunpowder, shrapnel, and nails detonated, the casualties would have been extensive. In the event, the bomb, like the ransom demand, proved to be a damp squib. Bitcoin blackmail attempts – like everything else associated with bitcoin – have soared this year. There’s just one problem, from the perpetrators’ perspective: no one’s paying.
Bitcoin Blackmail is Harder Than It Sounds
The notion of an untraceable digital currency that can be used to extort millions before hackers disappear into the matrix with their ill-gotten gains is screenplay gold. It’s the sort of premise to get TV scriptwriters foaming at the mouth. Grey’s Anatomy is the best-known drama to have fallen for the bitcoin blackmail meme. Last month, the show’s mid-season finale showed the hospital succumbing to ransomware, causing blue screens of death across the board.
SC Magazine describes the action:
Patients’ monitoring systems all begin to flatline at once, even though there is no medical emergency. One doctor even mistakenly shocks a sleeping man with a defibrillator because it falsely appeared as if his heart stopped.
The most unrealistic aspect of the show wasn’t the malfunctioning machines however – it was the ransom demand. In exchange for rebooting Grey-Sloan Memorial Hospital’s systems, the hacker wanted 4,932 BTC worth $20 million at the time, and substantially more now…