Dutch: Maastricht University to recover double the BTC ransom paid in 2019

Maastricht University (UM) is anticipating the return of roughly half a million euros’ worth of Bitcoin (BTC.) This follows a successful resolution of the infamous ransomware assault in December 2019. The Dutch university has come out as a winner in this circumstance.

The UM was the victim of a ransomware attack in 2019, which froze all its research data, emails, and library resources. The hackers demanded two hundred thousand euros in bitcoin for ramson. The institution decided to pay the ransom rather than risk losing important research material.

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The Dutch Public Prosecution Service (DDPS) traced one of the cryptocurrency wallets related to the hack in 2020 to Ukraine. They then froze the monies in the associated account, which were worth only €40,000 at the time of their discovery. Over the subsequent two years, the DPPS successfully recovered the account’s contents. The recovery included roughly one-fifth of the stolen bitcoins.

2021 saw a bull run which increased the price of the most prominent crypto. Thus, the value of the part of ransom recovered by the police has reached €500,000. The deal is more than double the amount the university paid two and a half years ago.

Maastricht suffered irreversible damage

Despite the financial gain, the university still counts its losses years after the attack. The UM has stated in an official statement that it cannot reverse the damage caused by the hackers.

In a post on the university’s official blog, the institution stated:

The Netherlands Public Prosecution Service seized around €500,000 worth of crypto. They are likely to avail this money to UM. This is a good figure, we can use it to benefit students in need, but it is still not enough to cover the damages suffered by the university.

University Blog

At this time, the seized money is being held by the DPPS, and legal action will transfer them to the institution. The executive board of the university has concluded how to use the money. They advised that the recovered fund should go to assist students who need financial assistance.

The state’s confiscation of crypto funds underlines the significance of the public ledger system. The public ledger allows Bitcoin and decentralized cryptos, in general, to be open to public scrutiny.

Naysayers sometimes characterize cryptos as a secretive and anonymous system favouring criminals. Yet, research findings suggest that less than one percent of the currently circulating crypto is illegal.

One can trace even ransomware-tainted cryptos for owners to reclaim. For instance, the police in the United States were able to retrieve $2.3 million worth of crypto held as payment for the Colonial Pipeline ransom.

Dealing with the rising threats of crypto-ransomware

There is rising concern about using cryptocurrency as a medium to pay the ransomware.

Today, June 7, the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs will hold a hearing on crypto. The joint session will talk about the growing danger posed by cryptos as a means of financing ransomware attacks and ransom payments. Private sector witnesses who are specialists in these issues will testify at the hearing.

The committee’s chairman, Sen. Gary Peters, released a new report on June 2. The information included the findings of his inquiry into the role of cryptos in cybercriminals. Gary established that cryptocurrencies are the most significant enablers of cyber crimes. They released the new report a few days before the hearing today.

According to the research, the federal government is aware of ransomware attacks. Besides, they also know the role of cryptos as ransom payments in those attacks.

The report suggests “a private-public partnership to explore the ransomware economy.” Today’s hearing could strengthen this partnership and explore more avenues for obtaining data.

The committee holds that full disclosure of crypto is necessary. Anyone transacting crypto should disclose the reason for moving them as an obligation.

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