Bitfinex Ordered To Freeze $860k Bitcoin Linked To BitPaymer Ransomware By UK Courts


A High Court in the United Kingdom has issued a freeze order on Bitcoin acquired via a ransomware attack against a Canadian-based firm. The proprietary injunction issued is a court order that prohibits an individual from handling their own assets until a proprietary claim case is heard and determined.

According to court documents about the ransomware case, more than 1000 computers belonging to the firm were attacked and their use disabled via a malware. The computers’ files were encrypted making it impossible to access them. The anonymous attackers asked for $1.2 million to be paid in Bitcoin so that they could decrypt the firm’s data.

The company had taken a cover against cybercrimes and the insurer negotiated with the attackers for a $950,000 payment made in the form of Bitcoin for the files to be decrypted. A tool was then given by the attackers to decrypt the data 24 hours after paying out the ransom. However, the firm still required 10 days for full restoration of its systems.

The firm’s insurers sought the services of blockchain analytic startup Chainalysis to determine the people behind the attack. Chainalysis found that majority of the Bitcoin paid out (96) had instantly been laundered via Bitfinex, a crypto exchange platform. The court then ordered Bitfinex to provide relevant information about the account that got the Ransom before Dec.18 last year.

Bitfinex did not comment on the details it handed over to the court when asked by Cointelegraph about the case. However, the firm stated,

“Bitfinex has robust systems in place to allow it to assist law enforcement authorities and litigants in cases such as this. In this case we have assisted the Claimant to trace the stolen Bitcoin and we understand the focus of the Claimant’s attention is no longer on the Bitfinex platform. It now appears Bitfinex is an entirely innocent party mixed up in this wrongdoing.”

The insurance firm’s legal counsel, Darragh Connell, confirmed that the case is still in court and the return hearings about the interim injunction is set in the near future.

Ransomware attacks have become a crucial challenge in the fight against cyber attacks and are becoming highly advanced as technology advances. Just last month, CyrusOne, a data analysis firm, was forced to part with $600,000 as ransom in a similar attack.

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