I read this article recently, talking about the emergence of "ransomware". An excerpt is:
The newer CryptoLocker differs by taking the ransom to a whole new level. Upon infection it doesn't make a fanfare, to the contrary, it acts in stealth performing a nefarious task in the background. You probably won't even notice the task running, as CryptoLocker silently encrypts your data files, including your precious family photos, vital Microsoft Word documents, spreadsheets, and email.
Upon completing the encryption of your files, it sends the unique key required for decrypting and unlocking your files over the internet to a secure remote server, and then the ransom begins. Immediately the CryptoLocker window displays containing the image of a shield, instructional text, and a countdown timer.
It's important to understand that the ransomware is not bluffing. Unless you pay the ransom, you will lose access to any files that have been encrypted. Once the countdown starts you have about three days to make payment, otherwise the key is destroyed and you permanently lose the ability to decrypt your files.
It seems like a logical step to request payment through Bitcoin, given that it would be much harder to track down the person receiving the payment than most other options. Sure enough, it's been done already! Admittedly, it could be a pretty daunting task for your average Joe Bloggs to figure out how to safely pay within 3 days using Bitcoin, but obviously the time limit can be made flexible.
Has any malware successfully used this technique yet, using Bitcoin? If so, does anyone know of a receiving address used more than once, thus giving an indication of how many people are paying a ransom?
Are there any websites that have statistics on such incidents?