One of the Counter terrorism strategies is to choke a terrorist organization of the money supply. This holds good not only for terrorists in Kashmir or elsewhere and to the Naxalites, but also to organized cyber criminals.
If we look at the recent developments on the growth of “Ransomware”, there is no doubt that the collection of ransom through “Bitcoins” has become one of the hurdles for law enforcement. Though some brave people suggest that Bitcoins can also be tracked and they may be right to some extent, it is definitely not easy to locate the owner of the Bitcoin wallets in the anonymized world and zero in on the recipients of the bitcoins.
Just like Bitcoin is used for laundering legacy currency, bitcoin itself is laundered to make it less and less identifiable. Like spoofing an IP address, the recipients of Bitcoins break it up into sub units, jumble up and then distribute it before finally converting it into legacy currency at which point of time there could be a possibility of identification.
At present FBI thinks that it has the technology to track Bitcoins because it has a few successes in the past. But in India, I am not sure if we have the forensic capability to track a Bitcoin transaction. So would be many other countries. hence Bitcoin continues to be the Currency of Convenience to the Cyber Criminals.
Now that WannaCry storm has blown over, it is anticipated that more such ransomwear attacks may be coming up in the coming days. The news that WannaCry has emanated from North Korea may not be correct as of now.
But it is likely that terrorists in Pakistan as well as the North Korean dictator would definitely get the idea and will soon send out a ransomware in the guise of Jaff Ransomware or Uiwix Ransomware or by any other name and either use it as a weapon to destabilize the economy or to fund their nefarious activities.
Since India is one of the most affected countries both in terms of Cyber Crimes and Cyber Terrorism, we need to take the lead to run a global campaign to fight this “Cyber Financial Terrorism” called Ransomware.
We should therefore move the world forum such as United Nations to immediately declare Bitcoins as a “Banned Possession” across the globe without exception and stop its circulation.
This will ensure that Bitcoin holders will not be able to make profitable use of their holdings and hence it will cease to be a valuable currency for criminals.
Just as in the case of “Demonetization”, one time offer can be given to genuine Bitcoin holders to exchange their holding to legacy currency after they provide proof of its acquisition through proper accounted money.
I request Mr Arun Jaitely to take a lead in this direction. This will put an effective curb on the ransom writers to give up this means of extortion on the community.
I look forward to a response from Mr Arun Jaitely as well as Mr Ravi Shankar Prasad in this regard.