World News

Ransomware hackers train their sights on bitcoin

Posted by: The Conversation

Date: Thursday, 31 August 2023

Ransomware is one of the key methods online scammers use to coerce cash out of unsuspecting victims. This is when hackers gain access to a computer network and then threaten to delete – or make public – private information unless a ransom is paid.

The first reported ransomware attack took place in 1989 and used floppy disks. Since then, the attackers have been evolving their techniques on the dark web. Hitting bigger and bigger targets, they have gained in confidence. We chart this worrying development in our latest Insights long read and examine how the next generation of hackers could exploit weaknesses in cryptocurrencies.

Ghanaian fashion designer Kofi Ansah had a successful career in the UK. But after he returned to his home country, he had an even greater impact by influencing styles, manufacturing and business practices. Adwoa Owusuaa Bobie, Adwoa Owusuaa Bobie, Akosua Keseboa Darkwa and Katherine Gough use the late Ansah’s case to illustrate the potential of “brain gain” – when highly skilled and experienced African professionals come home.

Paul Keaveny

Investigations Editor, Insights


International ransomware gangs are evolving their techniques. The next generation of hackers will target weaknesses in cryptocurrencies

Alpesh Bhudia, Royal Holloway University of London; Anna Cartwright, Oxford Brookes University; Darren Hurley-Smith, Royal Holloway University of London; Edward Cartwright, De Montfort University

What will ransomware attackers focus on next?

Kofi Ansah changed fashion in Ghana after his return from the UK. Eric Don-Arthur, courtesy of Kofi Ansah Foundation

Kofi Ansah left Ghana to become a world famous fashion designer - how his return home boosted the industry

Adwoa Owusuaa Bobie, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST); Akosua Keseboa Darkwah, University of Ghana; Katherine V. Gough, Loughborough University

International career mobility can give people valuable knowledge and expertise to be used in their home country.

When teens can’t sleep, they often scroll online well into the night, which only exacerbates the problem. ljubaphoto/E+ via Getty Images

Screen time is contributing to chronic sleep deprivation in tweens and teens – a pediatric sleep expert explains how critical sleep is to kids’ mental health

Maida Lynn Chen, University of Washington

Exposure to screens before bedtime can contribute to chronic sleep deprivation, which raises the risk for anxiety, depression and even suicidal thoughts.

PFAS concentrations were discovered in almost all of the paper and bamboo straws tested. Sia Footage/Shutterstock

‘Eco-friendly’ straws contain potentially toxic chemicals – posing a threat to people and wildlife

Ovokeroye Abafe, University of Birmingham

Paper and bamboo straws contain ‘forever chemicals’ – maybe threatening the health of people and wildlife.

The coup enjoys a high degree of popular support in Niger. EPA-EFE/Issifou Djibo

Niger’s resource paradox: what should make the country rich has made it a target for predators

Francis Okpaleke, University of Waikato; Olumba E. Ezenwa, Royal Holloway University of London

A geopolitical struggle for valuable resources such as uranium is behind the wrangling over Niger.