In 2017, the strange goings-on in the crypto world had caught the attention of Vijay Pal Dalmia, partner and head of the intellectual property and information technology laws division at Vaish Associates Advocates. The tough-as-nails lawyer based in Delhi had been reading about cryptocurrencies and was increasingly concerned about how they could be abused in the absence of any regulatory oversight.
The trigger came when he first read about the cyberattack on May 13, 2017, by WannaCry ransomware, a malicious ambush that targeted computers using Microsoft Windows across the world. WannaCry did so by either encrypting valuable files, such that users were unable to read them or by locking them out of their computers, so that they couldn’t use them at all. The cybercriminals then demanded payment of a ransom in bitcoin for releasing the data or freeing the computer.
Cybersecurity firm Kaspersky, set up by Yevgeny Valentinovich Kaspersky (who has helped identify instances of government sponsored cyberwarfare and has been a leading advocate for an international treaty prohibiting cyberwarfare), wrote that paradoxically, the criminals who mounted the attack took advantage of a flaw in the Windows operating system, using a hack that had been allegedly developed by the United States National Security Agency….