An email server for the Northern Ohio Regional Multiple Listing Service received an "aggressive attack" last month from a hacker who requested a ransom paid in Bitcoin, NORMLS CEO Carl DeMusz told members in a recent newsletter.
The hacker used malware called "CryptoLocker," which locks victims out of their files and photos and then gives victims a specified period of time in which to pay a ransom to release the documents, DeMusz said.
NORMLS' system administrator was able to restore the files through backups and duplications.
"There are many factors that play into an attack like this, but anonymity is key for someone to be able to make this work. This was made possible through the use of the Bitcoin currency and is, unfortunately, one of the cons associated with them," DeMusz said.
"It is early in the evolution of this currency, but as usual the criminals have been early adopters for the worst of it. To me, BTC raises many concerns, but I want to keep an open mind about it for as long as possible. If it helps sell houses someday, I think that would be great."