The WannaCry ransomware wreaked havoc on the roughly 300,000 affected PCs it locked up. But it proved to be lucrative for the hackers.
The people behind the ransomware withdrew roughly $140,000 in Bitcoin from three wallets on Wednesday. That’s an impressive total considering each affected computer asked for $300 in bitcoin.
WannaCry was one of the more high-profile cyberattacks in recent history, spreading in an unprecedented manner by using a sharing tool found in the Windows software. While Microsoft has patched this vulnerability in new versions of Windows, hundreds of thousands of PCs running older versions of Windows were affected.
International trackers set up a Twitter account to monitor and report any movement in the three accounts the hackers used. On Thursday, that account noted the accounts were drained and the bitcoins were transferred into larger joint accounts known as mixers. Though the bitcoin can still be tracked, mixers allow users to break up bitcoin transactions into smaller ones that are more difficult to trace.
Europol, the European investigative agency, declined to comment on the status of the WannaCry investigation. The U.S. Justice Department did not immediately respond to comment.