As the threat and determination of ransomware continues to wreak havoc on businesses, governments and individuals around the globe, it looks as though bitcoin can be found closely connected with the malicious software.
As The Wall Street Journal pointed out on Friday cybercriminals have earned millions through ransomware schemes of encrypting computer systems and files, and holding them hostage for ransom. Bitcoin seems to be the currency of choice for many hackers when they are trying to collect untraceable currency from their victims.
Ransomware isn’t a new threat, though the availability of improved encryption software and the growing usage of bitcoin have contributed to a rise in the malware.
Data from the U.S. Department of Justice showed that in 2016, the number of reported ransomware attacks had quadrupled, reaching an average of 4,000 attacks per day.
These types of attacks are costing businesses tremendously when it comes to lost productivity and the labor it takes to recover and safeguard the captive data. According to research from the FBI released earlier this year, in the first three months of the year ransomware had already costs victims a total of nearly $209 million.
Cybercriminals are making a lot of money by extorting businesses and institutions to unlock computer servers, at a rate at which the FBI believes could result in ransomware soon becoming a $1 billion a year criminal industry by the end of the year. That number could end up being greater after all of the related business costs are taken into consideration.
Researchers at U.K. corporate networking firm Citrix discovered that businesses are even storing reserves of bitcoin to pay these ransoms as quickly as possible just in case they are hit with ransomware.
The company surveyed 250 IT and security professionals across U.K. businesses, and one-third said they were premeditatedly buying bitcoins in case of a ransomware attacks.
The survey also stated other concerns regarding corporate cybersecurity measures. Nearly half of those questioned said their companies do not back up data at least once a day. Cybersecurity experts say that backing up data can be an effective combatant against ransomware attacks.
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