A study among UK companies has revealed that many of them have been building a reserve in various cryptocurrencies, such as Bitcoin, in order to pay off criminals, in case they get infected with ransomware.
According to the numbers crunched by Citrix and Censuswide, who polled 250 UK IT and security managers, one in three UK businesses is now creating a backup account for holding cryptocurrency such as Bitcoin in the event of a cyber-attack.
Companies are willing to pay as much as £50,000 ($72,700) to unlock their computers and retrieve their IP (intellectual property) in case ransomware somehow makes into their network.
The exact percentages are 36 percent for companies with 250-500 employees, 57 percent for companies with 501-1,000 employees, and 18 percent of companies with over 2,000 employees.
Ransomware has made many high-profile victims
Companies have a reason to be wary. In the past months, ransomware has infected all sorts of businesses and government agencies,, and from high schools to police stations.
In very few of these cases have the organizations managed to get away without paying, and observers have learned their lesson if we are to believe the study.
Overall, ransomware numbers are, and as the high-profile cases are reaching the media, more and more people are learning what ransomware is, and are starting to take protective measures.
The speed at which these companies are protecting themselves is not good enough, though, as the study also revealed. Citrix says that 48 percent of the polled companies don’t run daily backup operations, putting themselves in danger of losing crucial data.
Besides ransomware infections, Bitcoin is also the currency of choice for other types of cyber-criminal activity, such as ransoming data breaches, DDoS-for-Bitcoin extortions, and more.
UK companies are not alone in this, and a tweet from Cornell Professor Emin Gun Sirer also revealed that his university’s leadership has decided to start a Coinbase account in case of ransomware attacks.
At Cornell, it was difficult to buy/own crypto for research. When ransomware came out, the treasurer created coinbase acct to be ready. — Emin Gün Sirer (@el33th4xor)