Ransomware attacks have reached unprecedented levels, and no one is immune to becoming the next victim that has to decide whether to shell out hundreds of dollars to pay a ransom fee or restore their hard drive.
In the recent proactive measures taken by companies, the idea of stockpiling Bitcoin funds has taken precedence in the case that a business succumbs to the attack of Bitcoin-hungry ransomware. As you may know, ransomware is known to infect a system and then encrypt files leaving the infected computer nearly useless. As a reprieve from the encryption attack, ransomware is known to offer a means of the victimized computer user to pay a ransom fee to purchase a decryption key, essentially restoring the encrypted files. In most cases, ransomware will ask that the ransom fee is paid in Bitcoin, which equates to $100 to over thousands of dollars.
Companies are willing to pay to get ransomware-infected computers back to full operation. Many companies heavily rely on their computers for day-to-day operations and by them coming under attack from ransomware is a major roadblock and potential loss of revenue. Many companies figure that by stocking up on Bitcoin that they will be better prepared to pay the ransom fee and restore encrypted files quickly instead of going through the hassle of restoring hard drives or removing the ransomware infection.
An example of desperation has been proved in recent cases where ransomware took hold of systems located at a Hollywood hospital and many other businesses that ransomware halted operations where the clients or patients were significantly impacted. Among the many high-profile victims of ransomware, many have paid the ransom only to rid the "issue" and carry on with their daily routine or providing a service and making money.
Bitcoin has been the currency choice in many legitimate transactions made over the Internet. However, in the past few years, Bitcoin transactions have become a common choice of currency for cybercriminal activity, such as recent ransomware fee transactions as well as many data-breach attacks and extortion schemes through use of malware.
Companies around the world have started accounts for storing Bitcoin funds, in addition to starting Coinbase accounts, which is a virtual wallet for Bitcoin and other digital asset exchanges for the sole purpose of paying ransom fees from a ransomware attack. According to Citrix and Censuswide, about 36% of companies that have 250 to 500 employees are making the necessary Bitcoin fund preparations for ransomware attacks. 57% of them who employ 501 to 1,000 employees are doing the same.
Surprisingly, many of the company's stockpiling Bitcoin funds are not organizations that you may guess; many of them are Universities, police departments, or even high schools. Prepping for an easy transition to reprise themselves from ransomware attacks appears to be a new priority for many entities as ransomware rates reach new unforeseen heights and more people educate themselves on how to combat ransomware in the simplest method.