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Companies stockpiling Bitcoin against cyber attacks

A study among UK companies reveals that many of them are building a reserve in various crypto currencies, such as Bitcoin, in order to pay off criminals in case of cyber attacks.

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 crypto currency in the event of a cyber attack such as ransomware hitting computers or servers.

Number of users attacked by Trojan-Ransom malware

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 it into their network.

The exact percentages are 36% of the companies with 250-500 employees, 57% of the businesses with 501-1,000 employees, and 18% of the firms 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, from hospitals to courtrooms, and from high schools to police stations.

In very few of these cases did the organizations manage to get away without paying, and observers have learned their lesson if we are to believe the study.

Overall, ransomware numbers are constantly going up, 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 reveals. Citrix says that 48% 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 has also revealed that his university’s leadership has decided to start a Coinbase account in case of ransomware attacks.

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