Bitcoin and Byte-Crime

With stories of ransomware becoming increasingly common, companies are working to prepare themselves in the event that they find themselves as victims. To that matter, they’re increasingly including the acquisition of bitcoins as part of their disaster preparedness and recovery strategies, to allow for rapid recovery of data. While the official FBI policy is that companies shouldn’t pay any ransom to such hackers, it’s often not practical for a company to hold out. Observes Raj Samari, chief technical officer for Intel Security for Europe, the Middle East, and Africa, “If you’re hit by ransomware today, you only have two options: You either pay the criminals or you lose your data.” Similarly, Leo Taddeo, chief security officer for Crypt-zone, notes “It’s an option to pay the ransom to get back up and running. Sometimes it’s the only option,” but “Paying ransom just invites the next attack.”

As estimated by Symantec, ransom demands to companies average between $10K and $75K for keys allowing decryption.