Unless you’ve been living under a rock in the last few months, you’ve heard of Bitcoin. It’s the latest craze sweeping the nation. Many people want to learn about the mysterious virtual currency and see if it can reap major fiduciary rewards. However, it is now being used for a completely different purpose.
Before I go any further, it might help to know what Bitcoin is. In short, Bitcoin is a form of cryptocurrency that is monitored on a peer-to-peer basis. It is not centralized by a governing bank or group and it is completely virtual. It gets a bit more technical and complicated when you really dive into it, but, for the purposes of this article, that’s all you really need to know.
So how can Bitcoin help in the fight against ransomware attacks? Well, quite simply, it can be used to pay off those ridiculous ransoms. For those unaware of how ransomware works, it is very simple; a computer that is infected with a ransomware virus is held “hostage” and its information is held for ransom. When the owner of the computer pays the ransom, then he or she gets access to the computer again and can access their information. That is the most broad definition of ransomware.
Because of the growing popularity of ransomware in recent years, some companies are considering to stock up on Bitcoin in order to pay off these large ransoms and continue with their business. When an entire network of computers are locked up and held ransom, it can be a headache to fix the system and bypass the virus. So, some companies are looking into simply using Bitcoin to avoid the hassle and pay the hackers.
Several British companies are utilizing this tactic. Because ransomware attacks are so commonplace, several British companies are informing employees to maintain a Bitcoin wallet in case of an emergency. Unfortunately, paying hackers can only provide a temporary solution. In fact, in most cases, even if a ransom is paid, the information isn’t guaranteed to be returned. But most companies prefer to stay quiet about online attacks.
Can Bitcoin be the ultimate solution to stopping ransomware hackers? Or will paying them off with digital currency be the same as feeding a stray cat? Only time will tell, but my guess is the latter.