Banking experts are claiming that several high-profile banks have decided it’s cheaper to pay hackers in bitcoin than deal with damaging and embarrassing cyber attacks.
According to cybersecurity company Malwarebytes, the City of London is a literal ground zero for ransomware attacks compared to the rest of Europe. The cyber-security firm spent the best part of 2 years studying the online threats different cities in Europe faced, and analysing the degree of risk by recording which destinations received the maximum number attacks or threats. The financial areas of London were found to be targeted again and again.
It found that the City of London suffered 10,500 ransomware attacks, which is 670% more than the second-biggest target, Manchester.
As part of their Disaster recovery plans, Several of London’s largest banks now have a constant supply of bitcoin to hand in the event of a successful attack by cyber criminals.
Ransomware is essentially malicious software that is installed in computer hardware that then encrypts files so that the data it contains can’t be accessed without a specific password or code that only the hacker knows.
In order to access the locked files, the target of the attack, usually has to pay a ransom in bitcoin or face losing their data forever. Once the ransom has been paid, the attacker will normally then send decryption key to unlock the data. But however, there is no guarantee the hacker will send on the unlock code.
Marcin Kleczynski, CEO at Malwarebytes said “I talked to a couple of banks and they say they have 50-100 bitcoin ready at all times in a wallet to deploy if a ransomware attack hits.”
Bitcoin is the currency of choice for hackers because it is virtually untraceable, hence the reason it is being acquired by blue chip companies to pay ransoms.