Ransomware attacks are getting so common there is an entirely new industry that helps victims arrange payments in cryptocurrencies

Ransomware Cryptocurrencies
Just pay the ransomware gang? Pic credit: Christiaan Colen/Flickr/CC BY-SA 2.0

There’s little doubt that businesses across the world, and especially in the United States, are under the increasing threat of a ransomware attack. These cyberthreats are now spurring new industries built around arranging the ransom payment in cryptocurrencies.

A very concerning number of businesses have absolutely no contingency plan if ransomware creators decide to target them. Newly formed companies have sensed a lucrative and legitimate business opportunity.

New companies are helping ransomware attack victims quickly arrange for payments in cryptocurrencies:

Cybersecurity Ventures, a company that keeps a tab on cyber threats, has claimed that a business will fall victim to a ransomware attack every 11 seconds this year. Simply put, hundreds of thousands of companies are the target for sophisticated and organized cybercriminals.

These malicious code writers specializing in creating virtual lockers that encrypt sensitive and confidential information of a business. Their demands are rather simple.

The majority of ransomware creators demand payment, inevitably in cryptocurrency. In exchange, companies receive a virtual key that decrypts their own data.

It is at this point that several businesses simply have no clue how to proceed. The majority of businesses, barring a select few, have never worked with cryptocurrencies. And needless to mention, crypto coins such as Bitcoins, Ethereum, etc. are the sole currency of choice for the multitude of ransomware gangs.

This is where companies such as DigitalMint, truly shine. DigitalMint is one of few companies that handle ransom payment in cryptocurrencies. The company also facilitates the handover of a decryption key, which will recover access to data.

DigitalMint reportedly claims it can arrange the ransom payment for the victim within 30 to 60 minutes from initial contact. Of course, their “initial contact” is after the victim has conducted multiple cost-benefit analyses.

Why are companies simply paying cybercriminals, and not fighting back?

The ransom payment broker claims 90 to 95 percent of ransomware gangs prefer Bitcoin. However, Monero, another cryptocurrency, is rising in popularity.

DigitalMint indicates it has facilitated more than $100 million in ransomware settlements since January 2020. The company added that, on average, a ransom payment is around the $800,000 mark.

In the same time period, ransom payments in cryptocurrencies have risen more than four times. While ransomware was a risk for tech businesses in 2019, currently, malicious code is steadily rising to become one of the top threats.

It is important to understand why is it that companies, big and small, prefer to make ransom payments. Paying such cybercriminals only emboldens them to target bigger companies, organizations, and institutions.

It seems cybercriminals are getting smarter every day. Ransomware creators are seemingly conducting thorough financial and economic analyses on their victims. Moreover, the criminals conduct such detailed analysis even before hitting their victims.

The primary purpose of the analysis is to come up with a payment figure that the victim will pay. If the cybercriminals ask too much, they might not get paid, noted Marc Grens, co-founder and president of DigitalMint.

“If they ask for too much, forensics goes through their feasibility studies and says, ‘Well, that’s too much. Let’s just rebuild our systems, take a risk, and not pay for it”.

Cybercriminals usually demand just a few dozen Bitcoins. This is because they know their victims will quickly reach the conclusion that it makes a lot of economic sense just to pay the ransom.

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x