Vulnerabilities / Threats

10/31/2017
12:00 PM
Dawn Kawamoto
Dawn Kawamoto
Slideshows

How to Make a Ransomware Payment - Fast

Paying ransom in a ransomware attack isn't recommended, but sometimes, it's necessary. Here's how to pay by cryptocurrency.
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Plan Ahead Just in Case

Whether just one computer or device in your enterprise falls victim to a ransomware attack, or hundreds of computers or devices get locked up, advanced planning for ransom payment is strongly advised by security experts.

Without prior planning, it can take anywhere from four- to five hours from the time a ransom attack is launched to when a payment is made, says Riccardo Spagni, lead maintainer of the decentralized, community-built cryptocurrency called Monero.

Adam Meyers, vice president of intelligence at CrowdStrike, says it could even take days or weeks.

Bitcoin is the most popular currency demanded by ransomware attackers, but other cryptocurrencies they have dictated include Ethereum, Zcash, and Monero.

The first step is to contact your organization's bank to determine if they transfer funds to a cryptocurrency exchange, and if there are any limits.

Then set up an account with a cryptocurrency exchange such as Coinbase, which is the most popular and is FDIC-insured for up to $250,000 held in US currency in a custodial account, according to Meyers. Once the US dollars are exchanged for digital currency, Coinbase insures the digital currency should its system be breached, but does not insure the breach of an individual account, according to its website.

Once you create a Coinbase account, have your bank wire its government-issued currency into the custodial account. From there, you can purchase some cryptocurrency to hold in a custodial Coinbase account.

But you may want to think twice before buying and holding cryptocurrency in custodial accounts because the value of this currency can be highly volatile, warns McElroy. For example, at the start of September a single Bitcoin was going for $4,991, but then plummeted to $2,989 by the middle of the month, a CNBC report states. And at the end of October, the price has rocketed to over $6,000 per Bitcoin, according to a CoinDesk chart.

To seed a Coinbase account in advance of any ransomware attack, you must open an account with one of the cryptocurrency companies such as Bitcoin, Zcash, Ethereum, or Monero. 

Image Source: Leo Wolfert via Shutterstock

Plan Ahead Just in Case

Whether just one computer or device in your enterprise falls victim to a ransomware attack, or hundreds of computers or devices get locked up, advanced planning for ransom payment is strongly advised by security experts.

Without prior planning, it can take anywhere from four- to five hours from the time a ransom attack is launched to when a payment is made, says Riccardo Spagni, lead maintainer of the decentralized, community-built cryptocurrency called Monero.

Adam Meyers, vice president of intelligence at CrowdStrike, says it could even take days or weeks.

Bitcoin is the most popular currency demanded by ransomware attackers, but other cryptocurrencies they have dictated include Ethereum, Zcash, and Monero.

The first step is to contact your organization's bank to determine if they transfer funds to a cryptocurrency exchange, and if there are any limits.

Then set up an account with a cryptocurrency exchange such as Coinbase, which is the most popular and is FDIC-insured for up to $250,000 held in US currency in a custodial account, according to Meyers. Once the US dollars are exchanged for digital currency, Coinbase insures the digital currency should its system be breached, but does not insure the breach of an individual account, according to its website.

Once you create a Coinbase account, have your bank wire its government-issued currency into the custodial account. From there, you can purchase some cryptocurrency to hold in a custodial Coinbase account.

But you may want to think twice before buying and holding cryptocurrency in custodial accounts because the value of this currency can be highly volatile, warns McElroy. For example, at the start of September a single Bitcoin was going for $4,991, but then plummeted to $2,989 by the middle of the month, a CNBC report states. And at the end of October, the price has rocketed to over $6,000 per Bitcoin, according to a CoinDesk chart.

To seed a Coinbase account in advance of any ransomware attack, you must open an account with one of the cryptocurrency companies such as Bitcoin, Zcash, Ethereum, or Monero.

Image Source: Leo Wolfert via Shutterstock

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REISEN1955
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REISEN1955,
User Rank: Ninja
11/1/2017 | 3:48:49 PM
Re: backup, backup and backup again
TOTALLY AGREE!!!  Any business that does not have a valid and tested system restore protocol AND server backup plan deserves what it gets!!!  Tht said - an ransomware payment should come out of the salary pool of the IT staff which would then MAKE THEM MUCH MORE AWARE of the problems.  None of this is NEWS FOR TODAY folks!!!  Valid DR and restore protocols have been around for years.  NOBODY wants to implement or test them. 
jenshadus
50%
50%
jenshadus,
User Rank: Strategist
11/1/2017 | 12:50:57 PM
backup, backup and backup again
My work computer is backed up once a day.  Plus I use a VDI within my laptop and leave few files on my laptop.  Just the essentials for when I travel.  At home I backup everyday, keep my firewall on, and keep the anti-virus scanning.  If I get hit, which I doubt (cross my fingers) I'll just wipe my own computer. 
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