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.
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