A recent report by Radware found that nearly 50 percent of businesses suffered a ransomware attack in 2016. And in most ransomware attacks, cybercriminals demand a Bitcoin payment in exchange for a decryption key. As experts have been debating the best way to curb ransomware’s rapid growth, a new CSO Online article explores whether or not shutting down Bitcoin would put a stop to ransomware.
According to WatchGuard CTO Corey Nachreiner, the answer is no:
“Although some of Bitcoin’s attributes—specifically its pseudo-anonymity—do help ransomware authors, getting rid of Bitcoin altogether wouldn’t prevent ransomware. There are many other cryptocurrency variants that criminals could turn to, such as Monero, Litecoin, Ether and Dogecoin. Whether we like it or not, cryptocurrency and other anonymous payment methods are out of “Pandora’s box.” There’s no turning back now. That said, these currencies have positive uses and attributes too.”
When CSO Online asked if would be possible to take down Bitcoin by unmasking its elusive founder, Satoshi Nakamoto, Corey stated, “Ultimately it doesn’t matter who the found was. Bitcoin is an “open source” idea now. It is decentralized and we all know how it works, so its creator really has no power over the system. We’ll probably learn for sure who the creator is one day, but I don’t think it will change much. Cryptocurrency will continue to evolve and we’ll see others use public blockchains for alternative uses as well.”
With so much news about ransomware attacks surfacing each week, people are wondering how best to protect themselves. In short, the best approach to dealing with ransomware can be broken down into three key strategies:
- Have a plan and the backups to recover your systems quickly.
- Never pay the ransom.
- Invest in modern security controls that can catch more evasive ransomware variants quickly.
To learn more about ransomware, and best practices for prevention and defense, check out more insights from Corey and other information security experts in the full article on CSO Online. You can also find the article on Network World, CIO and InfoWorld.
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