In the wake of the HBO hack, in which hackers threatened to release 1.5 TB of data if they didn’t get about $6 million worth of bitcoin, a cybersecurity CEO stated that companies are acquiring bitcoin to pay off hackers. In HBO’s case, the company asked the hackers for more time and offered $250,000 as a “bug bounty” payment.
On CNBC’s Mad Money, hosted by Jim Cramer, cybersecurity firm CyberArk’s CEO Udi Mokady made his notable statement, as hackers are becoming more sophisticated and managing to infiltrate top companies who, as a result, are forced to buy bitcoins to pay for possible ransoms. He stated:
“That’s the requirement of most of these hackers. Many companies choose to buy bitcoin in some state or fashion and pay them off.”
As previously reported by CCN, businesses stockpile bitcoin to face cyber extortion threats, as cyberattacks can lead to the loss of incredibly valuable data. Often lives are put at risk, as healthcare networks are preferred targets due to the nature of the services they provide. Last year, these were forced to pay nearly $100,000 in ransoms.
Bitcoin’s price recently hit a new all-time high above $4,400, and that helps motivate bad actors to keep blackmailing organizations. The fact that these are even buying bitcoin specifically to pay off their ransoms is just the cherry on top of the cake.
Education is the Solution
According to Mokady, companies like his are trying to teach companies how to prevent cyberattacks but aren’t being very successful in some areas, such as Europe, where firms don’t need to disclose how many times they’ve been breached.
Companies like his, however, will benefit from new regulations in 2018 as disclosure will become a requirement. The CEO stated that he thinks this is going to help expedite the education process of cyberattacks.
The CEO further stated that CyberArk’s main focus is to educate clients about the best preventive measures and processes when it comes to hacking. According to him, the companies his firm works with are trying to be one step ahead of those that are forced to pay bitcoin ransoms and learn from their mistakes, so as to prevent attacks instead of having to pay off hackers.
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