Ransomware Concerns Prompt UK Businesses to Buy Bitcoins, Survey Finds

A number of IT companies in the UK are stocking up on bitcoins in the event of a ransomware infection, according to a recent survey.

AccessTimeIconJun 9, 2016 at 8:22 p.m. UTC
Updated Sep 11, 2021 at 12:19 p.m. UTC
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A number of companies in the UK are stockpiling bitcoins in the event of a ransomware infection, according to a recent survey of 250 information technology specialists in the country.

Data security firm Citrix released the results of a survey it conducted with public relations firm Censuswide, which suggested that ransomware – malware that encrypts up a computer’s files until a ransom is paid (usually in bitcoin) to unlock the data – is a prevailing concern among some companies in the UK.

Thirty-three percent of those surveyed said their companies maintain a stash of bitcoin just in case.

Smaller companies, or those with less than 1,000 employees, appear more like to do so. Thirty-six percent of respondents with 250 and 500 employees, and 57% with between 501 and 1,000 employees, indicated that they had bought bitcoins for possible ransomware events.

Larger companies appear to be less willing to actually stockpile bitcoin for this purpose. Eighteen percent of businesses that employ more than 2,000 people said they had taken a similar approach to the issue, though 35% told Citrix and Censuswide that they’d be willing to pay a data ransom if required.

Despite the small sample size – only 250 specialists within the UK were surveyed – the results suggest that at least some companies are preparing for the worst.

Meanwhile, ransomware events continue to make headlines. Earlier this week, Canadian news outlets reported that the University of Calgary had shelled out C$20,000 to free its email server following a ransomware incident.

Image via Shutterstock

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