Banks hoarding Bitcoins to safeguard against ransomware attacks

If cyber criminals threaten to take down a bank's systems, the coins can be used to pay them off

Banks and other financial institutions are apparently hoarding Bitcoins, just in case they fall victim to cyber criminals, which could have a detrimental affect on their organisation.

A leading IT expert explained that the strength of attacks on bluechip companies such as Twitter, Spotify and Reddit have led to big companies to stockpile the virtual currency just in case their systems are taken down in a DDoS attack.

Because the coins can't be tracked like normal financial transactions, they are attractive to criminals who want to hide their identity, but this companies are willing to take matters in their own hands rather than involve the police or other invetigatory bodies when such activity takes place.

"The police will concede that they don't have the resources available to deal with this because of the significant growth in the number of attacks," Dr Simon Moores, a former technology ambassador for the UK government and chair of the international e-Crime Congress, told attendees at the annual conference.

Advertisement - Article continues below
Advertisement - Article continues below

"From a purely pragmatic perspective, financial institutions are now exploring the need to maintain stocks of bitcoin in the unfortunate event that they themselves become the target of a high-intensity attack, when law enforcement perhaps might not be able to assist them at the speed with which they need to put themselves back in business."

He went on to explain that large-scale attacks can cause much more damage than monetary losses, so reacting fast to the demands of criminals is key.

"Big companies are now starting to worry that an attack is no longer an information security issue, it's a board and shareholder and customer confidence issue," Moores said. "What we are seeing is the weaponisation of these [hacking] tools. It becomes a much broader issue than businesses ever anticipated."

Moores wouldn't reveal which banks were buying up Bitcoins, but he explained the police were aware of the actions of the institutions and were doing little to discourage it.

Featured Resources

What you need to know about migrating to SAP S/4HANA

Factors to assess how and when to begin migration

Download now

Your enterprise cloud solutions guide

Infrastructure designed to meet your company's IT needs for next-generation cloud applications

Download now

Testing for compliance just became easier

How you can use technology to ensure compliance in your organisation

Download now

Best practices for implementing security awareness training

How to develop a security awareness programme that will actually change behaviour

Download now


internet security

Avast and AVG extensions pulled from Chrome

19 Dec 2019

Google confirms Android cameras can be hijacked to spy on you

20 Nov 2019

Most Popular

data governance

Brexit security talks under threat after UK accused of illegally copying Schengen data

10 Jan 2020
web browser

What is HTTP error 503 and how do you fix it?

7 Jan 2020
data protection

Currys PC World parent firm hit with £500k fine over historic data breach

9 Jan 2020

Travelex disruption caused by devastating ransomware attack

8 Jan 2020