In the spirit of helping you prepare for the worst, following is a brief guide to buying Bitcoin.
Unless you plan to mine your own, you'll want to buy cryptocurrency through an exchange. Fiat-to-crypto exchanges like Coinbase , where you trade real money for cryptocurrencies, are the best place to buy Bitcoins. If you already own cryptocurrency but need to exchange it for another type, for example swapping Bitcoin to Ethereum, a crypto-to-crypto exchange such as Binance may be more suitable.
Buying cryptocurrencies from exchanges is a simple process and can be done using normal banking methods such as a credit card or bank transfer. Simply decide the type of currency you wish to buy, the amount, and buy.
It will then be transferred into your exchange account. There will likely be fees for buying, trading, and moving cryptocurrencies on exchanges and cryptocurrency value will vary among exchanges as no single source dictates the exchange rates. Regulated exchanges will require you to register to help avoid issues around money laundering regulations. Depending on the exchange, transfers may take a while to process.
In time-critical situations, be aware of how long it will take to source cryptocurrencies from exchanges. Words of warning: It is not advisable to hold cryptocurrencies on an exchange. I would not recommend companies buy and hold cryptocurrencies just in case they fall victim to extortion incidents. A better option is to move your newly bought assets from the exchange to a personal wallet more on that below.
Cryptocurrencies are held in wallets, programs that hold your public and private keys. Wallets allow you to send and receive payments, show balances, and interact with different blockchains. The public key is the designated location where transactions are deposited to and withdrawn from, almost like a bank account number. These are usually in the form of 26 to 35 random alphanumeric characters. Private keys are more like passwords that enable currency to be moved away from the wallet.
Private keys on wallets are important. Lose them and your wallet will be inaccessible and its contents will be lost. Have your private key stolen and you run the risk of having your cryptocurrency stolen. There are different kinds of wallets for different purposes: Cold wallets are offline hardware wallets, often in the form of USB sticks, that can only be accessed via physical means.
These are more secure that online wallets but have less redundancy in that the loss of that hardware token renders the wallet inaccessible. Hot wallets are online wallets, often through cloud services or mobile apps, that are connected to the internet and more easily accessible. PayPal recently partnered with Paxos to enable users in the US to buy, hold and sell cryptocurrencies -- initially featuring Bitcoin, Ethereum, Bitcoin Cash and Litecoin -- directly within the PayPal digital wallet.
The company says it plans to expand the features to Venmo and international markets in Words of warning: While being more connected and potentially user friendly, online wallets also run the risk of being more easily compromised by attackers. Rogers says lowering the barrier to entry around cryptocurrencies could further encourage threat actors. This is likely bad news for the industry and could lead to even more ransomware attacks on a wider range of people and businesses.
As with other important systems, regular backups, multi-factor authentication MFA , encrypting hardware and using VPNs when making transfers are all advisable to reduce the chance of compromise. It may even be worth having multiple wallets to spread the risk. Infecting a critical file can be considered as an evasion technique since it can help prevent detection through behavioral monitoring tools due to safelisting.
Additionally, cleaning critical files such as user The infected user Within a couple of years, ransomware has evolved from a threat that targeted only Russian users to an attack that spread to several European and North American countries as well.
With a profitable business model and a payment scheme that affords anonymity for its operators, ransomware development is expected to accelerate over the coming years. Thus, it is crucial for users to know how ransomware works and how to best protect themselves from this threat. Earlier cryptoransomware types targeted. Cybercriminals have since included a number of other file types that are critical to businesses, like database files, website files, SQL files, tax-related files, CAD files, and virtual desktop files.
After the shift to cryptoransomware, extortion malware has continued to evolve, adding features such as countdown timers, ransom amounts that increase over time, and infection routines that enable them to spread across networks and servers. Threat actors continue experimenting with new features, such as offering alternative payment platforms to make ransom payments easier, routines that threaten to cause potentially crippling damage to non-paying victims, or new distribution methods.
These developments eventually lead to the appearance of targeted ransomware. Targeted ransomware is also known as big-game hunting and human-operated attacks. By taking a targeted approach, threat actors have found a new way of revitalizing ransomware variants. As with targeted attacks, modern ransomware variants are tailored for specific victims and take more preparation and research. This means that threat actors have had to narrow down their targets to entities that are more likely to lead to bigger payoffs if attacked.
Present iterations of targeted ransomware have the added challenge of double extortion. Through their targeted approach, threat actors come to know which data is most valuable to their targets. By adding double extortion to their attacks, they coerce their victims into complying with their demands. Threat actors force victims into compliance not only by encrypting files but also by threatening to publicize stolen sensitive data if their demands are not met.
Ryuk Ransom. Ryuk was among the first ransomware to take a targeted approach.
Bitcoin Is Aiding the Ransomware Industry - CoinDesk
First encountered in , it created a new standard for future ransomware variants. Ryuk is notable for its choice in high-profile targets, which included the fatigued healthcare industry in Sodinokibi Ransom. Sodinokibi is a notable ransomware in that first appeared in It has been linked to the now-defunct GandCrab family. Sodinokibi is an example of a ransomware type that uses double extortion in its campaigns. It also has data exfiltration capabilities for stealing information used for coercing its targets into paying their demanded ransom.
Nefilim Ransom. Nefilim was discovered early into Like many ransomware variants of that year, it used double extortion tactics and had data exfiltration capabilities. RansomExx Ransom. RansomExx was linked to the cybercriminal group Gold Dupont and was behind several high-profile attacks in Notably, it used an arsenal of trojanized tools.
The lifecycle of a ransomware infection
RansomEXX saw considerable development in , with a Linux variant discovered in November of that year. Though ransomware routines are not altogether new, they still work and so are still used by operators. In turn, this has led to the biggest ransomware attack to date and, in , WannaCry remained one of the most detected ransomware families across the globe. Even before WannaCry reared its ugly head, companies and individuals worldwide had already been suffering the dire consequences of such threats.
Were ransomware to change in a few years, it would not be surprising. In terms of potential, they can evolve into malware that disable entire infrastructures until a ransom is paid. Cybercriminals might also soon further develop attacks on industrial control systems ICSs and other critical infrastructures to paralyze not just networks but also ecosystems. At present, ransomware campaigns are already taking on high-profile and critical targets in the healthcare, transportation, and government sectors.
Organizations need to be prepared for the possibility of more threat actors or groups shifting to and joining the ransomware bandwagon. The theme of double extortion seems to indicate how ransomware operators will continue to find new ways of increasing the stakes for their victims and cornering them into meeting their demands instead of just walking away. Legitimate tools or living-of-the-land components will likely continue to be part of attacks in the future, with threat actors choosing key components based on the profile of their targets.
Online extortion is bound to develop from taking computers and servers hostage to eventually doing the same to any type of insufficiently protected connected device, including smart devices and critical infrastructures.
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The return on investment ROI and opportunities for development that the targeted approach has opened will ensure that it continues in the future. With the exception of some ransomware families that demand high amounts, ransomware variants typically ask for 0. This is important to note for two reasons: First, some variants increase the ransom the more time lapses that it remains unpaid. Secondly, the Bitcoin exchange rate is on the rise.
Although there is no silver bullet with regard to stopping ransomware , a multilayered approach that prevents it from reaching networks and systems is the best way to minimize the risk. At the endpoint level, Trend Micro Smart Protection Suites features behavior monitoring and application control, as well as vulnerability shielding to minimize the risk of getting infected by ransomware threats. Enterprises can also take advantage of Trend Micro XDR , which collects and correlates data across endpoints, emails, cloud workloads, and networks, providing better context and enabling investigation in one place.
This, in turn, allows teams to respond to similar threats faster and detect advanced and targeted threats earlier. Its endpoint protection also delivers several capabilities such as behavior monitoring and a real-time web reputation service that detects and blocks ransomware. For home users , Trend Micro Security 10 provides robust protection from ransomware by blocking malicious websites, emails, and files associated with this threat.
Trend Micro offers free tools such as the Machine Learning Assessment Tool that provides endpoint security preventing threats from entering the network and the Anti-Threat Toolkit ATTK that scans potentially compromised machines for ransomware and other forms of malware. Visit the Threat Encyclopedia for the latest notable ransomware. List of Notable Ransomware Families. Distributed via banking Trojan variants, malspam, and exploits.
Notable for its choice of high-profile targets. It is capable of stealing computer data. Babuk Locker.