Security & Fraud

Indian Companies Diss Bitcoin For Ransomware Payments

A handful of companies in India that were hit with the WannaCry ransomware attack are balking at paying in bitcoin to get the data back.

According to a report, the companies are concerned that using the digital currency would bring on more trouble for them, since bitcoin is unregulated. The three-day deadline is also causing problems, since companies not well-versed in bitcoin think it’s not enough time to meet the ransom demands.

“Fourteen clients have reached out to me in the last three and half days, and none of them are ready to pay up in bitcoins for the ransomware attack,“ said Manan Shah, chief executive of cybersecurity provider Avalance Global Solutions, in the report. “They do not feel a bitcoin is a legitimate mode of payment.“

The report noted there are some companies in India that are willing to pay in bitcoin but cite the deadline as a factor as to why they aren’t. “To buy a bitcoin in India, most (bitcoin) wallets need PAN and other KYC details to authenticate an account,” said Shree Parthasarathy, partner at Deloitte, in the report. The partner said it would take about 48 hours to load a bitcoin wallet, noting companies in India are either adopting a wait-and-see approach and are hoping their data will be restored, while others are paying the ransom and others are restoring their data from offline backups.

As has been widely reported, a massive attack hit everything from the United Kingdom’s National Health Service, European automakers and Chinese firms and any number of companies across other verticals, winnowing its way through disparate countries into Saturday. Interpol had estimated over the weekend that more than 100,000 organizations across 150 nations had been hit by the attack, as reported by The Associated Press.

Reuters and others reported that the ransomware infections that hit computers worldwide likely trace their genesis to the U.S. National Security Agency, and Friday’s tally comes to more than 126,000 cases of infection. The malware that was sent had been hidden in any number of attachments in emails that had seemed legitimate, from files that spoofed invoices to job offers and other communications. The demands came in from $300 to $600 to give users back access to their machines.

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