How to buy Bitcoin for ransomware payment (if you must)

Avoid paying ransom demands if at all possible. When you have no choice, follow this advice for acquiring cryptocurrencies and executing the transaction.

locked data / bitcoins
Metamorworks / Nature / Getty Images

Law enforcement agencies across the world advise companies that are victims of ransomware attacks not to pay the ransom. Aside from the risk of criminals taking the money and running, paying encouraging further attacks and potentially could be illegal depending on where the money is being sent.

The US Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) recently warned against making ransomware payments at the risk of violating economic sanctions imposed by the government against cybercriminal groups or state-sponsored hackers.

Still, when pushed into a difficult situation, some companies may feel like they have no other option than to pay the criminals the fee they demand. The fact is, ransomware attacks are disruptive and costly — whether or not you pay the criminals to return access to locked systems.

Paying cybercriminals will often be done through cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, which will need to be mined or bought through an exchange and then stored in a wallet before being transferred to the intended party. In the spirit of helping you prepare for the worst, following is a brief guide to buying Bitcoin.

Where and how to buy Bitcoin (and other cryptocurrencies)

To continue reading this article register now

The 10 most powerful cybersecurity companies