Cryptocurrency: it’s a word that we hear all the time, but most of us don’t fully comprehend what it is or how it works.
In this article, we’ll take a high-level glance at cryptocurrency in order to gain a better understanding of this burgeoning trend. After all, it isn’t going away anytime soon and only seems to be increasing in popularity.
Additionally, in the unfortunate event that your business should become a target of a ransomware attack – like the one that recently shut down the Coastal Pipeline and triggered a temporary gasoline shortage – cryptocurrency could very likely be how the hacker demands payment.
While we’re not suggesting you pay that (or any) ransom demand, familiarizing yourself with the concepts behind cryptocurrency will give you a better grasp on how these cybercriminals are able to ply their trade seemingly undetected.
What Is Cryptocurrency?
Often referred to simply as “crypto,” cryptocurrency is a digital currency and form of payment that’s used online in exchange for goods and services. The companies that use cryptocurrency refer to the currencies that they’ve issued as “tokens.” And yes, they are very similar to a casino chip or arcade token which acts as a substitute for the actual currency you used to pay for the chips or tokens.
How Does Cryptocurrency Work?
Cryptocurrencies work by utilizing something called blockchain. Blockchain is a decentralized form of technology that enables many computers to manage and record transactions. There are over 10,000 different cryptocurrencies that are publicly traded, and they raise money through an initial coin offering (ICO). The cryptocurrency that most people have heard of is Bitcoin.
Should You Buy Cryptocurrency?
Look, we’re an IT company – so, it’s not exactly within our scope to tell you how to spend or invest your money. That being said, some people do regard cryptocurrency as a lucrative investment opportunity.
Business tycoon Warren Buffett famously compared the crypto Bitcoin to paper checks. Buffett said, “It’s a very effective way of transmitting money and you can do it anonymously and all that. A check is a way of transmitting money, too. Are checks worth a whole lot of money? Just because they can transmit money?”
Despite being something not many people are well-acquainted with, using cryptocurrency is, in fact, legal in the United States. You can purchase it by downloading different apps that act as trading exchanges for your money to be converted into cryptocurrency. Some of these apps are specific to cryptocurrency exclusively, while others allow you to purchase stocks as well as crypto.
If you do decide to invest in cryptocurrency, do your due diligence and research it as thoroughly as possible.
Why Is Cryptocurrency Popular?
There are several reasons why cryptocurrency is so popular.
Some people like the fact that it runs on blockchain technology, which – due to its decentralized processing and recording system – makes it more secure than traditional payment processing options.
Others like the idea of removing central banks’ control over currency – because the bank isn’t involved, the anonymity that this provides in transactions means that hackers can receive a ransomware payment without ever having to disclose their identification.
Converting cash to cryptocurrency doesn’t even require a legal name or address – and neither does sending or receiving it. The only time personal identifying information (PII) comes into play is when the cybercriminals swipe yours and demand that you pay them to recover it.
As you can see, it’s critical to know a little bit more about cryptocurrency because of its increasing prevalence in the market today.
But it’s even more imperative to understand how to be smart when it comes to your personal and professional cybersecurity, so that you never have to send crypto to strangers in the first place.
DataGroup Technologies, Inc. (DTI) offers a wide variety of cybersecurity services to help protect your business from cyberthreats, including: security risk assessments, email security solutions, web and DNS filtering, next-generation firewalls, network security monitoring, operating systems and application security patches, antivirus software, and security awareness training. Reach out to us today at 252.329.1382 to see how we can help you #SimplifyIT!
An earlier version of this article appeared on the BreachSecureNow.com website.