The increase of ransomware attacks like WannaCry are driving up Bitcoin prices, as companies are stockpiling the cryptocurrency in order to pay future ransoms, Citrix CEO Kirill Tatarinov said at the Corporate Governance conference in New York.

The statement came as a response given in a panel discussion on managing cyber risk, hosted by Jim Cramer. According to Tatarinov, the trend of storing up Bitcoin was seen in UK-based firms.

“We’ve seen people pay up after ransomware attacks,” Tatarinov said in the panel. “We’ve seen people who are proactively bulking up on Bitcoin anticipating those attacks. This is happening.”

SEE: Ransomware: The smart person’s guide

According to a press release about the panel, the price of Bitcoin has jumped from $1,692 to $2,785, since WannaCry hit the scene on May 12, 2017.

The The WannaCry ransomware (also known as WannaCrypt) spread rapidly among businesses in early May 2017. Hospitals and healthcare organizations across the UK were some of the biggest victims, which would seem to coincide with the idea that UK firms would be putting aside some Bitcoin to pay for the ransom on their data.

The vulnerability that WannaCry exploits was uncovered by the US National Security Agency (NSA) and hackers ran with it, locking up data in companies all over the world. The attack seemed to affect Windows 7 users the most, and ransoms ranged from roughly $300-$600, on average.

Cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin are often demanded as ransom for cyberattacks, as they are harder to track than traditional payment methods.

The 3 big takeaways for TechRepublic readers

  1. The cost of Bitcoin is going up due to UK businesses hoarding the currency to pay off ransomware attacks, Citrix CEO Kirill Tatarinov said.
  2. The price of Bitcoin has jumped since the infamous WannaCry ransomware attack, recently trading at $2,785.
  3. WannaCry primarily affected Windows 7 users, and spread heavily through healthcare systems in the UK at first.