Ransomware: To Pay or Not to Pay?

Ransomware is a scourge that’s been plaguing businesses and organizations over the past few years. It’s a form of malware, malicious software that encrypts your files or system, denying you access to them. The attacker demands money—a ransom, if you will—in exchange for restoring access to your data. These crimes are more common than you might think; according to cybersecurity provider Symantec, there were more than 1,200 ransomware detections each day in 2017.

Because the cost of system downtime is exorbitant, many organizations believe it’s much cheaper to just pay the ransom and get back to work. However, according to law enforcement agencies and security professionals, when you fall victim to ransomware the last thing you should do is pay the ransom.

Why shouldn’t you pay hackers the ransom?

There are four good reasons why the experts believe you should never pay a ransom:

• Paying the ransom is not always the end of your problems. While a hacker may provide you with access to your files, they’ll likely leave malware behind, making it possible for them to re-infect your system or steal information.

• Some hackers may not have the ability to decrypt your files even if they wanted to because their malware is poorly coded. This makes decryption impossible, and you will never get your files back.

• There’s no guarantee you will be given access to your files if you pay the ransom. According to the CyberEdge Group’s 2018 Cyberthreat Defense Report, only 19 percent of ransomware victims who paid the ransom actually got their data back. Those aren’t good odds. Therefore, by paying a ransom you’ll run the risk of losing both your files and your money.

• Finally, hackers will use the money extorted from you to finance their ongoing criminal activity, making it possible for them to target other innocent people and organizations.

When you take all of this into consideration, it’s easy to see why the experts try to dissuade organizations from giving in to a hacker’s demands by paying a ransom. This decision is much easier if you’re prepared for a ransomware attack by backing up your data, so the hacker doesn’t have the upper hand. Contact us today to learn more about how to mitigate the threat of ransomware and other security risks for your organization.