Should You Pay Hackers When Hit With Ransomware?

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Should You Pay Hackers When Hit With Ransomware?

Ransomware is a form of cyberthreat which is getting more prevalent in this day and age. Hackers use ransomware, a malicious malware, to infect and encrypt your device’s files and hold it for ransom.

Anyone could be a victim of ransomware, be it an individual or organisation. Taking steps to prevent ransomware is one thing, but what do you do if you are unavoidably hit with ransomware and at a loss of what steps to take once your valuable data has been taken hostage?

There often comes a debate of whether you should or should not pay a hacker for the decryption key to unlock your data. Let’s look a little closer.

 

SHOULD YOU PAY A HACKER TO DECRYPT YOUR DATA?

Typically if you have been hacked, ransom costs could start from USD$50 to USD$300 to pay the ransom in order to get your files back. After 24 to 72 hours, the ransom might even double.

Imagining you’ve just had all your vital files encrypted and you’re in full-on panic mode. It’s easy to see why anyone would hastily pay in a ransomware attack to get their property back.

However, here’s why many cybersecurity experts strongly believe that you should NOT pay in a ransomware attack.

  • It makes you a target. If you pay the ransom, it shows that you are willing to pay to get your files. They may even attack you again in the future.
  • A second attack may lead to an increase in the amount of the ransom to scare you into getting those files back again.
  • Paying up does not guarantee unlocking of your files. There have been many cases where people have paid the ransom and they do not get their files back. Therefore, they lose out on the money and the files that were on the computer.
  • Over the long run, if victims are constantly paying in these attacks, it becomes motivation for hackers. If they see that many people are paying up for the ransom, it will motivate them to continue with these attacks.
  • Not only that, money from ransomware will help fund more criminal activity which will help hackers upgrade their tools to make it harder to get rid of.

 

WHAT TO DO AFTER A RANSOMWARE ATTACK

First thing you want to do is to make sure that you have backed up your data externally to an external hard drive. If you have a cloud-based backup system, you can check into that to make sure that the cloud base has not backed up any encrypted files.

Additionally, you can possibly do is to contact your local enforcement authorities to let them know that you have had a ransomware attack.

As for your computer, you can take it to a store to have them reinstall the operating system on it to make sure everything is all cleaned out. Once you have gotten everything back, you can plug in your external hard drive or redownload your cloud-based backup software and restore your compromised files.

 

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