“I fell victim to a ransomware attack! Should I pay the ransom or not?”

Photo via Freepik

In our previous blogs, we have focused on the tips in preventing falling victim to cyber attacks. You may already have strong passwords, a password manager, VPN, anti-malware software, and such. But cybercriminals will always find new ways to trick victims. 

Cyber attacks, especially ransomware attacks, are evolving to the point that no one and no organization is safe from the attack. Ransomware attacks will not end anytime soon. 

 

What is a Ransomware attack?

Ransomware attack is basically when a cybercriminal takes control of your computer and declines your access to your own files. You are warned that your info, photos or videos will be published in public unless you pay a large amount of money (ransom) to stop them from doing so.

Cybercriminals usually do this by spreading the threat via email (phishing attacks), websites, and attaching files to your computer.

Anyone can fall victim. Just imagine if you’ve been hit with a ransomware attack, what will you do? Are you going to pay the ransom or not?

 

Should you pay the ransom or not?

Before deciding whether you will pay the ransom or not, ask yourself the following questions:

What could be the risks?

Are there no other options?

If you consider paying the ransom, how sure are you that you’ll get all of your data back? Will you trust these cybercriminals?

There are still victims that will pay the ransomware demand with the belief of getting all their data back after the payment. But in reality, paying the ransom demand will not guarantee the return of the stolen data. A study shows that over half of ransomware victims pay the ransom, but only a quarter see their full data returned.

In some countries like New Zealand, it is not currently illegal to pay a cyber ransom. However, remember that ransomware is an illegal business that shouldn’t be tolerated.

Paying a ransom will not stop the ransomware attack. Cybercriminals will continue getting more victims if they continue receiving money from the victims.

The FBI has an advisory saying that “Paying a ransom doesn’t guarantee you or your organization will get any data back. It also encourages perpetrators to target more victims and offers an incentive for others to get involved in this type of illegal activity.”

Paying a ransom is not the only option and is not the solution. Report it to the FBI.

FBI reminds everyone that if you fall victims to a ransomware attack, you must:

Contact your local FBI field office to request assistance, or submit a tip online.

File a report with the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3)

If you have any questions, contact us and we’d be glad to help.