Reasons You Should Never Pay Ransom

by | Jan 10, 2024 | Cyber Security | 0 comments

Reasons You Should Never Pay Ransom

You open your laptop to a message on your screen. A hacker is telling you they’ve encrypted your data and you won’t get it back unless you pay a $5,000 ransom. I know you’re thinking that if you pay up, it’ll be easier, you’ll get your data back and this will all be over. This is actually not the case. Cybersecurity experts and the FBI urge anyone affected by ransomware to never pay. Here are the reasons you should never pay ransom :

You May Not Regain File Access

This is the biggest problem when paying the ransom. You’re dealing with cyber criminals. Their mission is to manipulate people and systems. So, what makes you think you can trust a criminal’s word? They aren’t reliable and don’t care about restoring your file access. So if you pay the ransom, there’s a good chance you will lose your data and a hefty amount of money.

You Could Become a “Known Player”

This one is serious. Whether your ransomware attack is on a personal device or a work device, you should never pay the ransom. There is the potential of getting targeted more than once. By paying the ransom, you mark you or your organization as a “known player” to the hacking community. If the cybercriminal gives you the encryption key, it could leave “breadcrumbs”. This identifies you as someone likely to pay the ransom a second time. A few months later, you could get targeted all over again.

It Funds Criminal Activities

Ransomware attackers extort their victims and use their money. They use the money to fund future attacks and other illicit activities. Hackers will use this money to buy new computers, servers, and software. This allows them to target even more victims with malicious software. By paying the ransom, you’re encouraging hackers to continue this illegal behavior. Not paying, however, has the opposite effect by showing there’s no money to make.

The Attack May Not Be Legit

Not all malicious software demanding money is actual ransomware. Ransomware typically falls under one of two categories. The type that encrypts the victim’s files and the type that doesn’t. By definition, ransomware is a type of malicious software that restricts access to the victim’s computer data until a ransom is paid. Even if a pop-up message demands payment, it could be fake ransomware.

Encrypting Ransomware

Encrypting ransomware is the most problematic, as it requires a decrypt key. The attacker will tell you that if you pay the ransom, they will give you the decrypting key. However, that doesn’t always happen. If the attacker does not give you the key, they will most likely try to get more money from you. They will continue this vicious cycle until you give up or run out of money.

Non-encrypting Ransomware

Non-encrypting ransomware may still restrict access to your files. It’s usually easier to fix than its encrypting counterpart. With non-encrypting ransomware, you can often fix the infection using anti-malware software. Since it doesn’t encrypt your files, you don’t have to worry about obtaining a decrypt key. Fake ransomware looks like the real deal, but it doesn’t lock or otherwise restrict access to your files. Many victims end up paying it, believing their files are encrypted. All the victims want is to regain access as soon as possible. This may be possible through traditional anti-malware software or system restores. Paying it will have no effect on whether you can access your files. Since it doesn’t encrypt your files, you don’t have to worry about obtaining a decrypt key. Rather, you need to lift the restriction that’s preventing you from accessing your files.

It May Ask for More Money

The hackers behind the attack see the victim is willing to pay. So they try to extort additional money from them. They may ask for a second ransom, or more until the victim is out of money. This can be frustrating and stressful, especially if you don’t have the funds to keep paying. ransomware attacks can be very costly, so it’s important to be aware of the risks before you become a target. Don’t give in to the demands of the hackers, as this will only encourage them to keep attacking other victims.

What Next…

Now that you know the reasons you should never pay ransom, click here to learn 8 ways to prevent ransomware attacks. This will keep you and your organization safe from cybercriminals.  Elevated Technologies offers round-the-clock security monitoring for your business. Hackers never sleep and have a desire to break into your business’s system. They do this to gain access to your data and your clients’/customers’ information. Let us defend your network so you can rest easy and focus on your business. Remember: preventing a cyber-attack or data breach is way more affordable than recovering from one.  Contact us today if you’re at all worried about the security of your organization.

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