Why You Should Never Pay a Ransomware Demand

Cyber risks are increasing as our society becomes more reliant on technology. A typical cyber threat that cybercriminals take advantage of is ransomware, and they are in it for the money. It may sound scary initially, and we might be tempted to pay them, but should you decide to pay these criminals? The short answer is "No". Now let us find out why you should stick to that decision.

What is Ransomware?

Ransomware is malware that infects, locks, or controls a computer system. The attacker then demands a monetary payment to reverse the malicious conduct.

  • Attackers who use ransomware encrypt files and demand digital cash for the decryption key. If the ransom is not paid, the attacker may threaten to release exfiltrated material to the public or sell it on the Dark Web.

  • Malicious email attachments, corrupted downloads, and hacked websites are some of the ways for a ransomware to spread.

  • To prevent detection by traditional follow-the-money tracing methods the law enforcement employs, the attacker will often demand payment in a specific cryptocurrency such as Bitcoin.

Never Pay the Ransom in the Event of a Ransomware Assault

Paying the ransom is never the answer, no matter how tempting it may be to give up, fork over the cash, and put this nightmare behind you.

  • Giving money to these cybercriminals reinforces their behavior; after all, you have demonstrated to them that this is a profitable way of behaving by giving them exactly what they want.

  • Not only have you empowered them to target others in the same way, but you've also painted yourself as a soft target.

  • Even if you go out and try to improve the security of your networks, the criminals now know you're prepared to pay up, so you'll be twice as likely to be attacked because they'll be actively hunting for flaws in your system.

  • Remember, these are criminals; who say they have to return all of your information once you pay up? The malware doesn't inform you it's there until the attackers believe it's spread far enough to warrant an announcement. So, even if you pay up, there's no guarantee that the malware won't sneak into your backups and infect them.

  • And also, it's unlikely that you'll receive all of your data back. One out of five targeted people does not receive the promised decryption key. If you pay and receive the decryption key, the attackers may only give you 80 percent of your data or none at all. Keep in mind that you're working with criminals; can you trust them?

How to Tackle a Ransomware Demand?

What you should do is create a secure, clean backup that will prevent ransomware from spreading even if it manages to sneak through your front door. They can't steal your info if they can't get to it. If you've been hacked, engage with your backup provider to address the situation and retrieve your data.

Because ransomware is essentially an organized crime, the authorities should be alerted. If the ransomware assault puts people's lives in jeopardy, it's critical to get in touch with authorities as soon as possible.

How to Prevent a Ransomware Attack?

The following are some steps to avoid the negative repercussions of a ransomware attack −

  • Maintain offline, encrypted data backups and test recovery point objectives regularly.

  • Patch and upgrade all software and firmware regularly.

  • Conduct regular vulnerability scans to reduce the number of potential attack surfaces.

  • Ensure that computing devices are correctly configured and that security features are turned on.

  • Best practices for remote desktop and print services should be followed.

  • Detect command and control (C&C) signals and other malicious network behavior with an intrusion detection system (IDS) regularly before an assault.

  • Create an incident response strategy that includes notification processes ahead of time.