Cyber-attacks have long been a problem for businesses. In the past, companies have faced viruses, phishing, and other types of attacks designed to cause problems or gain information. As the attacks have become more sophisticated, so have the criminals. Now there is the growing problem of ransomware, where criminals target an organization to disrupt their files in order to blackmail them into paying ransomware demands.
This form of attack isn't just malicious - it costs companies millions of dollars and can have repercussions far beyond the individual business. In May of 2021, a ransomware attack on a US oil pipeline led to gas shortages and skyrocketing costs across the nation. Ransomware is an extremely serious problem, and it's growing. All businesses should be preparing a proactive plan to deal with this threat.
How it works
Ransomware scams are a type of malware that either blocks access to devices or to the files and data stored on them. The more insidious versions can even encrypt files on local drives, attached drives, and other networked computers. Most often, ransomware is installed by an individual in the company who unintentionally downloads it by opening an infected file or visiting a malicious webpage. Most of the time, no one knows that anything is wrong, and the ransomware is left free to spread throughout the system until the criminals behind it decide the moment is right. That's when you find that all of your devices and files have been locked, and you receive a message telling you the cyber ransom they are demanding. At this point, you are faced with losing huge amounts of money in lost computers and data, or pay the criminals so they will restore everything quickly. For many businesses, that's a hard decision.
Should I pay ransomware?
The simple answer to whether you should pay ransomware demands is no. And there are a number of reasons why.
You make yourself a bigger target
The thing about ransomware attackers is they know exactly what they want - usually money. They aren't just kid hackers out there trying to cause mischief. They hit you and they hurt your company for the single purpose of getting you to pay their ransom. If you do what they want, you've just shown them and other criminals that you are an easy target. The next time you're attacked, the price will probably go up. The only way to stop them is to show that you won't give them what they want. It may hurt you more in the short term, but over the long haul, it will save you money.
Do you really think the criminals will keep their word?
The criminals who attacked you promised to give it all back if you pay their ransom - and you believe them? In fact, less than half of those who pay their ransoms get all of their data back. After all, you don't know who the attacker is, and you can't sue them for not keeping their end of the bargain. These are criminals, you should expect them to act that way.
So, should you pay ransomware demands? No.
There is a reason that the FBI and cyber security experts all say that it is a big mistake to pay off these criminals. There's no question that the damage done to your business can be very big, and there will be a temptation to just want to pay their price and get things up and running again. As a business person, it's easy to look at the financial cost and think that the price of making a ransomware attack payment is nothing compared to the cost of lost data and hardware, but that's simply not true in the long run. Once you mark yourself as an easy target, you will most likely be hit again. Only the next time, the criminals will demand more, since they know you're easy to blackmail. And even if you do pay, there's a good chance you'll never get your files back anyway. That may sound discouraging, but the good news is that there is a way to deal effectively with ransomware.
The key is prevention
The only way to really deal with this threat is to avoid ransomware to start with. That means taking a proactive approach that utilizes the best and most current cyber security methods to identify threats, recognizes malware when it tries to get into your system, and is ready to respond quickly and effectively when something goes wrong.
That's why Vector Choice is here to offer you the support you need to make sure your systems are protected. We'll work with your IT department to keep your systems safe and be ready to take action anytime someone tries to threaten your company. Call today, and start with a FREE 30-minute strategy session to see how we can help you keep your business safe.