So, you fell victim to a ransomware attack?
You are probably debating whether or not to pay the ransom in exchange for the decryption key or hire a cybersecurity expert to fix the issue instead.
Choosing between the two options is the most common dilemma of ransomware victims.
With their data being inaccessible due to the encryption caused by cybercriminals, the computer system owner usually takes the more accessible but costly alternative – paying the ransom in exchange for the decryption key.
However, this is not always the ideal method to settle the problem. You can check Sangfor’s Ransomware Guidebook to know what you should do next, though plenty of factors could affect the final decision.
Whatever the outcome is, here is why you should not pay the ransom offered by the cybercriminals.
5 Important Reasons Why You Should Not Pay for a Ransomware
1# Paying Ransom Money Encourages The Bad Guys
When a victim pays the ransom, cybercriminals take it as an indicator that their operation is successful. The successful extortion of money incentivizes these cybercriminals to do the same to other companies.
In other words, you are helping them grow their operations, and rush to achieve quick solutions could backfire when cybercriminals decide to attack your business again.
The attackers will use the ransom paid by the company to prepare for their attack on other vulnerable targets in sight. This practice will continue as long as a company pays to retrieve the data they lost.
With this in mind, unless someone takes a stand and decides to clean the mess left by the attackers and settle the matters independently, this cycle will never end.
2# You Are Not Sure If They Will Follow Their Word
You cannot tell for sure if the attackers will give you the decryption key.
You are dealing with cybercriminals here. What seems to be the solution to your problem might turn out to be an additional problem if the attackers do not give you the decryption key after the ransom is paid. The Federal Bureau of Investigation recommends not to pay the ransom for this very reason.
Additionally, it is a possibility that you may pay the price but still won’t recover all the data. There are instances when the decryption key is given upon payment but only part of the data can be recovered, and companies still have to hire cybersecurity experts to rescue the remaining files.
3# You Declare Yourself A Good Ransomware Target
Paying the ransom means admitting defeat to the attacker. You may nod to the demand and think that everything has come to an end after recovering your data, but unfortunately, this is not the situation most of the time.
Since you are quick to pay the ransom, the same cybercriminals may come back and encrypt your data again after a few weeks, months, or years.
They will infect your computer system with a more powerful ransomware and demand payment once again. You may never know when they will stop, so it is advisable not to pay the ransom at all.
4# There Is No Assurance Of The Safety Of Your Data
Although you paid the ransom, got the decryption key, and recovered your data, are you sure that the recovered data is still in its original state? Can you be sure that it is unaltered or that the attackers no longer have access to it? There is no way of telling.
Do not be too confident that the data is restored because the cybercriminals might have altered some of it or planted malware. Furthermore, they may still hold a copy of your information and use it for other malicious activities in the future.
5# You Can Ask For The Help Of Experts
Rather than paying the ransom, you may instead seek the help of professionals when it comes to decrypting and recovering data from a ransomware attack. This way you will have the assurance that your data is safe and unaltered upon recovery without burning a hefty amount of money.
Through this method, you could also get advice and recommendations from specialists. They could lead you to resources where you can read a playbook about ransomware attacks, such as those posted in Sangfor Anti-Ransomware Solution.
While the decision to pay the ransom is yours, it’s best to consider its effects in the long run and on a broader scale. It is also important to note that negotiating with cybercriminals does not grants immunity against their future malicious operations.
Therefore, prevention is better than damage control. Investing in a top-notch network detection and response tool can minimize damage and costs, and AI-powered solutions are an ideal choice because they get better the more they are exposed to risk.
However, keep in mind that even those who greatly invested in cybersecurity must keep their defenses checked from time to time.
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Author: Alfie Frenilla