25 millions devices infected by the Android malware Agent Smith
A Ransomware is one of the types of computer malware that isn’t going off anytime soon. A recent example could be the Riviera Beach city based in Florida: After seeing its computer systems infected by a Ransomware, Riviera Beach eluded a vote and decided to pay 600 000$ in random to the hackers in the hopes of regaining control of its systems.
While we applaud the city leaders who handled the issue with seriousness by deciding to put it to a vote, we still believe no one should pay the ransom when infected by a Ransomware. It’s not only because the "we don’t negotiate with terrorists" thing, it’s a lot simpler: there is absolutely no guarantee that paying the large amount of money will let you recover your files.
There are different reasons why paying the ransom should not be considered as an alternative.
First of all, the majority of cyber-attacks, including Ransomware, usually last only for a short amount of time. The servers that issue unlocking commands and receive payment are, in most cases, located by the authorities and taken out of service. Hackers sometimes take their servers out of service themselves, either to cover their tracks or move on to the next criminal campaign. With any of those cases, any infected person who has not paid the ransom may no longer be able to unlock their computer, even if they pay.
The next problem is, even if you manage to pay the ransom when the servers are still online, hackers won’t necessarily unlock your files. The reason is really simple: they wanted your money, that’s it. They don’t gain anything by holding their promise and unlocking your files.
In the third place, even if you manage to get back your files, in order to make even more money, hackers probably infected your system with another type of malware, whether it’s a Trojan, virus, spyware, adware… The list goes on. Learn more about the 5 most common types of malware in 2019.
Finally, if you are a large organization, you will probably spend a lot of money on recovering from the ransomware attack in addition to paying the ransom. For example, after the Ransomware Atlanta attack, the city had to pay 2 600 000$ to recover, when the initial ransom price was only 50 000$.
Although it may be different for a life or death situation in infrastructures like hospitals, in general, paying the Ransomware ransom is a bad idea.