Ransomware — To Pay or Not to Pay?
Malicious ransomware has become increasingly popular in the world of phishing attacks. Despite the frequency at which these attacks happen, most organizations don’t know how to handle one when it occurs. The uncertainty and desperation to retrieve important data is something hackers capitalize on.
Businesses have other alternatives to paying a ransom, but don’t know how to pursue them. Below, we’ll discuss a few considerations businesses should keep in mind when deciding whether to pay the ransom or not.
What factors should be considered before choosing to pay a ransom?
- Will you get your data back? Think of ransomware payments like buying a concert ticket from a reseller. If you purchase the ticket without them giving it to you first, there really is no guarantee that you’ll actually receive the ticket. They could take the money and run, and suddenly you’ve been scammed. Hackers react similarly with ransomware payments — you could pay them off, but there’s no guarantee you’ll get your data back.
- Will paying them off make you a target?
If you pay a hacker off once, chances are they’re going to try and attack you again. Because if you’re willing to pay once, the chances of you paying twice are high. It’s also important to remember that these criminals could be using the payment to fund other illegal activities — and that’s NOT the kind of target you want on your back.
- Are there less expensive options?
Organization’s often default to payment to avoid down time and retrieve data back quickly. But in most cases, it’s also because they don’t want to bring in an outside security firm or response team. These services can get costly — but is it more than what you’d be paying the hacker? Loss of data can prove tremendously costly, so you could be creating more of a detriment in the long run by not taking proper steps now.We also suggest investing in cyber insurance to provide peace of mind.
How can I help prevent a ransomware attack in the first place?
- Ensure payment systems are compliant. PCI DSS, or Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard, is critical for businesses that have an eCommerce store. Customer transactions need to be secure, and staying compliant with this helps protect the customer’s data from cyber-theft and fraud.
- Utilize cloud solutions. Backing up data into the cloud is the safest way to ensure you’ll be able to access your data again. Help ticketing desk systems that are cloud based are also reliable and affordable.
- Have a VPN. A VPN, or virtual private network, is a step above anti-virus software and firewalls. While these are still worth pursuing, it’s not enough to secure your connection and protect information from hackers. With a VPN, you can safely share data by using encryption coding. This provides tons of leverage when it comes to mitigating risks with hackers.