Which Ransomware Payment Option is Best? (Hint: None)

    February 28, 2024

    Imagine waking up to the realization that your business’s crucial data is locked away, inaccessible and encrypted by cybercriminals who are demanding a huge ransom fee.

    You can’t afford to pay it. But there’s a twist – just like those “buy now, pay later” schemes, some ransomware gangs are offering victims payment extension options.

    Recent research reveals that ransomware groups are getting creative with their extortion strategies. One group is even offering victims various choices when it comes to their ransom demands. These “choices” include paying a standard fee of $10,000 to delay the publication of their stolen data, or paying to have their data deleted before it’s made public.

    To increase the pressure on victims, these ransomware groups have also added some terrifying features to their web sites. These include countdown timers displaying how much time businesses have before their data is released, view counters, and even tags revealing the victim’s identity and description.

    In such a desperate situation, the temptation might be to appease the attackers by paying their ransom. However, paying is always a bad idea, and here’s why.

    Payment of any kind does not guarantee the safe return of your data, or that the cyber criminals won’t demand more money later. Payment also funds criminal activities, encouraging further attacks against your organization and others. Additionally, in some countries, paying cybercriminals may be against the law, which could bring legal trouble to your already suffering business.

    So, what can you do to protect your business from falling victim to a ransomware attack? Here’s a comprehensive guide to strengthen your defenses:

    1. The Power of Backups: The single most important step in ransomware defense is regularly backing up your data. With a secure backup system in place, even if your primary files are encrypted, you can restore them quickly and minimize disruption.

    2. Educate and Empower Your Employees: Human error is a significant entry point for ransomware attacks. By educating your employees about the risks of phishing emails, suspicious links, and social engineering tactics, you can significantly reduce the chance of them inadvertently opening the door to cybercriminals.

    3. Invest in Robust Security Software: A strong defense is crucial. Antivirus, anti-malware, and endpoint protection software can proactively identify and prevent malware infections, including ransomware attempts. Ensure these programs are updated regularly to stay on top of evolving threats.

    4. Patch It, Patch It, Patch It: Cybercriminals often exploit security vulnerabilities in outdated software. Regularly patching your operating systems and applications on all devices used in your business is essential to close these potential gaps in your defenses.

    5. Network Segmentation: Segmenting your network creates separate zones, limiting the potential spread of ransomware if one device becomes infected. This way, the impact can be contained, preventing the entire network from being compromised.

    6. Develop an Incident Response Plan: Being prepared is key. Develop a clear incident response plan that outlines the steps your team should take if a ransomware attack occurs. This plan should identify roles, responsibilities, and communication protocols to ensure a swift and coordinated response.

    Paying cyber criminals doesn’t guarantee a solution, and we’re seeing that businesses that do pay become repeat targets. Instead, invest in the proactive measures above to help you stay secure. And if we can help you with that, get in touch.

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