Why Paying a Ransom Fee Isn’t the Solution

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Understanding the Risks

When faced with a cyber attack demanding ransom, it’s crucial to understand why paying it may not be the best choice. In this blog, we will explore the reasons as to why paying a ransom fee isn’t the best action

 

No Guarantee of Resolution:

Paying a ransom does not guarantee you regain access to your data or systems. Cyber criminals may take your money and still not provide the decryption key or the means to unlock your systems. Relying on criminals for resolution is inherently risky.

 

Encouragement of Criminal Activity:

Paying a ransom fuels the cyber criminal economy and encourages further attacks. When attackers see that victims are willing to pay, it incentivises them to continue their criminal activities, targeting more organisations and individuals.

 

Legal and Ethical Issues:

In many jurisdictions, paying a ransom to cyber criminals is illegal. By doing so, you may expose yourself or your organisation to legal consequences. Additionally, paying a ransom indirectly supports criminal enterprises and can be seen as unethical behaviour.

 

Reinforces Weak Security:

Paying a ransom may temporarily allow an organisation to resolve the immediate crisis, but it does not address the underlying security vulnerabilities. Improving cyber security practices and protecting against future attacks is a more effective long-term strategy.

 

Financial Loss:

Even if you pay the ransom, there is no guarantee that you won’t suffer financial losses beyond the ransom itself. You may acquire additional costs associated with the incident, such as hiring cyber security experts, implementing security measures, and recovering from reputational damage.

 

No Guarantee of Privacy:

Engaging with cyber criminals can lead to further privacy breaches and potentially expose sensitive data. Cyber criminals may use the information they obtained during the attack against you or sell it on the dark web.

 

Supporting Criminal Networks:

Paying ransoms funds criminal organisations, which may use the money for various illicit activities, including human trafficking, drug trade, or funding terrorism.

 

Reputation Damage:

Furthermore, paying a ransom may harm your organisation’s reputation, eroding trust among customers, partners, and stakeholders who may question your ability to protect their data and interests.

 

Escalation Risk:

By paying a ransom once, you may become a repeated target for cyber criminals, as they may perceive you as an easy source of income.

 

Instead of paying a ransom, it is advised to take the following actions:

 

Isolate and Mitigate:

Immediately isolate affected systems to prevent further damage, and then work on restoring them from secure backups.

 

Report the Incident:

Another thing you should do is contact law enforcement agencies and cyber security experts. They will investigate the attack and gather evidence for potential legal action.

 

Strengthen Security:

Identify and address the vulnerabilities that allowed the attack to occur in the first place. Invest in improving your organisation’s cyber security posture.

 

Develop a Cybersecurity Response Plan:

Ensure that you prepare a comprehensive incident response plan to be better equipped to handle future incidents.

 

Educate and Train Staff:

Train employees to recognise and respond to cyber security threats, as many attacks start with social engineering or phishing attempts.

 

Regularly Backup Data:

Maintain up-to-date backups of critical data and systems to minimise the impact of ransomware attacks.

 

Ultimately, the decision to pay a ransom should be weighed carefully, considering both the short-term and long-term consequences, legal implications, and ethical considerations. It is generally recommended to avoid paying and focus on proactive cyber security measures

 

For more information on Cyber Security for your organisation, contact LoughTec Telephone: +44 (0) 28 8225 2445 or email info@loughtec.com.

LoughTec are a leading provider of cyber security solutions and help hundreds of companies in the UK & Ireland with Cyber Security Training, Cyber Essentials Accreditation and IT Support.

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