Ransomware attacks are targeting educational institutions, hospitals, as well as local governments.
The number of incidents has more than doubled in 2019. Cybercriminals deploy crushing new types of malicious software and additional attack techniques.
The point is that they are more powerful than ever before. The global wave of ransomware attacks hasn’t overlooked Canadian organizations, especially those in the healthcare industry.
Although there has been a significant change in recent times, there is no guarantee whatsoever that others won’t fall victim to ransomware attacks.
At present, if your laptop computer or your mobile devices get infected, ransomware is most likely to be the cause.
All of a sudden, you see a message on the screen confirming your worst fears “Oops, all your important files are encrypted”.
You’ve been infected with ransomware and the outlook isn’t getting any better as you’re required to pay a great deal of money to regain control of your device.
The question now is: Should you or shouldn’t you pay the hacker’s ransomware demand?
Don’t Panic. And Don’t Pay if You Get Hit by Ransomware
Hackers, not to mention criminal organizations, extort money from businesses and individuals alike.
They don’t discriminate. What they do is encrypt the victim’s files, blocking access to data and applications, and refuse to unlock them until the victim pays the amount of money they require.
Once the organization or the individual pays, they receive a decryption key. In some instances, the data isn’t released at all. Faced with such a situation, the only thing you can do is pay the so-called debt in full.
It’s not recommended to pay the hacker’s ransomware demand. As mentioned earlier, you don’t have a guarantee that you’ll be granted access to your files. Either you don’t receive a decryption key or you get one that refuses to work.
The cybercriminal may or may not restore the data to you. The decision is up to them. Additionally, by paying the extortion demands, you encourage the online criminal to target others.
They shouldn’t use their digital knowledge to hurt other unsuspecting people.
If you’re, say, the administrator of a healthcare facility, you might feel inclined to pay. People’s lives are at stake, so this isn’t the time to think about whether it’s a good idea to reward the cyber thief.
Maybe so, but understand that the attackers might ask for additional payments.
As shocking as this piece of information might be, it’s true. The cyber intruder will just ask for more for a full recovery.
They instill fear and panic into their victims. If you’re blackmailed once, you’re going to be blackmailed a second time.
Authorities strongly encourage businesses and individuals not to pay the hacker’s ransomware demand. You won’t recover your data, not to mention that paying up isn’t the cheapest option.
Ransomware attackers don’t help victims throughout the process. They have to figure out everything on their own.
If the extortionist is in a good mood, you’ll get your files back. If not, the worst is yet to come.
Backups Diminish the Need to Pay the Ransomware Demand
In addition to permanent loss of sensitive information, the negative consequences of a ransomware attack include disruption to regular operations and harm to you or your organization’s reputation.
If you don’t have a good backup system in place, you can’t restore invaluable data.
You ought to regularly encrypt your data and ensure that the backups aren’t connected to computers or servers that can be easily hacked.
If they happen to be on the same system that the ransomware infected, the files automatically become inaccessible.
Backups play an important role in protecting yourself against the ever-present threat of a ransomware attack.
Important information isn’t lost due to technical or human error.
If a malware attack has impacted your system, you can immediately recover the data without paying the bad guys a thing.
Backups are pretty straightforward, yet it’s surprising to see how many neglect them. It’s true that backups represent the last line of defense when it comes to ransomware attacks, but that doesn’t mean that they aren’t effective.
Cloud storage is generally regarded as a good way to store files. Attention should be paid to the fact that it’s not successful in producing the desired effect. To be more precise, services such as Dropbox, Google Drive, and OneDrive aren’t safe havens from ransomware.
The files can become corrupted or encrypted. The good news is that some cloud storage services ensure file versioning.
Therefore, you can keep old copies. If something were to happen, all you have to do is to go back to a previous file version.
It’s recommended to have an offline backup copy. This way, the primary information won’t be compromised and you can recover from the malicious attack.
Yes, You Can Win the Fight Against Ransomware
Until now, it should be clear that backups are simply not safe from ransomware. If you decide not to pay the ransom demand, there is no need to be concerned because you can remove the malicious software from your system. Ask IT and cybersecurity professionals like Cytelligence for help.
They are the only ones who can help you recover from the ransomware attack in the shortest amount of time.
IT and cybersecurity professionals treat these kinds of attacks like business deals. In other words, they act calmly and in a reasonable manner.
This is precisely why they are capable of getting the best outcome. The files are properly recovered and the damage is minimized. What happens is that the system is decrypted, so there is no need to pay the hacker.
If you want to fully recover from a ransomware attack, you should better work with an experienced professional.
You can survive, even though you’ve been hit hard. To sum up, it’s necessary to come up with a battle plan and not give in to the temptation of paying the hacker’s ransomware demand. No good can come of this.
If the incident is serious enough, you should report it to the authorities. They may have the necessary tools to remediate the situation.
What is more, it’s necessary for the authorities to know who is responsible for conducting such criminal activities.
You can also read the complete ransomware mitigation checklist