If You Are a Victim of Ransomware, Should You Pay?

Bob Ulrich
Posted on April 13, 2017

If you are a victim of ransomware, what should you do? Here are some choices.

1. Pay the ransom.

2. Call law enforcement.

3. Not pay the ransom.

4. Follow 2 and 3.

There really is no right answer. The FBI strongly encourages victims to contact one of its local field offices or the U.S. Secret Service immediately in order to provide assistance when your business is blackmailed by cyber thieves. It also does not encourage payment of the ransom.

Here are the risks you face if you pay.

 * Paying the ransom does not guarantee access to your data once the ransom is paid.

* Paying the ransom opens the door to future attacks because the attackers know you will pay.

* After paying the ransom, some victims have been asked to pay even more to get the encryption keys.

* Paying ransom supports and encourages this illegal activity.

However, what if the information being held hostage is critical to your business? In addition, how much will downtime cost you? I compare this to companies that will settle out of court even if they are not guilty. They do so when they know the cost of trying to prove their innocence – with no guarantee of that -- would be much greater than settling.

It may be giving in to extortion, but it’s still a tough call.

I know of four dealers who dealt with ransomware recently. I talked to one in my “Beware of Ransomware” report in our April issue. He didn’t pay, but his new POS software system was less than two weeks old. He also didn’t call the authorities.

He was a little embarrassed. “You think you’re smart enough to run your business,” he told me.

The FBI says law enforcement “may be able to use legal authorities and tools that are unavailable to most organizations.” It can even enlist the assistance “of international law enforcement partners to locate the stolen or encrypted data or identify the perpetrator.”

If you experience a ransomware attack, I would suggest you give the FBI a call. Ransomware cost businesses at least $1 billion last year, and that doesn’t take into account unknown attacks where the business owner paid the ransom and moved on. It also doesn’t take into account downtime. $1 billion is a very conservative estimate that cybersecurity companies agree will increase dramatically in the next five years.

As for whether or not you should pay the ransom, that’s a tough call.

Related Topics: B.O.B., FBI, Ransomware

Bob Ulrich Editor
Comments ( 1 )
  • Ginny

     | about 2 months ago

    The best practice is to have excellent network protection and to your data backed up in several places, at least one of which is off site. That way, if you do get ransomware you can restore your data. I would never pay the ransom, as often times the attackers will supply you with a fake key to retrieve your data - that is if they provide you with anything at all.

More Stories
News

ZC Rubber Opens R&D Center

Zhongce Rubber Group Co Ltd. (ZC Rubber) has opened a research and development center in China in cooperation with a state-owned research and development institute.

News

Bauer Built Awards $6,000 in Annual Scholarships

Since 1994 Bauer Built Inc. has recognized the children and grandchildren of its employees through the G. F. “Sam” and Ethel V. Bauer/Bauer Built Inc. Scholarship program. Four high school seniors have earned the prize in 2017.

News

Pirelli's Monaco Grand Prix Preview

Having brought the three hardest compounds in the range to the last grand prix in Spain, Pirelli now brings the three softest compounds to a completely different type of circuit, Monaco, featuring soft, supersoft and ultrasoft.

News

Titan's Union Workers Approve New Contract

United Steelworkers (USW) members working at Titan International Inc. plants in Des Moines, Iowa, Freeport, Ill. and Bryan, Ohio have ratified a new five-year contract.

News

Two-Time Indy Lights Vice Champion Harvey Set For 500 Debut

At the end of not one but two successive seasons, Jack Harvey found himself watching from the second step of the season-ending podium as another driver took the Mazda scholarship prize package that would propel him into a ride in the Verizon IndyCar Series.

The Haas VF-17 models it's new suit.
News

Dressed To Impress In Monaco

In addition to keeping up with the Ferraris, Mercedes and Red Bulls at Monaco, one must also keep up with the Joneses. That’s why Haas F1 Team is bringing an updated livery to its already quick and ever-improving Haas VF-17.

The Bridgestone Europe headquarters in Zaventem.
Article

Bridgestone in Europe! Building on Continued Success

As I am sure all MTD readers can appreciate, Europe is currently in the grip of a number of significant business trading changes including a fluctuating economy and the very real prospect of the UK market eventually leaving the European Union.

Article

Cost Pressures Will Likely Continue to Build

According to the results of our survey, demand for passenger and light truck replacement tires declined in March. Indeed, from a volume standpoint, the dealers reported they sold 0.8% fewer tires in March relative to the previous year’s period. The decline marks the third straight month of poor results versus the prior year’s period. However, on more a positive note, trends improved sequentially.

ATD's new mixing center is delivering tires to 32 distribution centers. The first truck load of tires pulled out of the dock on May 1.
News

New ATD Mixing Center Has Capacity for Almost 1 Million Tires

American Tire Distributors Inc. (ATD) has opened its fourth regional mixing center in the U.S. Large enough to hold nearly 1 million tires, the mixing center in the Dallas/Fort Worth area will replenish the inventories of 32 ATD distribution centers in the Southwest.

Be the First to Know

Get the latest news and most popular articles from MTD delivered straight to your inbox. Stay on top of the tire industry and don't miss a thing!