Online assets are an integral part of operations for companies of all sizes. However, the movement to digital resources and files has opened the window for a whole new sector of criminal activity.
Viruses and phishing schemes have been around for decades, but modern cyber criminals have become much more adept at targeting specific files or computing systems. For IT professionals and business owners, understanding these threats is essential for limiting potential operational disruptions.
The Threat of Ransomware
Ransomware has become a prominent threat to both the private and public sectors in recent years. The ability for malicious actors to lock users and companies out of their files gives these actors leverage against their targets. This type of attack often leads to bad decisions on the part of companies that rely on important digital assets.
Businesses that want to quickly retrieve vital data often succumb to the demands of threat actors. This surrender, however, simply makes the business a target for future attacks. Leaders who want to safeguard their important assets against potential malicious activities should remember that ransomware settlements are never a good idea.
3 Things About Ransomware Settlements You Should Know
Ransomware attacks can be devastating for companies that aren’t prepared. Loss of profits, decreased public trust and potential legal liability can cripple a company’s bottom line.
While being locked out of important assets or having them released to the public might seem like the worst possible outcome, it becomes more difficult to defend against ransomware attacks once a settlement has been paid.
It’s important to keep three key things in mind when dealing with ransomware settlements:
1. There’s No Guarantee Your Data Will Be Returned
When malicious actors lock individuals and organizations out of their data with a ransomware attack, they hold the encryption key that can be used to retrieve it. This arrangement gives them all of the power when making settlements.
If you pay a ransomware settlement, there’s no good way to ensure the data can be recovered. It may already be corrupted, and the criminals may not have even bothered to keep the key. Remember, even when paying a ransomware settlement, your data is still in the hands of criminals, and they can do what they want with it.
2. You Make Yourself a Target
Companies that pay ransomware settlements mark themselves as a good target for cybercriminals. A company that can be hacked and exploited for a return is a huge asset for these bad actors.
Paying a ransomware settlement only makes you more vulnerable to future attacks. Even if data can be restored by paying a ransomware settlement, criminals can still retain their own copy and use it to threaten you further.
3. You’re Putting Others at Risk
Businesses that pay ransomware settlements are giving resources to criminals who can use them to target others. This approach leaves the door open to future criminal activity.
By paying ransomware, you could be inadvertently putting fuel on the fire. Criminals with access to better assets and resources will only create more advanced cyberattacks, allowing them to obtain more data and generate more profits.
Remember: Don’t Pay Ransomware Settlements
Ransomware settlements might seem like the simple solution for retrieving important data assets, but giving in to the demands of malicious criminals will only embolden them. Even if data is returned, your attackers will likely come back to target your company whenever it suits them.
Once data has been compromised, it’s impossible to secure it once more. Rather than giving in to demands, businesses should work together to share important information after ransomware attacks.
Always remember to use good security practices and never pay ransomware settlements.
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