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Picture this: Your business gets hit by a ransomware attack, and your valuable data is locked away by cyber criminals 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 to delay the publication of their stolen data, with a standard fee of $10,000… or paying to have their stolen data deleted before it’s made public. The exact amounts charged are often negotiated with victims, adding a chilling dimension to the whole ordeal.

To increase the pressure on victims, these ransomware groups have 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. It’s all designed to make victims feel cornered and more likely to give in to the demands.

You might be tempted to pay that ransom to protect your business data. Not so fast. Paying is always a bad idea and here’s why…

Paying doesn’t guarantee data recovery or prevention of future demands

First and foremost, paying the ransom does not guarantee that you’ll get your data back. Cyber criminals are not known for their trustworthiness, and there have been numerous cases where victims paid the ransom only to be left empty-handed. Additionally, paying the ransom may encourage the criminals to demand more money in the future, as they see your willingness to comply.

Paying funds criminal activities and encourages further attacks

By paying the ransom, you are essentially funding criminal activities. This money may be used to develop more sophisticated ransomware or to target other businesses. It creates a vicious cycle where paying victims inadvertently support the growth of ransomware attacks.

Paying may lead to legal trouble

Some governments have made it illegal to pay cyber criminals. By paying the ransom, you could potentially find yourself in legal trouble. It is important to consult with legal experts and law enforcement agencies to understand the legal implications of paying ransomware demands.

Protecting your business from ransomware

Instead of paying the ransom, there are proactive measures you can take to safeguard your business:

  1. Ensure you have regular, secure backups of your data. This way, you won’t be at the mercy of cyber criminals.
  2. Educate your staff about the risks of ransomware and train them to recognize phishing emails and suspicious links.
  3. Invest in robust cyber security software and keep it up to date.
  4. Keep your systems and software updated with the latest security patches.
  5. Segment your network to limit the spread of ransomware if one device gets infected.
  6. Develop a clear incident response plan, so you know exactly what to do if you’re ever hit by a ransomware attack.

Paying cyber criminals rarely makes things better, and we’re seeing businesses that do pay become targets time and time again. Instead, invest in the proactive measures above to help you stay secure. If you need assistance with implementing these measures, feel free to get in touch with us.

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