This is a question that, sadly, many people have to make as recent history, as well as multiple research papers, have shown that the chances of getting hit by a cyber-attack are high.
While there are various types of hackers, most are money-driven and seek ways to monetize by exploiting different loopholes. It is a common myth that hackers only target large organizations and wealthy individuals.
The Risks of Paying a Ransom
Cybercriminals indeed are money-driven, but often, large organizations and persons with more resources are also more prepared to deal with attacks. The more people have to lose, the better security they have.
However, ordinary people also get hit by hackers, but such news rarely get covered by the media. In many cases, individuals are too embarrassed or scared even to report the incident to the authorities.
Cybercriminals prefer organizations and individuals with large pockets, but this is not their favorite way to pick a target – what they like the most is easy access. The less prepared victims are, the more attractive they are to hackers. And sadly, once infected, things can go sideways pretty quickly.
Why do hackers use ransomware?
Often, people and organizations which had fallen under a cyber-attack have to decide whether paying a ransom is worth it.
Ransom-as-a-Service (RaaS) organizations claim that they have made it easy for victims to eliminate the malicious code and sweep the problem under the rug by simply paying the ransom. And many individuals and businesses fall down the rabbit hole pointed by the fraudsters.
However, what organizations often learn the hard way is that once cyber criminals see that their efforts are rewarded, they return for more. It often happens within the same month.
So, paying the ransom and going on with your day does not mean you are entirely off the hook.
What are the risks of paying a ransom?
It may be tempting to comply with the hackers’ demands, but getting hacked again is just one of many potential problems.
Often, criminals are located in countries sanctioned by the US government, and people paying a ransom may end up being in hot water for breaking international laws. Paying up a ransom is generally not illegal.
Still, government agencies strongly suggest businesses and individuals not to send money because this could land them in hot water with the government – the last thing North American organizations or individuals want is to be seen as sponsors of a terrorist organization located on the other side of the world.
Should you pay a ransom?
Law enforcement agencies also say that it is wrong to pay a ransom because this encourages the scammers to continue operating and look for other potential victims. As you can see, complying with fraudsters’ demands could have severe implications for you and your business. Consequences could be worse than having downtime or losing precious data.
How to protect yourself from ransomware attacks
Suppose you wish to decrease the chances of having to make such a difficult decision.
In that case, you must ensure that your personal and business systems and networks are well fortified against attacks.
Having the latest and greatest in the antivirus world is a must for the technology-driven life we are all living in the 21st century. Being prepared is always helpful.
If you are ready enough, you can handle the uncomfortable situation much more effortlessly, i.e., you can investigate where the problem is and then restore from a backup and patch the vulnerability.
The level of preparation needed varies by the size and type of items you want to protect, but generally, leaving cybersecurity on the backburner is not a wise decision, and such decisions eventually almost always come back to haunt you.