Here’s Why You NEVER Pay Up If You’re Infected With Ransomware….. 50% Of People Who Did Never Got Their Files Back

If you get infected with ransomware, you may be tempted to pay the ransom. I can understand why that would be your first instinct. But this study should make you think twice about that and take steps to protect yourself:

A massive survey of nearly 1,200 IT security practitioners and decision makers across 17 countries reveals that half the people who fell victim to ransomware infections last year were able to recover their files after paying the ransom demand. The survey, carried out by research and marketing firm CyberEdge Group, reveals that paying the ransom demand, even if for desperate reasons, does not guarantee that victims will regain access to their files. Timely backups are still the most efficient defense against possible ransomware infections, as it allows easy recovery. The survey reveals that 55% of all responders suffered a ransomware infection in 2017, compared to the previous year’s study, when 61% experienced similar incidents. Of all the victims who suffered ransomware infections, CyberEdge discovered that 61.3% opted not to pay the ransom at all. Some lost files for good (8%), while the rest (53.3%) managed to recover files, either from backups or by using ransomware decrypter applications. Of the 38.7% who opted to pay the ransom, a little less than half (19.1%) recovered their files using the tools provided by the ransomware authors.

So, it’s a coin flip as to if you get your data back once you pay the ransom. Which means that you shouldn’t pay the ransom. Instead you need to take steps to ensure that you can deal with a ransomware attack without having to go to the scumbags who did it.

  1. Back up your data. This is something I keep saying and this is why you should do it. With a back up you simply wipe the computer clean, restore the data and go back to work. For bonus points, you should keep a copy of your data off-site as in the cloud or in a safety deposit box.
  2. Keep your OS and other software up to date. The reason being that ransomware is often spread through exploits that have not been patched. Thus keeping your OS and software up to date is a great defense mechanism.
  3. Run antivirus software. While that comes from the file marked “duh”, you’d be surprised how often I see PC users in this day and age who don’t. And there are Mac users who still think that they aren’t affected by viruses. The fact is that everyone needs antivirus software. And I do mean EVERYONE.

So what happens if you do none of this and you get pwned by ransomware? Well, the first thing you shouldn’t do is pay up. Instead the first thing to do is disconnect your computer from the network so it does not infect other computers on your local network or on the Internet. Then report the crime to law enforcement. Finally, seek help from a technology professional who specializes in data recovery to see what your options might be in terms of recovering those files. Antivirus companies will often release file decryption software to recover files. And there are other ways of getting your files back if the ransomware in question is well known and well studied. But the best deference to ransomware is to do the three steps above. Then you don’t have to worry if you get hit by it.


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