The Teamsters Union Shows How To Deal With A Ransomware Attack. Don’t Pay The Attackers…

NBC reports that the Teamsters labor union was hit by a ransomware attack demanding $2.5 million back in 2019. But unlike a lot of companies out there, they decided to tell the scumbags behind the attack to take a hike and not pay them. This despite the FBI at the time telling them to pay up:

Personal information for the millions of active and retired members was never compromised, according to a Teamsters spokesperson, who also said that only one of the union’s two email systems was frozen along with other data. Teamsters officials alerted the FBI and asked for help in identifying the source of the attack. They were told that many similar hacks were happening and that the FBI would not be able to assist in pursuing the culprit. 

The FBI advised the Teamsters to “just pay it,” the first source said. “They said ‘this is happening all over D.C. … and we’re not doing anything about it,'” a second source said.

Union officials in Washington were divided over whether to pay the ransom — going so far as to bargain the number down to $1.1 million, according to the sources — but eventually sided with their insurance company, which urged them not to pony up… The Teamsters decided to rebuild their systems, and 99 percent of their data has been restored from archival material — some of it from hard copies — according to the union’s spokesperson.

The FBI’s communications office did not reply to repeated requests for comment. The FBI’s stance is to discourage ransomware payments.

Clearly the Teamsters are made of tougher stuff than most. They were willing to rebuild everything rather than pay up. And I applaud them for that. This should be a case study for every other company out there of what to do when you get attacked by ransomware. If more companies do what the Teamsters did, the scumbags behind ransomware attacks would be out of business tomorrow.

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