Should You Pay Up?
The CEO Magazine Asia|May 2019

Alexandra Cain investigates whether or not you should negotiate with criminals in a ransomware attack.

Alexandra Cain

Cybercriminals are now demanding tens or even hundreds of thousands of Euros to give businesses access to their own information in increasingly sophisticated ransomware attacks.

As research by cybersecurity firm Sophos shows, the median cost of a ransomware attack is around €120,000 and can be as much as €5.8 million.

Due to the growing risk of this scenario, CEOs need to learn the best way for their businesses to negotiate with these criminals – or risk losing their company data or, in a worst-case scenario, the collapse of the company.

Sophos Regional Vice-President for Asia–Pacific and Japan Gavin Struthers says, in the past, ransoms were smaller, and a lot of organisations paid them because it was a low-cost way to get their data back. However, cybercrime, and the individuals behind it, has become much more sophisticated.

“Cybercriminals can’t be trusted because one, they are corrupt, and two, decryption doesn’t always work. You may only get some of your files back or even if they do give you a decryption key, they may still have access to your files, so they have the ability to come back,” he says.

Once a business has been infected by malware and criminals have demanded a ransom to return access to this data, the right way to handle the ransom demand depends on the type of attack and the attacker’s intent.

“Ransomware is one of the most lucrative and efficient attacks,” says Ty Miller, Managing Director of cybersecurity firm Threat Intelligence.

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