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What’s the best way to pay your ransomware demand? (Hint!)…There isn’t one.

By Evette Chauvineau

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March 20, 2024

Imagine this scenario: Your business falls victim to a ransomware attack, and suddenly your crucial data is held hostage by cyber criminals who demand a hefty ransom for its release. 

The catch? Similar to those tempting "buy now, pay later" deals, some ransomware groups are now offering victims payment extension options. Recent studies uncover that these groups are getting inventive with their extortion tactics. One group, for instance, presents victims with a choice: pay a fee to delay the exposure of their stolen data, typically around $10,000, or pay to have the data permanently deleted before it's made public. The specific amounts are often negotiated with the victims, adding a disturbing layer to the ordeal. 

To intensify the pressure, these ransomware gangs have incorporated alarming features into their websites. These include countdown timers indicating the time left before data release, view counters, and tags revealing the victim's identity and description. These tactics are all aimed at cornering victims and compelling them to comply with the demands. 

Ken Zang, Systems Engineer at Virtuoso New Zealand, emphasises the importance of educating clients about ransomware.

"By conducting simulated ransomware exercises, we empower staff to recognise and respond to threats effectively. This proactive approach not only enhances security measures but also safeguards valuable business data against cyber threats.


While paying the ransom might seem like a quick fix to protect your business data, it's not a wise move. Here's why:
 

  • Payment doesn't guarantee the return of your data or prevent future demands for more money. 
  • By paying, you're essentially funding criminal activities, incentivizing further attacks. 
  • Paying ransom could even land you in legal trouble, as some governments prohibit transactions with cyber criminals. 

So, how can you shield your business from falling prey to ransomware? 

  • Regularly back up your data securely to avoid being at the mercy of cyber criminals. 
  • Educate your staff about ransomware risks and train them to spot phishing emails and suspicious links. 
  • Invest in robust cybersecurity software and keep it updated. 
  • Ensure your systems and software are always up to date with the latest security patches. 
  • Segment your network to contain the spread of ransomware in case of infection. 
  • Develop a clear incident response plan to know what steps to take if hit by ransomware.  

Paying ransom seldom leads to positive outcomes, and businesses that do pay often become repeat targets. Instead, focus on proactive measures like those mentioned above to bolster your security.  

At Virtuoso, we're dedicated to empowering you with modern ways of working, aligning your technology investments with your business objectives, building you a tech stack that becomes a competitive advantage, and driving real security changes for your business. 

 Give us a call today! We’d be happy to discuss your unique requirements and share how we may be able to help.