Paying the ransom -Three ways to lose both your data and your money
Most industry experts, authorities and security vendors advise against paying the ransom when infected with ransomware, and there are several reasons for doing so. First, paying ransom encourages the ransomware phenomenon, and more and more cyber-criminals will attempt to profit in this way. It verifies the fact that money can be made out of this, easily. Then, money obtained from such activities usually finance far more dangerous underground markets and organizations, linked with drugs and weapons trafficking and terrorism.
The above reasons, however, may be considered weak, for a ransomware victim in acute need to access the lost data. It is a difficult decision to make: get your data back in exchange for payment, or do not get your data back, but align with the ethics. This is why many pay the ransom in spite of the general advice.
However, there is a better reason not to pay the ransom. Although cyber attackers claim that paying the ransom allows data recovery, it is not always the case.
There are many situations when victims have not recovered the data after having paid the ransom demanded by the attackers. Read more about them in our ransomware protection article.
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Thanks for the advice, I have heard of cases where ransom money had been lost and data had not been recovered, but had no idea that there is actually malware that is not designed to give any data back. Any idea how to identify such malware? Thanks!
Unfortunately, it is difficult to distinguish “legitimate” ransomware from ransomware scams. It takes reverse engineering and analysis to be able to identify such cases. However, if you take note of the encrypted file extension (if present) or the details in the ransom note, you can search online for information that helps you identify a particular family. Next, you can look up the ransomware family as usually researchers post details about each strain they analyze, including the ransomware scams.