Being attacked by a ransomware virus can be a terrifying experience for both private citizens and business owners. The threat of losing years’ worth of data and personal info means most victims pay up quickly to once again gain access to their files. And that’s exactly what the FBI is telling people not to do.
According to Forbes, although ransomware attacks are a growing epidemic, causing $209 million in damages in the first three months of 2016 alone, victims should only give in to the financial demands of a cybercriminal once all other avenues have been exhausted.
Not only is it difficult for a victim to put off payment — especially since many ransomware threats come with a time limit before your data is stolen or deleted permanently — but finding the perpetrators is not easy. Ransomware attackers almost always ask for payment in Bitcoin, a cryptocurrency that is incredibly difficult to track. In addition, most attacks are carried out on smaller companies or individuals, with a small monetary demand. Instead of investing big money for the resources needed to track down these criminals, law enforcement uses weaker, open source technologies to deal with small-case heists.
The rise in attacks could be attributed to the fact that the most common form of malicious coding, which infiltrates a network and encrypts data to block access to files, is so easy to obtain, costing as little as $100 in the deep web.
According to cybersecurity at the FBI, there are ways to combat this kind of attack from happening or doing a lot of damage. Backup all important files and make sure those copies aren’t connected to the same network. And, of course, implement all security measures available, including anti-malware and internet security software, ensuring all programs are up-to-date and running constantly.