The ugly head of Ransomware, a type of malware, has been cropping up for quite some time. And, every time it has cropped up, it has meant doom for the victims. Cryptolocker and Teslacrypt are two of the most prevalent ransomware families that have conned people into believing that enforcement agencies such as the FBI has apparently found objectionable content on your device and therefore has locked it down. Of course there’s a way you could unlock the device – pay up a ransom!
This is the modus operandi that ransomware uses and most people who fall victim easily give in to this demand fearing that they may be exposed or simply to do away with the hassles of getting the device decrypted (ransomware encrypts the device).
While all this time, every law enforcement agency was advising people against paying up, as they believed it would only boost the confidence of the cyber crooks, it is now that agencies such as the FBI is recommending people to pay up the ransom and get away. The entire decryption process is not only hassling, it is expensive as well.
As per Joseph Bonavolonta, Assistant Special Agent in charge of the FBI’s Boston office, “The amount of money made by these criminals is enormous and that’s because the overwhelming majority of institutions just pay the ransom … To be honest, we often advise people just to pay the ransom.”
To justify this, the FBI has shared the below advantages that one can enjoy by paying up the ransom as opposed to looking for options elsewhere:
- The Bitcoin payment that the ransomware designers demand is typically just a few hundred bucks (around $200) whereas decryption can cost you anything between $500 and $1000.
- It is simpler to just pay up than look for reliable decryption services.
- Cyber crooks almost always release a device and content soon after the ransom is paid; the time taken for completing a decryption process is generally longer.
However, having said this, it is also important to note that there is no surety that once you have recovered your device, the cyber crooks won’t ever try to take over it again. Also, while presently they have always let go off a device and its content after the money is received, there’s no guarantee that this will always be the case. The crooks may just take the money and vanish and leave your device useless as there’s a great deal of anonymity available with Bitcoins.
There’s a difference in opinion among the different agencies about whether to or not to pay the ransom; however, they are unanimous about getting the incident reported. Every agency urges users to report the incident with the respective authorities as this is the only way to combat this malware.