FBI: Pay the Bitcoins, Ransomware is That Good - How to, Technology and PC Security Forum | SensorsTechForum.com
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FBI: Pay the Bitcoins, Ransomware is That Good

ransomware-file-encryptionOne of the tips on duty when dealing with a ransomware attack is not paying the amount, prevalently demanded in bitcoins. This tip has been around ever since ransomware attacks reached a peak in recent years.

Malware researchers usually advise on fighting the attack instead of nurturing it by giving cyber criminals what they want – untraceable online money.

What goes wrong with alternative currencies like bitcoin is that they can easily be exploited for malicious purposes. And they are! Bitcoin particularly has always been surrounded by a shred of mystery. To this day, the identity of the individual (or group of individuals) who fathered the first decentralized digital currency – Satoshi Nakamoto – remains unknown. A coincidence?

In many cases the decision to pay the bitcoin ransom narrows down to the value of the encrypted information. The question that an attacked organization (e.g. a police department) or a single individual usually faces is fairly simple:

Is the encrypted data worth more or less than the demanded ransom?

Since ransomware has become quite sophisticated over the past few years, many victims choose to pay rather than fight back. On top of everything, another problem that enterprises encounter is testing their restore and backup solutions prior to becoming targets. Backup system investments often go down the drain. Yet, malware researchers and security experts eminently advise against giving cyber crooks what they seek.

We were definitely startled by a statement given by Joseph Bonavolonta, an assistant special agent with the FBI. He recently spoke at the Cyber Security Summit 2015 in Boston, MA. This is what he said, as first quoted by SC magazine:

“To be honest, we often advise people just to pay the ransom”, adding that “The ransomware is that good.”

His statement is easily explained by the fact that the Bureau’s efforts to defeat army level encryption by CryptoLocker, Cryptowall and their multiple versions remain fruitless.

Lastly, what Joseph Bonavolonta and other specialists have observed is quite peculiar: having so many victims willing to pay the ransom has driven the price down.

Companies to Embrace Malware Prevention and Security Education

While the FBI and other legal authorities fail to succeed, companies shouldn’t leave their fates in the hands of malware authors. It is only crucial that big, middle-sized and even small enterprises focus on cyber security trainings.

Best cyber security practices should be systemized and should be a tabletop book for both employees and employers. In the end, what Stu Sjouwerman, CEO at KnowBe4, told SC Magazine is rather coherent and should be kept in mind:

“Rewarding the bad guys for bad behavior will only reinforce bad behavior.”

References

FBI recommends that victims of ransomware pay up [SCMagazie]

Hackers are trying to create an untraceable financial system [Quartz]

Ransomware- Pay It or Fight It [NetworkWorld]

Milena Dimitrova

Milena Dimitrova

An inspired writer and content manager who has been with SensorsTechForum since the beginning. Focused on user privacy and malware development, she strongly believes in a world where cybersecurity plays a central role. If common sense makes no sense, she will be there to take notes. Those notes may later turn into articles! Follow Milena @Milenyim

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