The choice of whether or not to pay a ransom is often a difficult one. But it is a decision that many executives are confronted with when cybercriminals compromise their business systems.
Despite cybersecurity professionals and law enforcement advice to avoid paying, many businesses still need to be forced to make a decision that will affect their data and operations. It is essential to consider all the risks involved before deciding to pay.
What is a Ransomware Settlement?
Ransomware is malicious software that locks or blocks access to computer systems and data until the victim pays a ransom in exchange for access. Cybercriminals often use it to extort money from businesses and individuals.
In some cases, companies can recover their data without paying a ransom, but the cost is much higher in others.
A company’s ability to recover data without ransom is critical in determining whether it can survive a ransomware attack. That’s why it’s essential to learn about the risks of running a business in this environment and how to protect against them.
An excellent way to do this is through a cyber security solution like Coveware, which combines aggregated ransomware case data, refined negotiating techniques, and sound financial and operational controls to achieve superior ransomware incident response and recovery. It also has a team of experienced negotiators who can assist with the process and ensure you pay only what is needed.
How Does a Ransomware Settlement Work?
Ransomware is a type of malware that encrypts data and then demands money to be paid to unlock it. It can be costly, and it can be a severe disruption to a company’s business.
One of the biggest problems with ransomware is that it’s tough to recover data once the attackers have it. For this reason, many companies choose to pay cybercriminals to get their data back.
But that doesn’t mean paying the ransom is always a good idea. It can be a significant mistake.
Besides wasting your time, money, and resources, ransom pay can also encourage hackers to attack again. This is because it provides them with additional funds, which they can use to run future attacks.
To help combat these threats some experts in the industry, like Fortinet, recommend implementing quality ransomware settlement services, which most incident response firms now offer. The trend has increased as threat actors have become more sophisticated and rely on multiple extortion layers.
According to Minder, the main goal of these services is to reduce or eliminate the initial ransom demand. This usually involves discussing the attack with the client and then negotiating the payment down to a level that’s affordable for them.
Negotiating ransomware payments is a complicated process that requires knowledge and experience. It also requires close coordination with the target’s IT staff and any insurance provider, if they have one.
What Are the Risks of a Ransomware Settlement?
Ransomware has come a long way since the days of “compromise target, encrypt data and demand payment.” But it is still a big problem. Cybercriminals have become more sophisticated, and the cost of a ransom has skyrocketed in recent years.
One of the most significant risks with ransomware settlements is that a company may pay for stolen data. For example, the attackers could have deleted or encrypted backups before launching the ransomware.
While it is possible to restore from a backup, it can be an expensive and time-consuming process. The company could also have to pay for forensic services to discover how the hackers got their hands on your data.
In addition, a ransomware attack can trigger regulatory investigations that result in fines or penalties. Depending on the type of information involved, it could also lead to civil litigation.
Moreover, HHS rules require covered entities to report any data breach. And a ransomware incident is considered a data breach because it constitutes an unauthorized disclosure of PHI, according to HHS.
This can cause severe issues for an organization. In addition to disrupting business operations, a ransomware investigation can be expensive and time-consuming. It can also expose vulnerable networks that have been exploited for years, putting executives at risk of having to answer questions about security.
What Are the Benefits of a Ransomware Settlement?
Ransomware attacks can be costly for the business. They can cause downtime, damage reputation, and even result in lawsuits from customers and consumers who lost their data.
While many companies still pay hackers to get their encrypted data back, this practice is discouraged by authorities and industry experts. One reason is that it encourages cybercriminals to continue targeting more companies.
Another reason to avoid paying a ransom is that it could be illegal. This is because some criminals are listed by the Department of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control, and paying them can violate federal law.
A company that has a strong record of protecting sensitive data should be able to avoid being hit by ransomware in the first place. They should also have a solid security strategy in place, such as multifactor authentication and regular data backups, according to Yuen Pin Yeap, CEO of NeuShield.
The best way to protect your company from a future ransomware attack is to have insurance. That way, you can use cyber insurance’s incident response services to help you with business downtime reimbursement, breach investigation, data recovery, and more.
Some cyber insurance policies even offer ransomware protection as an added benefit, so you can get your company back up and running faster if you end up paying a ransom to cybercriminals. However, you must be sure you’re getting the right policy for your needs.
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