Ransomware is scary. It’s a computer virus you’d want to stay away from. If your computer isn’t protected, it’s going to be pretty hard to stay away from it.
Sad to say, the most common remedy to this particular virus is to pay an exorbitant fee to get back your data. That’s ridiculous! Why should you have to pay for your very own data?
Unfortunately, that’s the way it goes. Once your computer is infected by ransomware, everything in it is held hostage. If you think that’s totally surreal and it can’t happen to you, well, think again.
Every 14 seconds, a new business is targeted by ransomware — a virus that holds its software systems or data hostage until a ransom is paid for their safe return.
The last thing your business needs is to be in the mercy of hackers. You simply cannot afford to have all your confidential data turned over to a bunch of crooks.
If your computers have not been infected by ransomware, then good for you. However, that does not mean that you’re going to be spared from it at all times. Your computers can still get infected. You just don’t know when.
It’s just very unfortunate that businesses have to pay to get back their data. They don’t really have much of a choice, do they?
Once businesses are hit, they have 2 options: Pay hackers to return the data, or pay ransom-busting startups to recover it.
Even if you don’t resort to paying the hacker, you’re bound to spend a lot as well.
But, according to a new ProPublica report, those 2 options are often the same: Most “high-tech” data recovery startups merely pay the hackers behind the scenes — and then pocket the extra fees.
While ransomware recovery companies offer a valuable service to help you in times of trouble, you would still have to pay. In most cases, you would have to pay a lot.
The business model is simple: Ransomware recovery companies charge their clients fees that are far higher than the ransom amounts, so they make money no matter what.
Some firms are upfront about the fact that they negotiate with hackers — sharing data with law enforcement agencies and security researchers to prevent future thefts — but most intentionally obscure their payouts.
It’s hard to tell how ransomware recovery companies go about their business. The thing is, their service is useless if they just end up paying the hackers. Why hire a company to do that when you could do it yourself, right? Besides, paying the hackers will only pave way to more cases of ransomware.
But paying ransoms perpetuates the extortion industry: Cyberattackers who routinely collect $6m or more from secretive “data recovery” companies have every incentive to continue ransoming their way to riches.
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