It has happened to you. You turned on your computer only to find that it has Ransomware. Your files are locked, there is a timer, and thieves are demanding payment. Should you pay them? This is a difficult question. The ransom can be expensive, and if you don’t know what Bitcoin is, the preferred payment method, where do you begin the process. You also have to weigh whether or not you will get your data back if you pay. So what should you do?

Don’t Pay – According to Some Experts

McAfee fellow Raj Samani says don’t pay. That may seem like an easy thing to say when your files aren’t being held, but it is solid advice. The US government does not negotiate with terrorists, and you shouldn’t either. By paying the ransom, it will encourage the behavior.

Ransomware has become so successful in recent years that hackers have prepared and sell ransomware kits. These turnkey solutions give anyone the ability to launch attacks with the little technical experience needed.

But what if you are a city or healthcare facility that has been attacked? In 2017, ransomware affected 16 hospitals. These entities had little choice but to pay because the cost of not paying was far greater than the price of the ransom. It is a grey area, but the victim will need to weigh the value of the data against the cost of the ransom.

And If You Pay?

Experts may disagree on whether or not to pay but consider this. What happens if you pay the ransom, and you are not given access to your data, or the key doesn’t work. There is little recourse in this scenario. Thieves prefer digital currency payments since they are untraceable, and once it’s gone, it’s gone.

Some security firms state that if a victim pays, they will potentially open themselves up for more attacks in the future. The victim will get placed on a list of people willing to pay. If you do pay and get your files back, you need to have your computer looked at ASAP. Have any malware removed and step up the security.

What If You Don’t Pay?

There are several things to do if you choose not to pay, and if you prepare correctly, you shouldn’t have to. Firstly, update your computer when they come out. Turn on and update the antivirus installed on the computer. McAfee has launched a project with several law enforcement agencies and about 100 government and corporate partners to help recover files. No More Ransom is also free to use, but not guaranteed.

The best solution to put you in a position to tell the thieves to shove it is to have a separate backup of your data. Whether local or cloud base, your files will be safe from their hands. Once you get your computer cleaned up, everything can be pulled down from the cloud.

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