To pay or not to pay – the rise of ransomware in 2021

A recent spate of ransomware attacks has brought into sharp relief the critical question – to pay or not to pay. With some notable but limited exceptions, traditional advice from law enforcement and cyber experts has always largely been don't pay the ransom.  Get your IT forensics people involved as quickly as possible and see what they can do to recover your data.  Better still ensure you have appropriate data backup services in place to begin with to mitigate and reduce the risk of any data loss occurring.

This is good advice and has been broadly adopted by a majority of organisations affected by ransomware attacks…. that is until now.   2020 and the early part of 2021 has seen an increasing number of ransomware attacks where the victim chooses to pay the ransom. It is not always clear whether the victim successfully recovers its data in these cases or not following the payment. Many of our clients affected by breach events are now asking the question also.  Is this something we should be doing?  Should we be dealing directly with the threat actor?  Will we be able to get our data back more quickly if we pay?

With this trend increasing we thought it would be helpful to consider the options, the pros, the cons and whether we should be adopting a new approach to dealing with ransomware requests.

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