Poll: Would you pay a 'ransomware' demand?

Victims in the WannaCry attack were told to hand over up to $600 to regain access to computer files.

By Conor McMahon Deputy editor, Fora

IN THE WAKE of a major cyberattack last week, companies have been urged to wise up to the dangers of so-called  ’ransomware’.

Ransomware is a type of malicious software that infects computer systems, making them inaccessible to users until a sum of money is paid.

In the case of last Friday’s WannaCry attack – named after the harmful worm used to infect computers – victims were told to pay between $300 and $600 if they wanted to regain access to their files.

Officials always advise against the payment of ransoms to cybercriminals – even if it means that important data could be permanently destroyed.

‘No More Ransom’ – an online tool developed by EU policing agency Europol – says on its website that complying with cybercriminals “does not guarantee a solution to the problem”.

It adds that paying a ransom proves that ransomware is an effective way to extort money: “As a result, cybercriminals will continue their activity and look for new ways to exploit systems that result in more infections and more money on their accounts.”

Despite the official advice, most business owners on the receiving end of such an attack have paid a ransom to regain access to their computer systems.

A recent survey of 600 business leaders by IBM Security found that seven in 10 companies have handed over a ransom to cybercriminals.

The same survey found that execs would be willing to pay tens of thousands of dollars to recover particularly sensitive data such as financial records, customers records and business plans.

With that in mind, we’re asking Fora readers this week: Would you pay a ransomware demand?