Cybercrime , Fraud Management & Cybercrime , Ransomware

Paying Ransoms: More Cons Than Pros

Gartner's Avivah Litan on Mitigating Ransomware Attack Risks
Paying Ransoms: More Cons Than Pros
Avivah Litan, vice president, Gartner Research

The March SamSam ransomware attack in Atlanta reportedly cost the city up to $17 million to resolve. The attackers had asked for a $51,000 bitcoin ransom, which the city refused to pay. But Gartner Research analyst Avivah Litan stresses that paying ransoms has more cons than pros.

"You should always try to avoid paying ransoms," Litan says in an interview with Information Security Media Group. "Some observers say up to 80 percent of the time when you'll make the payment, you won't even get your files back. A second reason: It just perpetuates the crime. The bad guys will keep doing it because they know they're going to get away with it."

While other forms of cyberattacks, such as cryptojacking, that involve malware are growing, Litan believes that ransomware attacks will persist as criminals adopt new strategies.

"Ransomware is not going down; the amount of attacks are actually on the way up."

In this interview (see audio link below photo), Litan also discusses:

  • The critical importance of not just backing up data, but testing restoration;
  • Resources for preventing and dealing with ransomware attacks;
  • Shifting patterns in ransomware and cryptojacking.

Litan is a vice president and distinguished analyst at Gartner Research. Her areas of expertise include endpoint security; security analytics for cybersecurity and fraud; user and entity behavioral analytics; insider threats; fraud detection and prevention; and identity proofing.

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