A South Korean firm recently agreed to pay a $1m ransom to unlock computers frozen by hackers. This can spur debate around the implications of paying ransom – which for instance could encourage more cybercriminals to spread ransomware. Rob Norris, VP Head of Enterprise & Cyber Security EMEIA at Fujitsu, responded to the news:
“The news that South Korean web-hosting firm Nayana has agreed to pay a $1m ransom to unlock computers frozen by hackers is stirring a new narrative around whether we should be giving in to hackers. While industry experts have been preaching against this, companies are ultimately left facing the prospect of irreversibly losing valuable data, or paying a certain, often excruciating, amount of money to save their businesses.
“Paying ransomware encourages the lucrative side of malicious cyber activity, which subsequently attracts more actors willing to engage for their personal gain. The truth is that many organisations probably don’t see themselves as ‘high value targets’ for attackers and it’s likely that they have very minimal protection or staff training and awareness. However, for many malicious actors finding vulnerabilities is their bread and butter, and they will look to hold organisations to ransom through a ‘soft attack’ that compromises its data.
“Organisations should ensure they have good backups if they are infected. They must take a proactive and intelligence driven approach to security, by monitoring phishing campaigns which evade their mail gateway controls for example. Backups, risk analysis, staff training and further practical advice such as application whitelisting and incident response will ensure the risks associated with ransomware are as low as possible.
“With this knowledge there is no excuse not to be prepared. Cyber criminals are entrepreneurial, well-sourced and motivated, and we shouldn’t be repaying their efforts in hefty amounts of ransom.”