FBI and CISA have been repeatedly urging companies to stop paying ransom, as it not only encourages crime but also doesn’t guarantee a decryption key. However, in some situations, when we fall prey to cyber criminals spreading file encrypting malware, the only option left will be to bow down to the demands of hackers. This is where the below mentioned tips might help in recovering from an incident safely, with no much media fuss!
Keep aside your emotions and negotiate with hackers. As soon as we discover hackers have targeted our database, we witness a burst of emotions in our mind. However, the time is not to feel so and instead keep the emotions aside and deal with a situation similar to that of a business transaction. Talk politely, negotiate with them on amount and never betray them, as it can backfire.
Say you cannot afford the ransom- Criminals will put forth a hefty sum as ransom for a decryption key. But security experts always urge victims to plead with the hackers for ransomware payment. One can also consider the first demand as a starting price and put forward a request of half the amount as ransom. Going forward, you can gradually increase the amount as the communication with hackers matures a bit. Offering a small token amount as an initial deposit will also make the victim win the trust of hackers.
Pleading for time- Usually, those spreading ransomware ask for a ransom within a stipulated time frame of 2 to 6 days. But if the victim pleads with them for more time, they can budge depending on the trust they have in the victim. So, asking for more time at this juncture makes more sense, as it gives us enough time to plan for the future.
Ask for any proof of data steal- In most cases, hackers first steal data and then encrypt the database of the victim. And if the victim asks for a data claim, they can show the stolen information as proof to prove that the server has been compromised in real.
Seeking professional help like hiring a cybersecurity professional to come out of the situation also helps. As a professional negotiator can make the criminals understand your current financial circumstances and may help in striking an excellent deal.
Do not betray- Never turn your back on a deal made with hackers as they can launch double or triple attacks on the same target and evidence is out that they try to gain access into the database through a vulnerability or configuration error previously known to them. A hacker doesn’t have much to lose if the deal breaks. But a victim’s image in the business field can be tarnished easily and customers can sue him, once the hacking information leaks out to the public.
The idea in negotiating a ransomware payment is to cut down the demand of the hacker to half, but not to outsmart them. Keeping up an efficient back-up of data on hand will also act as an efficient disaster recovery plan.