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The financial services sector, which is, as Willie Sutton famously remarked, where the money is.

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It's estimated that 90 percent of financial institutions were targeted by a ransomware attack in Your anti-malware software won't necessarily protect you. Ransomware is constantly being written and tweaked by its developers, and so its signatures are often not caught by typical anti-virus programs. In fact, as many as 75 percent of companies that fall victim to ransomware were running up-to-date endpoint protection on the infected machines. Ransomware isn't as prevalent as it used to be. If you want a bit of good news, it's this: the number of ransomware attacks, after exploding in the mid '10s, has gone into a decline, though the initial numbers were high enough that it's still.

What's behind this big dip? In many ways it's an economic decision based on the cybercriminal's currency of choice: bitcoin. Extracting a ransom from a victim has always been hit or miss; they might not decide to pay, or even if they want to, they might not be familiar enough with bitcoin to figure out how to actually do so. As Kaspersky points out , the decline in ransomware has been matched by a rise in so-called cryptomining malware, which infects the victim computer and uses its computing power to create or mine, in cryptocurrency parlance bitcoin without the owner knowing.

This is a neat route to using someone else's resources to get bitcoin that bypasses most of the difficulties in scoring a ransom, and it has only gotten more attractive as a cyberattack as the price of bitcoin spiked in late That doesn't mean the threat is over, however. Barkly explains that there are two different kinds of ransomware attackers : "commodity" attacks that try to infect computers indiscriminately by sheer volume and include so-called "ransomware as a service" platforms that criminals can rent; and targeted groups that focus on particularly vulnerable market segments and organizations.

You should be on guard if you're in the latter category, no matter if the big ransomware boom has passed. With the price of bitcoin dropping over the course of , the cost-benefit analysis for attackers might shift back. Ultimately, using ransomware or cryptomining malware is a business decision for attackers, says Steve Grobman, chief technology officer at McAfee.

If your system has been infected with malware, and you've lost vital data that you can't restore from backup, should you pay the ransom? When speaking theoretically, most law enforcement agencies urge you not to pay ransomware attackers, on the logic that doing so only encourages hackers to create more ransomware.

That said, many organizations that find themselves afflicted by malware quickly stop thinking in terms of the "greater good" and start doing a cost-benefit analysis , weighing the price of the ransom against the value of the encrypted data. According to research from Trend Micro, while 66 percent of companies say they would never pay a ransom as a point of principle, in practice 65 percent actually do pay the ransom when they get hit.

Some particularly sophisticated malware will detect the country where the infected computer is running and adjust the ransom to match that nation's economy, demanding more from companies in rich countries and less from those in poor regions. There are often discounts offered for acting fast, so as to encourage victims to pay quickly before thinking too much about it. In general, the price point is set so that it's high enough to be worth the criminal's while, but low enough that it's often cheaper than what the victim would have to pay to restore their computer or reconstruct the lost data.

With that in mind, some companies are beginning to build the potential need to pay ransom into their security plans: for instance, some large UK companies who are otherwise uninvolved with cryptocurrency are holding some Bitcoin in reserve specifically for ransom payments.

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There are a couple of tricky things to remember here, keeping in mind that the people you're dealing with are, of course, criminals. First, what looks like ransomware may not have actually encrypted your data at all; make sure you aren't dealing with so-called " scareware " before you send any money to anybody.

And second, paying the attackers doesn't guarantee that you'll get your files back.


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Sometimes the criminals just take the money and run, and may not have even built decryption functionality into the malware. But any such malware will quickly get a reputation and won't generate revenue, so in most cases — Gary Sockrider, principal security technologist at Arbor Networks, estimates around 65 to 70 percent of the time — the crooks come through and your data is restored.

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While ransomware has technically been around since the '90s, it's only in the past five years or so that it's really taken off, largely because of the availability of untraceable payment methods like Bitcoin. Some of the worst offenders have been :. And this list is just going to get longer. Even as this article was being put together, a new wave of ransomware, dubbed BadRabbit , spread across media companies in Eastern Europe and Asia.

Adventures in the Ransom Trade

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  6. Sign Out Sign In Register. Latest Insider. Check out the latest Insider stories here. More from the IDG Network. The year ransomware became one of the top threats to enterprises. Would killing Bitcoin end ransomware? CryptoLocker's success will fuel future copycats. The history of ransomware. Today's top stories 10 ways to kill your security career Can Security Onion replace your What you need to know about the new What is the dark web? How to access it How a bank got hacked a study in how Why you should consider your managed The 18 biggest data breaches of the Show More.

    How ransomware works There are a number of vectors ransomware can take to access a computer. Who is a target for ransomware? How to prevent ransomware There are a number of defensive steps you can take to prevent ransomware infection. That won't stop a malware attack, but it can make the damage caused by one much less significant. Ransomware removal If your computer has been infected with ransomware, you'll need to regain control of your machine.

    Related: Ransomware Malware Security. Josh Fruhlinger is a writer and editor who lives in Los Angeles. He informs the kidnapper, who is shown watching the broadcast, that he is as close to the money as he will ever be. Instead of paying the ransom, Stannard announces that he will offer the money as a reward to anyone who turns in the kidnapper if Andy is killed.

    To pay or not to pay ransomware: A cost-benefit analysis of paying the ransom

    Only Telfer and Backett are sympathetic with Stannard's decision, but even Backett is worried because it appears as if he officially advised Stannard to refuse the ransom. He eventually demands a letter from Stannard absolving him of any responsibility for the decision. When Edith discovers what her husband did, she bolts for the front door, in an attempt to reverse the decision by speaking to the press gathered outside her home. She is restrained, and Al decides to remove her from the home. Stannard is all alone when Backett enters the next morning, with the press in tow.

    He asks Stannard to identify a T-shirt that was discovered behind a seat in a stolen car. It is Andy's shirt, and it has visible blood stains on it. After ten years, he directs that the money be dedicated to another family in a similar circumstance. Abandoned by everyone but his butler, Stannard goes out to the backyard and sits beside the fort that Andy was building with his friends. He breaks down weeping at the sight of it, but suddenly, Andy appears. Stannard is overjoyed to see him. He asks where he got his new shirt, and Andy explains that they gave him a new one when he bit the nurse who bled all over his T-shirt.

    The film ends with all three Stannards reunited in an embrace as the butler thanks God. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. For other uses, see Ransom disambiguation. Theatrical release poster. Partridge Alexander Scourby as Dr. Categories : films English-language films s crime drama films American films American crime drama films Directorial debut films Films about child abduction Films based on television plays Films directed by Alex Segal Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer films Films with screenplays by Richard Maibaum Films with screenplays by Cyril Hume.

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