McAfee Warns: Paying Ransom Makes You Hackers’ Preferred Target

The security company McAfee Labs said that while cyber attacks are constantly increasing, meeting hackers’ demands is not a guarantee they won’t hit you again. On the contrary, the experts claim that paying the ransom and not alerting the cyber security authorities will make you hackers’ preferred target.

According to statistics, the enterprises nowadays face approximately 244 new cyber threats per minute.

“We saw new ransomware samples increase 80 per cent since the beginning of 2016. The attacks have been a wake-up call which has also forced executives to deliberate the question of whether they should pay ransom or not,” Anand Ramamoorthy, a Managing Director of McAfee for South Asia, said.

“Meeting hackers’ demands will not necessarily guarantee compliance from the hackers. In many cases, the likelihood of receiving decryption keys is almost nil. What is certain, however, is that victims who pay will be recognised as willing to pay, making them a preferred target in the future,” Ramamoorthy continued.

The security expert said that ten years ago, McAfee used to see 25 threats a day, while at present, it sees about 500,000 daily.

McAfee cybersecurity provides a real-time way to unite data and actions across multiple applications from different vendors, as well as to internally developed applications to deal with threats that are becoming more complex, targeted and customized.

“In 2016, ‘Locky’ ransomware infected millions of users worldwide, primarily through malicious attachments in spam emails. To become more agile, the malware changed what extension is appended to encrypted files and utilised the ‘.locky’, ‘.zepto’, and ‘.odin’ extensions across unique instances,” Anand Ramamoorthy stated.

“Fast forward to 2017 and ransomware is back on the scene — equipped with two variants that leverage either the ‘.Diablo6’ or ‘.Lukitus‘ extension for encrypting files and are demanding a ransom of .49 Bitcoins (nearly $1,900 or Rs 1.2 lakh) for the decryption key to unlock the infected files,” Ramamoorthy added.

Ransomware is bringing Bitcoin into popular culture and raising awareness about cryptocurrencies. As the ability of the public to acquire digital currencies other than Bitcoin becomes easier, cybercriminals will look to these alternatives to Bitcoin not only for funding malicious activities but to also maintain anonymity.

Ramamoorthy also said that security considerations should be inherent by design and not a bolt on at a later stage.

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