Baltimore was attacked by a ransomware strain known as RobinHood, and hackers requested $100,000 in exchange for the digital keys that would restore the city’s systems and access to data.
Even if Baltimore has so far refused to pay the ransom. It’s being forced to make a decision that all ransomware victims have to face: to act morally or practically.
Cybersecurity researchers say that ransomware has set a new stage for a great debate: to pay or not to pay — that is the question! Paying ransom depends on many factors. Before making a decision, victims must know that it’s vital to examine every aspect. Do not act fast and pay and do not act fast morally and say no. Don’t pay the ransom because it only serves to reinforce hackers behavior. But practically, many people believe that paying a ransom is the right move. Because the costs of paying the ransom are much smaller than the costs associated with not paying it. For example, the government of Atlanta refused to pay $50,000 and ended up paying an estimated $17 million to recover from the cyber attack.
Remember everything can be hacked. In order to stay away from any threats related to the cyber world, we recommend the install of antivirus for Windows or antivirus for Mac on every device that you own, depending on which OS your device is running. If you are a company, it is also recommended to hire every year a specialized cybersecurity company that will run annual tests on your company’s network. These tests include penetration testing and ethical hacking tests;
Unfortunately, Baltimore is still experiencing disruption. Email remains down. Real estate transactions have been disrupted. Online bill payment systems have not recovered. Negative effects can also be seen it the unavailability or the degradation of services. For example, critical services such as emergency medical services, police, fire, and 311 are still operational in the city. However, the quality of services has not — 911 alerts are now occurring via pagers.
Paying, of course, involves the risk of getting tricked and receive nothing. However, questions must be asked: What is the cost of disruption? How much has been paid to third-party consultants to restore systems? And how do these costs compare with the costs had the city paid the ransom initially?
On the moral side paying the ransom is not good because it reinforces bad behavior. However, the practical aspect of ransomware is that the cost of not paying the ransom is materially greater than the cost of paying it and everyone should take a second judge.
We would continue to monitor this cybersecurity problem. Meanwhile, users should keep a keen eye out for any cyber attacks. Remember to use an antivirus for Windows or antivirus for Mac in every device that you own, depending on which OS your machine is running, If you are a company we recommend to hire every year a specialized cybersecurity company that will run annual tests on your company’s network, tests like this include: penetration testing and ethical hacking.