Uzletresz.hu writes that Hungarian companies seem to have paid more than 1.5 million euros (HUF 500 million) ransom to developers of ransomwares, that is, blackmailing viruses in the past two years.
According to an American research, companies are more inclined to pay to blackmailers than private persons. Based on the experience of G Data, an antivirus software creator, the blackmailed Hungarian firms paid averagely a ransom of almost 600 euros (180 thousand HUF) when their data got encrypted.
After the payment nearly 70% of the firms did indeed receive the key necessary for restoring the files, but complete recovery of files was hardly ever carried out. The estimation of G Data says that the domestic firms might have transferred approximately 1.5 million EUR (500 million HUF) to criminals in order to get back their encrypted docs.
However, paying the ransom did not actually guarantee the receiving of a key; in about one third of the cases the companies had no use in giving the money. Moreover, receiving the key did not guarantee the recovery of the files either; even when they paid, only 60-70% of the original files were restored.
Ransomwares are of the most dangerous malwares, because they encrypt files and close off the computers from their users. In many cases there are no ways for decoding, so the users loose their data forever.
One of the essentials of defence is the use of licensed and updated antivirus software, which then protects the computer, including the OS X operation system. Furthermore, users should NOT open any attachments from unknown senders, not even when they seem especially interesting.
The site also writes that, according to a research by IBM, companies in the US are paying a lot more than in Hungary. Half of the American companies that fulfilled the demands of the blackmailers had 10 thousand USD (9.4 thousand EUR/2.9 million HUF) less bitcoin after the malware; whereas 20% of them could say goodbye to more than 40 thousand USD (37.6 thousand EUR/11.6 million HUF).
The research was carried out by asking 600 business leaders and 1000 private persons. The results show that half of the companies had so far encountered ransomware attacks and 70% of them paid to get their files recovered. This strong tendency to pay may be explained by the valuable data, the loss of which could seriously damage businesses.
Private persons, however, are not particularly inclined to pay such amounts of money, they rather lose their docs and photos. Currently, spreading ransomwares is one of the most popular tools of cyber-criminals to get money. Considering the calculations of FBI, it has become an industry of 1 billion USD (950 million EUR/almost 300 billion HUF) profit per year.
The experts of G Data, similarly to other antivirus companies, suggest that, instead of paying ransoms, users should proactively ensure saving their files continuously. Also, they highlight that, by giving the demanded money, the victims support the criminals, which empowers them in developing further encrypting malwares.
Copy editor: bm