Ransomware: should you cough up the cash?

When you become the victim of ransomware, cyber criminals encrypt your documents and data and hold it to ‘ransom’, demanding a fee in exchange for unlocking it. Once that data is locked, you have a tough decision to make: do you pay or not?

If you do pay, are you really going to get all your data back? Here’s a look at some of the vital facts you need to consider before making that decision…

Who you are paying

Bitcoin is increasingly the go-to currency for cyber criminals everywhere, and there’s very little you can do to trace it. Who are you actually paying? It’s anyone’s guess. That person may or may not have the digital key that will unlock your data. Even if they do have it, there’s no guarantee they will actually restore your files. Worse still, once you’ve paid they may come back and ask for more money before they do anything, leaving you with the terrible feeling you’re throwing good money away for nothing. Still, maybe you can’t say no, or you have wasted that first wedge of cash.

How much you pay

The exact amount you will have to pay depends on your organisation’s size and the amount of data that has been encrypted. The likelihood of you actually paying is also taken into account, and people in a similar situation to those who have already paid are more likely to receive higher demands.

Your organisation’s policy

With the rise of ransomware, companies are increasingly creating strict policies on responses to demands. These will range from preventative measures, to backup procedures and exactly what you should do in the event you are hit by ransomware.


There is some good news. If you have isolated backups that are regularly updated you do not have a thing to worry about. All your data is still there, separate to the corrupted data. You only need to get the computer cleaned and you can restore your files. If you back up at the end of each day, the most you will have lost is a few hours of work – not great, but far better than the alternative.