How terrified are people of losing their data to a ransomware infection? So terrified that they’ll pay ransoms even when their computers aren’t actually infected.
While Spora might be the sophisticated future of ransomware, cybercriminals have also cooked up a much less sophisticated way to earn easy Bitcoins for their wallets. They’re just telling people that they’ve been victimized by ransomware.
Citrix and OnePoll spoke with 500 U.K. businesses, all with a minimum of 250 employees. Around 200 of those businesses reported “bluffed” by a cybercriminal. Nearly 2 out of 3 of ended up forking over a payment.
How much does a fake ransomware infection cost do get rid of? Plenty. The average payout for a ransomware bluff was more than $16,000 at today’s exchange rate. Several “victims” ended up paying nearly double that amount.
That’s right. $32,000 to “decrypt” files that weren’t even encrypted in the first place. With big payouts like these coming so easily, it’s no wonder that cybercriminals are going after ransom without bothering with the “ware.”
As if the ransomware epidemic wasn’t worrisome enough already, Citrix points out that the results of this study create “a worrying impression that organizations may be treating ransomware as a cost of doing business.”
That won’t help stem the tide of ransomware. What will is more organizations following the lead of San Francisco’s Muni and St. Louis Public Libraries in refusing to pay.