Warning From FBI Director: Do Not Pay Ransom For Ransomware Attacks
WASHINGTON - The Federal Bureau of Investigation has warned companies and businesses not to pay the ransom for ransomware attacks, but to contact law enforcement as quickly as possible to open up the possibility of creative solutions to the problem rather than paying the hacker, which only encourages future hacking attempts on organizations.
After the Colonial Pipeline Co. was hacked they paid out $4.4 million (75 Bitcoins) of the ransom after it had to shut down its pipeline back in early May. Late May, a meat producer company JBS USA paid an $11 million ransom payment that shut down its operations in Australia and North America.
Republican Steve Chabot stated during a hearing that "The Biden administration basically gave a wink and a nod to paying off the thugs. Don’t we need to clarify the policy relative to paying off criminals?"
A statement put out by Washington's National Security Council put out a statement saying, "the administration has been very clear: private companies should not pay ransom. It encourages and enriches these malicious actors, continues the cycle of these attacks, and there is no guarantee companies get their data back".
On the other hand, last month Anne Neuberger, who is the deputy national security adviser for Cyber and Emerging Technologies had said "Typically that is a private sector decision, and the administration has not offered further advice at this time".
Although the Justice Department got 63.7 of the Bitcoins back from the hackers for Colonial Pipeline, the declining value of the Bitcoin means that they only recovered about $2.3 million of the ransom, or a bit over half the ransom that was paid.
If you are subject to a ransomware attack, there are a few tools that you may be able to use to decrypt or unlock your files. The first tool is Avast's Ransomware Decryption Tools. The second is Kaspersky's Free Ransomware Decryptors.