FBI's new announcement about ransomware and when to pay ransoms

October 13, 2019

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The FBI has released a new announcement about ransomware attacks. This new document shows a change in the FBI stance regarding the payment of ransoms.  The FBI does not advocate for ransom paying, "however, the FBI understands that when businesses are faced with an inability to function, executives will evaluate all options to protect their shareholders, employees, and customers.", including that one.

Before this new guide, the FBI position was to avoid paying the ransom at all costs, even though it could affect the ability to operate. Also, in many cases, not paying the ransom means recovering the system from scratch or an old backup; a task that could take up to several months to be fully operative again. Such was the case of Baltimore, where they are still trying to recover all their systems.

In addition, according to the article from ITProPortal, "this could also mean that the FBI has found new ways to find the perpetrators, and that would require a money transfer", raising questions about the real objective in the FBI's unforeseen stance change.

Finally, in this announcement, the FBI states the importance of reporting ransomware incidents to law enforcement in any case, as an essential input to "to track ransomware attackers, hold them accountable under US law, and prevent future attacks."