Colin Mc Hugo

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Colin Mc Hugo
Security Engineer Manager & CEO at Quantum Infinite Solutions Group Ltd.
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Cyber Security Incident Response
Management & Architecture of Cyber Security Teams
Solutions & Coaching
  • Cyber Security Incident Response
  • Management & Architecture of Cyber Security Teams
  • Solutions
  • Training & Coaching

Are you, the customer, the one paying the ransomware demand?

August 20, 2021

Ransomware funds could have better implications than you thought – and never only for the corporate that gave in to the attackers’ calls for

Firstly, the reply to the query is prone to be ‘sure’. The talk on ransomware payments continues, which, after all, is optimistic; with dialogue and differing viewpoints put ahead, an knowledgeable conclusion ought to be the result.

Let’s now dive into the difficulty of who really pays the ransom. Think about, only for a second, that you simply head to the shop to buy one thing for $100. Relying on the place you might be on the planet, gross sales tax could should be added on the checkout and your receipt of buy will present $100 for the products and possibly $10 for gross sales tax, totaling $110. The corporate promoting the product must make a revenue and canopy their prices, which can embody employees, premises, insurance coverage, transport, and the various different prices related to operating a enterprise.

If the corporate has been the sufferer of a ransomware assault and determined to pay the cybercriminals to regain entry to techniques or keep away from information being printed or bought on the darkish internet, this turns into a value of doing enterprise and must be recouped when promoting their services or products to clients. What would you suppose if the receipt wanted to reveal the corporate is funding cybercrime – product $100, gross sales tax $10, donation to cybercriminals $2.50? I think, and hope, you’d query the cost and object. I do know I’d.

Firms would most likely reply with, “it’s okay, our cyber-risk insurance coverage paid the vast majority of the ransom”. This might be the case, however the firm wanted to pay the insurance coverage firm that works on a chance of threat when charging a premium. In the event that they insure 10 corporations and 1 in 10 becomes the victim of ransomware, then a receipt from the ten corporations ought to possibly present the transaction of $100, $10 in gross sales tax, plus a $0.25 donation to cybercriminals, paid by way of the corporate’s insurers. The cash to pay the ransom is finally coming from you, the buyer.

In keeping with an article in The Hill, Bryan Vorndran, the assistant director of the FBI’s cyber division, mentioned when answering a query posed by Senator Mazie Hirono that “it’s our opinion that banning ransomware funds just isn’t the street to go down”. The idea of this being that not banning fee could result in extra extortion within the type of corporations not disclosing incidents to authorities. The conclusion of the dialogue on the Senate Judiciary Committee appears to recommend better reporting necessities, versus banning fee.

This might be considered as at odds with present necessities that prohibit the fee of funds to cybercriminals who seem on the OFAC sanctions listing. As some ransomware teams or the people behind them are on the sanctions listing, then does it recommend that corporations paying the ransom to those teams or people could be open to double extortion of then making an attempt to cowl up the fee?

There are lots of questions, however one that is for sure: the controversy on whether or not to pay ransomware calls for or not is under no circumstances nearing a conclusion. And we, the shoppers, are prone to see elevated product and companies prices to ensure that corporations to proceed to pay the extortionists behind ransomware, both immediately or by way of insurance coverage.

I depart you with the words of Margaret Thatcher, 14 October, 1988: “Give in to the terrorist and also you breed extra terrorism”.

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