Victims of malware, such as bitcoin ransomware Cryptolocker, should just pay off the perpetrators if they want to see their data again, an FBI agent has advised.
According to Security Ledger, Acting Special Agent Joseph Bonavolonta, who oversees the bureau’s Boston office, told C-level executives at Wednesday’s Cyber Security Summit they’d be better off stumping up the ransom.
According to an FBI report from June, this sum can be anywhere from $200 to $10,000. Bonavolonta said:
“The amount of money made by these criminals is enormous and that’s because the overwhelming majority of institutions just pay the ransom … To be honest, we often advise people just to pay the ransom.”
The FBI said it had received 992 complaints about (now defunct) Cryptolocker in a 14-month period, with victims reporting losses of $18m. “Criminals prefer bitcoin because it’s easy to use, fast, publicly available, decentralized and provides a sense of heightened security/anonymity,” its report read.
Because ransomware has found success on such a vast scale, Bonavolonta said attackers are likely to keep their demands low to