back to article Why is ransomware still a thing? One-in-three polled netizens say they would cave to extortion demands

Want to know why ransomware is still rampant? One in three surveyed folks in North Americans said they would be willing to pay up to unscramble their files once their personal systems were infected. This is according to a customer survey [PDF] by Kaspersky Lab. The Russian security house polled more than 2,000 business workers …

  1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    One in three

    I'm willing to bet that all of them

    1) have no technical understanding of what they're using

    2) are incapable of making a backup if their life depended on it, and

    3) will still not learn the importance of backups if it does happen to them

    That is the price to pay when computing has been commoditized. That thing that is grafted to your hand is a computer. Learn how it works beyond just flicking screens from right to left.

    1. The Central Scrutinizer

      Re: One in three

      In my experience with friends and relatives, your average computer user is mostly technologically illiterate. Computers are just appliances these days unfortunately, or at least most people seem to treat them that way. Actually knowing how they work is just too much bother.

    2. Snake Silver badge

      Re: One in three

      Yep, don't make backups, don't know why you should, don't know how to do it.

      That was exacting :-p With backups, Arkell v. Pressdram fully applies here.

  2. Lorribot Bronze badge

    Happirstday of my life...

    When my son came over and said his laptop had been encrypted what should he do?

    Have got backups of all your course work?

    Yes, two copies, on Uni servers and USB drive

    Photos and music?

    Yes, phone and OneDrive

    Ok do a reset on Windows and don't visit that site again, you will need to reinstall and re-download software and games. You good to go?

    Ok.

    Oh happy days he was actually listening.All his stuff was OK no course work lost and lesson learned.

  3. Aseries

    Ransomware Aftermath

    People don't understand if they pay up and MAYBE get their data back their computer system is not theirs anymore. Unless the complete system storage is sanitized and OS clean reinstalled the criminals still own the system.

    1. Version 1.0 Silver badge

      Re: Ransomware Aftermath

      And even if the system is sanitized and the OS clean reinstalled, the criminals may still own a copy of all the data, your account and passwords etc - this is more significant in business than college.

  4. alain williams Silver badge

    We should all help here

    Tell, show, remind, nag our friends to backup their systems. We are IT literate, we understand the issues, so help those who do not and those who just cannot be bothered. Also: point out that cloudy storage cannot be relied on: if you can't touch it you don't control it. Oh, you might also accidentally delete stuff - stupid, but we all are sometimes.

    I give friends memory sticks, but have to remind them to use them.

    It is not just ransomware & machine failure or loss: my sister lost a bunch of photographs on her laptop when she was given a new iPhone and set it up.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: We should all help here

      "Tell, show, remind, nag our friends to backup their systems. "

      It's a lost battle. I've been doing this for a long time to no avail.

      Backup solutions are simply too complex for average Joe ...

      Which one will setup a Synology for backup, or Acronis ?

      1. batfink Silver badge

        Re: We should all help here

        That reminds me - when we can all move around freely again, I will go to a friend's place, put a large USB thumb drive into one of his router's ports, and set up scheduled backups for him. He has f'all data, so a 128GB drive/card should last a few years.

        He's far from stupid, but has now turned 70 and is struggling to grasp the basics of phones and computers (yes I know - it's my poor training skills, but I'm not the only one helping him).

        So, if I can implement this setup that he doesn't really know/care about, then hopefully I might be able to easily help him when things go really badly wrong. Of course, there are obvious holes in this line of defence, which I will try to mitigate as much as I reasonably can.

        IMO this will be a much easier solution than trying to teach him how to manage backups himself. He'd probably be able to get it 90% right...

  5. This post has been deleted by its author

  6. LucreLout Silver badge

    Easy to say

    This is where we should point out that paying ransomware fees is a really bad idea. Security and law enforcement groups alike agree that keeping regular offline backups and patching your software is a far better plan than paying demands, and there is no guarantee you will even get your data back should you agree to foot the extortion fees.

    Discussing what a company should have done before they got infected is all well and good, but serves no purpose to them once infected.

    It i true there is no guarantee that paying up will get your business critical information back, but if it does you're only really out the cost of a bribe, and some competent staff to extricate you from the remaining tech debt. If you don't pay it you guarantee that you don't get your data back and you cease trading. A few hundred bucks, even a few thousand, in that light, would be well worth the money.

    The age of respondents is curiously close to university age, so it'd be entirely forgivable that someone young has done something dumb, and now lost their dissertation which will potentially impact their whole future if they don't recover it, or perhaps just they just don't understand the situation and are worried that the videos of being ridden like Red Rum by a bunch of frat boys are at risk of being exposed rather than forever inaccessible. Who knows. If young people stop doing dumb shit then it probably just means they got older and grew up.

  7. Pete B

    Govt could help here.

    I do wish that Govt would do something useful and make paying ransoms illegal - if nobody had a choice of paying them them then they'd stop fairly quickly. (Other scams would appear instead though.)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Govt could help here.

      "I do wish that Govt would do something useful and make paying ransoms illegal - if nobody had a choice of paying them them then they'd stop fairly quickly. (Other scams would appear instead though.)"

      Apart from the fact you wouldn't be able to know who paid and wouldn't be able to catch them, I'm not entirely sure this would be desirable.

      Some people are really in shit due to potential loss of data and giving a recovery option is entirely good.

  8. OssianScotland Silver badge
    Headmaster

    Danegeld

    By Rudyard Kipling (also makes exceedingly good cakes) should be obligatory reading for everyone who might ever be (even slightly) exposed to ransomware.

    Icon - my old English Teacher who taught me to appreciate Kipling properly. The cane wasn't required in my case.

  9. DerekCurrie
    Go

    The #1 Rule Of Computing

    --> Make a backup!

    Backup 1: Local, for quick access.

    Backup 2: Away from your locale, for safety.

    If you backup properly and regularly, you LAUGH at ransomware, among other profound benefits.

    Apparently, it's a waste of time pointing this out to 1/3 of computer users. (o_0)

    If you don't backup, you get what you deserve. --> You should not be using a computer. You're not qualified. Seriously.

    1. Throatwarbler Mangrove Silver badge
      Mushroom

      Re: The #1 Rule Of Computing

      Oh good, this thread again: look at me, everyone, my penis is soooooo huge because I know how to use a computer!

      Would we suggest that someone not own a car because vandals like to break into it, steal, and trash it? The computer industry is rife with victim-blaming. Maybe what we should do is put more resources into finding and punishing the miscreants rather the crapping on their victims.

      1. doesnothingwell

        Re: The #1 Rule Of Computing

        Just like driving, if you hit every frinkin chuckhole and you wheels keep falling off then yes its the users fault. The damage get larger as the dangers increase and thats just like driving 101, don't hit things. Also sleep with your machanic, if they're good looking.

  10. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    "when it comes down to getting critical business data back, sometimes there is a case for paying up."

    Of course there is, and not just sometimes. So pay up in advance by investing in a proper backup system.

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