Companies should not pay ransom to hackers, according to FBI Director Christopher Wray, but instead instead contact the agency.
According to the Associated Press, FBI Director Christopher Wray warned on Thursday that businesses should not pay ransomware criminals and should instead contact the agency for assistance in restoring stolen data.
Wray made the remarks during a House Judiciary Committee hearing on the FBI’s response to cyberattacks on the Colonial Pipeline, which delivers roughly half of the East Coast’s petroleum, and JBS SA, a worldwide meat-packing concern.
“It is our policy, it is our advise from the FBI, that firms should not pay the ransom for a number of reasons,” Wray said, citing methods the FBI may assist, such as attempting to obtain hackers’ encryption keys so that any data captured can be returned without a ransom payment.
“Whether they pay the ransom or not, there are a number of things we can do to prevent this action from occurring if they communicate and work with law police straight away. He went on to say, “That’s the most important thing.”
See the list below for more Associated Press reporting.
In the last month, many corporations have engaged in multimillion-dollar transactions to bring their systems back online.
Aside from the fact that such payments can promote other cyberattacks, victims may not automatically receive their data after paying millions, “which is not unheard of,” according to Wray.
In a ransomware attack, hackers encrypt and lock a victim’s data before demanding payment to decrypt it. Over the last year, they’ve grown in size, affecting not only hospitals and police departments, but also crucial infrastructure and essential sectors.
Some of the country’s most recent large corporate targets have paid the ransom, believing that a prolonged shutdown of their operations would be disastrous for the country and disrupt vital supply chains.
Colonial Pipeline, which transports about 45 percent of the fuel consumed on the East Coast, paid a ransom of 75 bitcoins ($4.4 million at the time) last month in the hopes of restoring service to its system.
JBS SA, the world’s largest meat processing company, announced on Wednesday that it had paid hackers the equivalent of $11 million for breaking into its computer system last month.
Colonial Pipeline CEO Joseph Blount told lawmakers this week that the decision to pay the ransom was made in the best interests of the company. This is a brief summary.