Would you pay hackers if your business was held, hostage?

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Tim Felt, the CEO of Colonial Pipeline, just did.

He paid $5 million to hackers on Friday, contradicting earlier reports that the company had no intention of paying an extortion fee.

But before we are quick to judge, it’s not as if he got clear guidance.

The FBI discourages organisations from paying ransom to hackers, saying there is no guarantee they will follow through on promises to unlock files. 

However, Anne Neuberger, the White House’s top cybersecurity official, admitted that while companies should not pay ransoms, she recognised that companies are often in a difficult position if their data
is encrypted and cannot recover the data.

That comment gives away a big clue, BACKUPS, BACKUPS, BACKUPS.

Tim Felt must have been sweating bullets as he paid the extortion fee in cryptocurrency to help restore the country’s largest fuel pipeline.

The key takeaway is that access to data is critical, and if you haven’t even backed it up, what chance do you stand!

A recent report showed the amount paid by victims increased by 311% in 2020, reaching about $350 million in cryptocurrency.

Do you think Tim Felt did the right thing? What would you have done?

Mark Walker

I help SMEs and large corporations, who’ve had enough of being fleeced by IT vendors forcing them to choose between expensive OEM warranties or premature upgrades. I partner with Australian and global businesses who want a partner they can trust based on values, ethics, integrity and rightful data ownership.