Ransomware is a type of cyberattack where an individual or organization encrypts the files on a device, then requires you to pay a ransom to receive access to the files or to ensure the organization doesn’t dump the files publicly. When you’re dealing with ransomware removal, there are typically three methods that you might consider taking. Here are the pros and cons of all three methods of ransomware removal.
1. Paying the Ransom
The first option, and the option the cybercriminals are hoping you’ll take, is simply to pay the ransom. Typically, ransomware will provide you with either a Bitcoin address or another cryptocurrency address where you need to send a specific amount of money. Once you pay the money, the attacker promises you’ll get your files back.
Typically, this isn’t recommended. Anywhere from a third to nearly half of organizations who pay a ransom don’t end up with decrypted files. Plus, it tends to encourage future ransomware attacks, as cybercriminals continue to consider this an effective way of making money.
2. Removing the Ransomware
One of the more difficult options involves decrypting and removing the ransomware altogether. With removing the ransomware, you don’t pay the ransom, but you also don’t completely restore your computer to its factory settings. Instead, you use a decryptor to try and remove the ransomware without harming your files.
This is difficult and isn’t necessarily going to work. Many modern ransomware products don’t have a decryptor out there, so there’s no guarantee that you’ll be able to actually succeed in removing the ransomware from your computer. However, even if you do remove the ransomware, you should likely retrieve any files you need, then proceed to wipe your device.
3. Wiping Your Devices and Starting Anew
This is by far the safest option of the three. Completely wiping your devices, including formatting your hard drives, is one of the best ways to avoid future reinfections, as ransomware removal may not be able to completely remove every trace of ransomware. When you completely wipe your devices, you get rid of every trace of ransomware.
Remember that you’ll likely need to take your devices to an expert to do this. Simply deleting everything on your devices or even running a system restore through your device might not do enough to really reset the device. The more quickly you react near the beginning, the fewer devices you’ll have infected with ransomware, and therefore the easier it’ll be to boot everything back.
Ransomware removal isn’t easy, but it is possible. Especially if you have a great backup process, you’re much more likely to be able to manage your company’s important files when something like ransomware pops up. Don’t worry – ransomware can be extremely scary, but if you’re prepared for it, it’s possible to wipe your company’s devices and get them back to normal in no time. By far the best option is to wipe your devices completely, so make sure you have a process prepared for it, just in case.