Ransomware gangs get paid off as officials struggle for fix

If your business falls victim to ransomware and you want simple advice on whether to pay the criminals, don’t expect much help from the U.S. government. The answer is apt to be: It depends.

“It is the position of the U.S. government that we strongly discourage the payment of ransoms,” Eric Goldstein, a top cybersecurity official in the Department of Homeland Security, told a congressional hearing last week.

But paying carries no penalties and refusing would be almost suicidal for many companies, especially the small- and medium-sized.

Although the Biden administration has made battling ransomware crime a national security priority, public officials are fumbling over how to respond to the ransom payment dilemma.

Without additional action soon, however, experts say ransoms will continue to skyrocket, financing better criminal intelligence-gathering and tools that only worsen the global crime wave.

President Biden got no assurances from Russian President Vladimir Putin in Geneva last week that cybercriminals behind the attacks won’t continue to enjoy safe harbor in Russia.

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