Stricken electronics firms weigh reward, cost of paying ransom

A Canon sign on a store in Hong Kong. Canon is the latest electronic firm to be hit by a ransomware attack and potentially have to ponder whether or not to pay up. (Photo: SOPA Images / Contributor via Getty Images)

Garmin reportedly paid cyber extortionists millions of dollars for access to a decryptor so that the company could restore its services to customers following a July 23 WastedLocker ransomware attack. Meanwhile, a separate ransomware outfit this week reportedly leaked sensitive data lifted from LG and Xerox’s internal networks after attempted negotiations with the two tech companies apparently did not bear any fruit.

Which leads to the question: Who made out better in the short term and the long term, Garmin or LG and Xerox? Does it make more business sense to pay a high financial price now to avoid exacerbating the crisis, or to not pay but then suffer for perhaps months and years to come due to loss of proprietary data and a damaged reputation?  The answer to that might depend on your personal point of view, and how closely you adhere to the recommendations of federal law enforcement officials, who advise to not pay.

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