Ransomware attacks can be nasty to deal with. If your gadget is infected, you could lose irreplaceable photos or important documents forever. We've even warned you that there's no guarantee that you will get them back if you decide to pony up the ransom.
Global ransomware attacks are at an all-time high as cybercriminals target both individuals and businesses. In response to the increasing number of threats, the FBI is taking action.
The FBI, along with the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3), recently issued a public service announcement. They are urging victims of ransomware to report all incidents to federal law enforcement. They are trying to get a better understanding of current threats and how U.S. victims are impacted.
Even if you pay the ransom, you might not get your files back. There’s no honor among thieves. Regardless, report it to FBI. #RansomwareFTC
— FTC (@FTC) September 7, 2016
The FBI says it's been difficult to know the true number of ransomware victims, as many incidents go unreported to the law. If all attacks were reported, law enforcement would gain a greater understanding of the threat and justify ransomware investigations. Having victims' details would also make it easier to determine who is behind the attacks and how victims are targeted.
What to report
If you are a victim of ransomware, you should contact your local FBI office or file a complaint at www.IC3.gov. Include all of the following details that apply:
- The date of the infection.
- Ransomware Variant - this will be identified on the ransom page or by the encrypted file extension.
- Victim company information - industry type, business size, etc.
- How the infection occurred - browsing the internet, clicking a link in an email, etc.
- Requested ransom amount.
- The Bitcoin Wallet address of the attacker - this could be listed on the ransom page.
- Ransom amount paid - if you paid the ransom, how much did you pay?
- Overall losses - how much the infection cost, including the amount of ransom paid and any other losses associated with the attack.
- Victim impact statement.
The FBI is also recommending safety measures to prevent ransomware attacks. Here are some of their recommendations:
- Back up data regularly - this could be the best way to recover your critical data if you are infected.
- Make sure your backups are secure - do not connect your backups to computers or networks that they are backing up.
- Never open risky links in emails - don't open attachments from unsolicited emails.
- Download only trusted software - make sure the software you download comes from trusted sites.