"We are regret but all your files was encrypted”


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"We are regret but all your files was encrypted”

How to Negotiate with Ransomware Hackers
Kurtis Minder finds the cat-and-mouse energy of outsmarting criminal syndicates deeply satisfying.

By Rachel Monroe

Some of the notes were aggressive (“Don’t take us for fools, we know more about you than you know about yourself”), others insouciant (“Oops, your important files are encrypted”) or faux apologetic (“we are regret but all your files was encrypted”). Some messages couched their extortion as a legitimate business transaction, as if the hackers had performed a helpful security audit: “Gentlemen! Your business is at serious risk. There is a significant hole in the security system of your company.”

...Minder has already seen pressure tactics and ransom demands escalate. In 2018, the average payment was about seven thousand dollars, according to the ransomware-recovery specialist Coveware. In 2019, it grew to forty-one thousand dollars. That year, a large ransomware syndicate announced that it was dissolving, after raking in two billion dollars in ransom payments in less than two years. “We are a living proof that you can do evil and get off scot-free,” the syndicate wrote in a farewell message. By 2020, the average ransom payment was more than two hundred thousand dollars, and some cyber-insurance companies began to exit the market. “I don’t think the insurers really understood the risk they were taking on,” Reiner told me. “The numbers in 2020 were really bad, but, at the end of 2020, everyone looked around and said, 2021 is going to be even worse.”