Disheartening News: Ransomware Recovery Company Caught PAYING Ransom Instead of Developing Solution to Recover Data

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A recent article has come to light that has got us here at Wedge quite discouraged regarding firms out there professing to have a great solution for fighting ransomware but then being caught cutting corners.  ProPublica, an investigative newsroom, recently ran a story in which they found that a couple of U.S. “ransomware recovery firms,” which had been touting themselves as data recovery experts that could help firms hit by ransomware recover their files and regain access to their systems, had actually simply been paying hackers the ransomware they requested.

Instead of coming up with a solution that could potentially eradicate the value of ransomware attacks to hackers, these firms were instead perpetuating the benefit.  As per the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and other law enforcement agencies’ advice, in order to help stem the spread of ransomware, victims should avoid paying hackers their ransom whenever possible.  And even when payment could be a must (See our Tony’s Meats blog), at a minimum, there should be cooperation with these agencies to help track such payment to the hackers, which could hopefully lead to their arrest.  The idea is that if the hackers don’t get paid, they won’t see the value in continuing to utilize ransomware.  Sadly, this advice is not followed in many instances and victims take the easy way out – paying the ransom in order to get their organizations up and running again.

What makes ProPublic’s findings on these ransomware recovery firms so egregious (with these firms paying the hackers), is that victims are often willing to pay more than the ransom amount in order to get their data back if they believe that they are paying a data recovery firm instead of a hacker; especially if they feel that they can be a part of stopping the spread of these ransomware attacks.   What is more appalling is that they would then charge the victim several times the total of the ransom amount as their “decryption and services fees”.  There has to be legislation governing the delivery of such services, starting with the beefing up of existing electronics communications acts; defining ransomware as a crime.  Maybe it will happen by 2025, if we get our act together, double pun intended! 

As a solution provider ourselves, Wedge prides itself in actually having a technology that can help to properly eradicate the spread and kill the value of ransomware to hackers.  Although we understand that there are some instances where paying a hacker the ransom they request might be the only way of a victim recovering their data, we feel that we can offer a solution that can help to minimize the number of ransomware victims by using a pro-active “Detect and Block” approach to advanced threats such as ransomware.  While most of the industry is still stuck in a “Detect and Remediate” reactionary mindset, we believe that many out there want a proactive solution that will help to eliminate attacks altogether.

With Wedge’s Advanced Malware Blocker, we have a solution that can SEE all of the content flowing through the network and can that can block anything that is remotely suspicious.  By blocking ALL advanced threats such as ransomware, they don’t even get a chance to breach the network.  Unlike Ransomware firms out there purporting to be able to recover data but then ending up paying a ransom in order to do this, Wedge has a proven solution that actually gets the job done.  If you’re interested, give WedgeAMB a try!  We offer a FREE 90 day trial to those companies looking for a Proactive Defence that can hopefully someday truly eliminate Ransomware!  Contact us at to learn more!

About Wedge Chief Scientist

Husam Kinawi, Chief Scientist Dr. Kinawi has a PhD and MSc in Computer Science from the Universities of Calgary, Canada and London, UK. In 1997, he co-founded Mpower Technologies Inc., a wireless telecommunications software company. In 1999, Dr. Kinawi co-founded (NASDAQ: AIQT), a Boston-based e-Business applications firm. Dr. Kinawi has over seventeen years of research and development experience working with industry leaders such as Newbridge (Alcatel), Siemens, United Technologies, and Apple in the areas of distributed information systems, embedded applications and wireless Internet solutions. Dr. Kinawi has also spoken at several major conferences, published several research papers, and is the holder of several patents in the area of mobile and wireless devices.
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