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Hackers Offer Support for Victims

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As ransomware becomes more sophisticated, hackers are starting to offer tech support for their victims.  What is the motive behind offering service to the people they're taking advantage of?

Money, of course.  The hackers are trying to make it easier for their victims to pay them.

Consider this: many people who fall victim to ransomware are using outdated software or who do things like open attachments on scammy emails.  They're often not the most savvy of tech users.  Hackers usually prefer to be paid in untraceable Bitcoins.  So how do you get someone who isn't very tech savvy to go through the somewhat arduous process of converting their money to Bitcoin and sending money?  You help them do it.

Many ransomware lock screens include detailed instructions along with links to support forums.

In addition to trying to make sure a victim is able to pay for their hostage files, hackers also want to make sure their victims trust them.  That might sound odd, but many of them just see ransomware as a way to make some money; it's not personal.  If a victim thinks they're going to pay the ransom and get nothing in return, or that their files will just be locked back up again, they have very little reason to pay anyway.  To that end, some hackers will decrypt one file for free to show that they do have access.

There are even instances of victims being able to negotiate with cybercriminals to reduce the amount of ransom paid.  Ransoms are generally $400-$500, but some people have have the amount reduced to as much as around $40.

In at least one case, a victim received a faulty decryption code.  After posting on a support forum, the key worked and he was able to retrieve his files.

If you do run into ransomware on your computer and have trouble figuring out how to get your files back, maybe hacker support can help, or you may be able to plead your case to a benevolent hacker who will give you a healthy discount.  Of course, the best thing to do is to make sure all of your software is up to date, run malware detection programs and not open attachments from unknown emailers to avoid the trouble altogether.