If your small business’s information technology (IT) has been crippled with ransomware, you might be wondering whether you should pay the ransom. With its ability to restrict you from accessing files on your business’s affected computers and devices, ransomware is troublesome to say the least.

However, you should think twice before giving in to the hacker’s demands. While paying the ransom may sound like the fastest way to recover from a ransomware attack, it usually does more harm than good. Below are several reasons why you shouldn’t pay the ransomware.

Paying the Ransom Doesn’t Always Work

Even if you pay the ransom, there’s no guarantee that you’ll regain access to your small business’s files. Ransomware attacks are performed with the intention of extorting money — in the form of a ransom — from the victim. Unfortunately, hackers aren’t the most trustworthy individuals, and many will often demand additional payments after you pay the initial ransom.

Paying the Ransom Encourages Future Attacks

Another reason you shouldn’t pay the ransom is because it encourages future ransomware attacks. Whenever a victim pays the ransom, it emboldens hackers to conduct ransomware attacks in the future. Hackers are rewarded with money for performing these disruptive cyber attacks, so they probably won’t stop. Instead, they’ll perform more ransomware attacks because it’s a lucrative source of income. To discourage future attacks, you shouldn’t pay the ransom.

The FBI Advises Against Paying the Ransom

The Federal Bureau Investigation (FBI) says victims of ransomware shouldn’t pay the ransom. On the official FBI website, the Bureau recommends keeping operating systems and software up to date, as well as creating backups of data on a regular basis, to protect against ransomware attacks. And if you’re the victim of a ransomware attack, the FBI advises against paying the ransom.

There Are Other Ways to Recover From a Ransomware Attack

There are ways to recover from a ransomware attack besides paying the ransom. Many instances of ransomware, for example, don’t use encryption to lock or restrict file access. Without encryption, recovery is possible by removing the ransomware-causing file or files.

For ransomware attacks that do use encryption, you may able to find a decrypt key to recover from the attack. There are publicly accessible databases online that contain decrypt keys for common types of ransomware. Using the appropriate decrypt key will allow you to recover from a ransomware attack by removing the encryption algorithm placed on your files.