Ransomware Negotiation Scenarios: What to Expect

Trend Micro -

This standard introduction shows a level of professionalism, indicating that the ransomware group uses a standard playbook for negotiating staff. While other ransomware families do not start every conversation with the same introductory message, chat conversations from the ransomware families we analyzed typically include a few key points, which we list here.

What was stolen

While the amount and nature of stolen data varies, it always includes items that are critical to the company, including but not limited to financials, contracts, databases, and employee and customer personally identifiable information (PII). The criminals always offer to decrypt some sample files as proof, and in some cases they will provide a file tree of what has been stolen.

Price negotiation

Many victims state that they are willing to pay to decrypt data and prevent it from being leaked, but they simply cannot meet the initial demand. The criminals’ main defense or justification for the price includes either the victim’s bank account balance or insurance policy information.

Discounts and price drops

We observed price drops from the initial demands that are anywhere from 25 to 90%. Each group appears to have their own philosophy and standard with regard to discounts they will provide.

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