Former FBI Director James Comey on What to Do During a Ransomware Attack

May 12, 2017  • Institute Staff

Former FBI Director James Comey discussed the threat of ransomware — and offered suggestions to companies facing such cyberattacks. Comey highlighted the dangers of ransomware, which installs itself on users’ computers and allows a perpetrator to hold their data for ransom, saying it was “spreading like a terrible virus in the United States and I think spreading around the world.”

Comey urged companies to contact law enforcement in the event of a ransomware attack, comparing an appropriate cyber response to a homeowner instinctively calling the fire department if their house catches flames. He highlighted other tips, including patching systems and creating a backup not connected to an organization’s main network. “These punks will not have power over you if you have patched and you have an ability to recover to a backup,” he said.

Director Comey’s remarks on ransomware were delivered during a conversation on April 21, 2016, in London at Aspen Security Forum: Global.

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