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Despite its legality, there are many reasons why you should not pay a ransom for your files. The main reason is that paying the ransom will only bolster the criminal’s business model. In addition, it can leave you in a worse position than when the attack happened.

In fact, it can put you at risk of a second attack in a year or two. If you haven’t created secure backups, you might have to start from scratch. It’s also possible you won’t have a viable decryption key.

The good news is that you have several options. One of the best is to simply restore your computer from a previous backup. However, you may need to use an antimalware solution to remove the virus from your device. You can also purchase an external hard drive.

Another option is to report the ransomware to law enforcement. Some organizations, such as the FBI, endorse this tactic. In addition, they have a tool to scan encrypted files for matches. These tools are part of the No More Ransom initiative.

You should also consider using a cloud storage service with high level encryption. This will ensure that your data is protected and can be restored if your system becomes infected.

Some hackers use a “double extortion” attack. If you fail to pay the ransom, they will publish your data online. You might be able to get your information back, but it might be too late.