Oklahoma Lawyer Resigns Himself to Paying Ransom for Release of Computer Files

The ABA Journal recently carried a story regarding another firm held hostage to ransomware hackers. In this case, the lawyer felt he had no choice but to pay. This follows incidents in North Carolina and B.C.

An Oklahoma lawyer says his computer files are being held hostage by the encrypto virus, despite his installation of three layers of protection to thwart such attacks.

Oklahoma City lawyer Noble McIntyre tells KFOR.com he plans to pay the $700 ransom for release of the files.

McIntyre said the same thing happened to his files a few years ago, and he thought his additional computer security would prevent it from happening again. He reported the prior incident to police, but he doesn’t plan to report the computer virus this time.

McIntyre told the broadcast station there is not much law enforcement can do when overseas criminals commit such crimes.

“Ransomware” infections are becoming much more common recently and are usually spread by infected email attachments or website links that trigger a download. Another common type, Cryptolocker, will scramble all the data files on your computer with virtually unbreakable encryption. You learn you are infected when a pop-up window tells you that your data has been scrambled and will be deleted unless you pay a ransom within a very short period of time, typically 48 hours or so. The ransom is typically in the range of $100 to $300 and payable only in Bitcoins, a type of virtual currency that makes payments untraceable. It is a relatively low amount so you have an incentive to pay it as a nuisance; but as you are dealing with criminals, paying it does not guarantee that you will get your data back.

This story serves as a reminder to be vigilant about email attachments and the risks they can pose, as explained in the articles Avoid the Dangers of Email and Would You Take the Bait in a Phishing Scam? from the Cybercrime issue of LAWPRO Magazine.

And from the same issue, this article explains the importance of Being Ready with an Incident Response Plan.

Cross posted on AvoidaClaim.com


  1. Doesn’t Mr. McIntyre backup his documents? I make sure that my legal clients’ work is backed up to two separate disks on a daily basis, with additional backups to an encrypted cloud account at least once a day. This way, current data can be retrieved.

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