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Ransomware and Reputation

1
School of Economics, Finance and Accounting, University of Coventry, Coventry CV1 5FB, UK
2
Department of Strategic Management and Marketing, De Montfort University, Leicester LE1 9BH, UK
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Games 2019, 10(2), 26; https://doi.org/10.3390/g10020026
Received: 28 February 2019 / Revised: 7 May 2019 / Accepted: 11 May 2019 / Published: 10 June 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Game Theory for Security)
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Abstract

Ransomware is a particular form of cyber-attack in which a victim loses access to either his electronic device or files unless he pays a ransom to criminals. A criminal’s ability to make money from ransomware critically depends on victims believing that the criminal will honour ransom payments. In this paper we explore the extent to which a criminal can build trust through reputation. We demonstrate that there are situations in which it is optimal for the criminal to always return the files and situations in which it is not. We argue that the ability to build reputation will depend on how victims distinguish between different ransomware strands. If ransomware is to survive as a long term revenue source for criminals then they need to find ways of building a good reputation. View Full-Text
Keywords: ransomware; repeated game; reputation; trust ransomware; repeated game; reputation; trust
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).
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Cartwright, A.; Cartwright, E. Ransomware and Reputation. Games 2019, 10, 26.

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