Cyber criminals are increasingly using ransomware to lock a user’s device – computer or mobile device – or encrypt data and then demand money in exchange for a decryption key to unlock the data.
Ransomware for Easy Money
The memories of the high-profile Wannacry or NotPetya incidents are still fresh in the memory. To add fuel to the ransomware fire, GandCrab and SamSam variants are still around and the threat very much live and evolving. Ransomware is one of the most potent weapons in the armoury of cybercriminals to make easy money. However, the ‘No More Ransom’ decryption tools have managed to save about $22 million from reaching the coffers of the cybercriminals.
The No More Ransom project helps infected users to access their encrypted data or locked systems without paying the cybercriminals. There is a repository of keys and applications on the project website that enables users to decrypt the data that was locked by certain types of Ransomware.
Education for Prevention
Initiated by the National High Tech Crime Unit of the Netherlands’ police, Europol’s European Cybercrime Centre, and McAfee, the ‘No More Ransom’ initiative strongly advises victims of ransomware against paying any money to the cyber criminals in order to retrieve their data that is held hostage. This is with a view that even after paying the ransom, there is no guarantee that the victims will get the required decryption key. Apart from helping users retrieve data, this project also educates users on the importance of backing up data so they do not have to worry about data loss should their system be infected. Users are also advised about the best practices to avoid ransomware infection.
Collaboration is Key
The project is open to both public and private agencies to collaborate. Numerous law enforcement agencies and cyber security companies from across the globe are its members. Since its launch in July 2016, the project has helped decrypt infected computers of over 72,000 victims across 150 countries. At present, the project website is available in 35 languages and has 59 decryption tools to tackle about 91 ransomware families.
The article has been written by Neetu Katyal, content and marketing consultant
She can be reached here.