While the whole world suffers the ravages of the COVID-19 pandemic, another virus, albeit one of a more technical nature, is wreaking havoc everywhere. Although this virus has been around for years, its cases have risen alarmingly in the past few months, and it can have severe consequences for critical activities and organisations such as hospitals, businesses and governments.
This virus is called ransomware. A scheme called No More Ransom is helping victims fight back without paying the hackers. No More Ransom is the first public-private partnership of its kind to help victims of ransomware recover their encrypted data without having to pay the ransom amount to cybercriminals. The initiative’s partners include Europol, Politie, Kaspersky and McAfee.
Since its launch, the No More Ransom decryption tool repository has registered over 4.2 million visitors from 188 countries and stopped an estimated $ 632 million in ransom demands from ending up in criminals’ pockets.
Powered by the contributions of its 163 partners, the portal has added 28 tools in the past year and can now decrypt 140 different types of ransomware infections. The portal is available in 36 languages.
To use it, simply go to the website nomoreransom.org and follow the Crypto Sheriff steps to help identify the ransomware strain affecting the device. If a solution is available, a link will be provided to download the decryption tool for free. No More Ransom goes a long way to help people impacted by ransomware, but there are still many types of ransomware out there without a fix.
Just like the coronavirus pandemic, prevention is better than cure, and fortunately, there are some preventative steps you can take to protect yourself:
- Always keep a copy of your most important files somewhere else: in the cloud, on another offline drive, on a memory stick, or on another computer.
- Use reliable and up-to-date anti-virus software.
- Do not download programs from suspicious sources.
- Do not open attachments in e-mails from unknown senders, even if they look important and credible.
- And if you fall victim to a ransomware attack, do not pay the ransom.
We now need an innovative solution for those ransomware families not yet covered by the portal to help victims recover their files without giving in to the demands of the criminals.