The 'No More Ransom' Initiative

Ransomware is a massive problem. Although recently in the news following the WannaCry and Petya attacks that hit businesses worldwide, the truth is, ransomware has been on the rise for years now.

In 2016, thanks to simple scare tactics, ransomware cost businesses $1bn, the frequency increasing by 600%. This type of threat, where hackers encrypt data and demand payment for the decryption key, dominated the cyberthreat landscape last year. Around the world, law enforcement agencies, as well as cybersecurity companies, are working on stopping cyber criminals in their tracks; either by taking down criminal gangs deploying ransomware, or finding and handing out decryption keys.

However, this poorly organised and disjointed approach can only go so far to combat the problem. In today’s world, cyber criminals operate across international borders and time zones. Researches at Kaspersky say that cyber criminals have started to pool resources, and are trading tools and hacking techniques to target victims locally. Previously, ransomware and other forms of malicious software were developed in isolation, with the type of attack often giving away the location of its origin. This has led to the establishment of the ‘No More Ransom’ initiative last year, with the aim of further collaboration between law enforcement and private cyber security companies in the fight against cybercrime.

No More Ransom was launched by Europol, Kaspersky Lab, Dutch Police and Intel Security to fight the threat of extortion through ransomware by hackers. The combined forces of these organisations provides tools for unlocking various types of ransomware, providing keys to decrypt users’ data. The notorious CryptXXX ransomware encrypts files on a hard drive and then attacks files on connected devices, as well as potentially stealing and sending sensitive data to hackers. No More Ransom have provided a tool for its removal. Likewise, the group has released a decryption tool to combat the Shade malware, allowing users to get their data back without paying a huge ransom.

Europol, the EU’s law enforcement agency, says the initial success of No More Ransom highlights the need for private security firms and government agencies to work together to combat ransomware and other forms of cyber criminality. No More Ransom’s website is set to be continually updated with tools to combat the latest threats, and the group is reaching out to other security firms for help. Their main piece of advice to users is to never pay the ransom under any circumstances – not only is there no guarantee you’ll get your data back, it also encourages cybercriminals to continue with their work. 

Ransomware Data Recovery