No More Ransom: Europol launches advice site for victims of ransomware

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Europol, the EU law enforcement agency, has launched a new scheme in partnership with cybersecurity companies and national police forces to help people infected with ransomware.

The No More Ransom Project provides consumers with information on known decryption keys and data recovery options. Given the ever-evolving strains of ransomware, the site’s aim is to spread awareness about security best practices, maintaining backups, and encouraging victims to report their cases to police.

Intel Security, Kaspersky Lab, and the Dutch national police force are collaborating with Europol on the public-private project. The No Ransom Project said it expects more companies and organization to join the collaboration in the future. The site plans to add more decryption keys as they come available.

Ransomware, which locks down a victim’s device by encrypting the files and demanding a ransom, has become a serious concern for EU law enforcement according to Wil Van Gemert, Europol’s deputy director of operations. “Initiatives like the No More Ransom project shows that linking expertise and joining forces is the way to go in the successful fight against cybercrime,” he said.

People can download the decryption tools that are already available on the site but are urged to read the how-to guides before attempting to decrypt their infected files. Several ransomware types are covered at this early stage, including CryptXXX, TeslaCrypt, and Shade.

“This collaboration goes beyond intelligence sharing, consumer education, and takedowns to actually help repair the damage inflicted upon victims,” added Raj Samani, EMEA CTO of Intel Security, who urged the need for public-private cooperation to tackle cybercrime. “By restoring access to their systems, we empower users by showing them they can take action and avoid rewarding criminals with a ransom payment.”

Often, individuals that have been infected by ransomware have no other option than pay off the ransom, as they lack awareness or the skills to retrieve their files. The recent success of ransomware tactics of cybercriminals has only emboldened others to follow suit.

In the United States, the FBI has issued guidance to people about ransomware, advising victims not to pay the ransoms.

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