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Digital Guardian's Blog

Ransomware Prevention Site Saves Users $1 Billion

by Chris Brook on Monday July 26, 2021

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Five years after its inception, No More Ransom, the collaborative effort formed to combat ransomware attackers, has logged some impressive numbers.

When No More Ransom, a public and private sector initiative designed to thwart ransomware, started five years ago, it only had four decryptors in its arsenal. The names of the ransomware variants may bring back unpleasant memories: Shade, CryptXXX, CoinVault.

Five years later, the initiative has more than 30 times that figure: 121 tools designed to help consumers crack 151 ransomware families.

That’s one way the group has grown. It also disclosed on Monday that to date, the group has helped prevent roughly $1 billion from winding up in the hands of attackers.

According to Europol this week, the tools have prevented in excess of $900 million euros - over $1B USD – of criminal profit.

That sum correlates to six million consumers and companies that were able to side step the ransom demands of attackers and keep their files for free.

The group, which was founded in 2016 with help from the Netherlands Netherlands’ National High Tech Crime Unit – a division of the country’s police – and Europol’s European Cybercrime Centre, runs an online portal that’s translated into 37 different languages.

While not every strain of ransomware has a decryptor available on No More Ransom, new ones are being added all the time. No More Ransom’s website notes that new decryptors for the Lorenz, Avaddon, Ziggy, and FONIX ransomware strains have recently been added.

Since launching, in addition to helping businesses and consumers decrypt their files, the group has provided instructions around mitigating ransomware and what to do if you’ve found your machine has been infected.

To celebrate its fifth anniversary, No More Ransom reiterated some of its key steps to prevent ransomware infections:

  • Regularly back up data stored on your electronic devices
  • Watch your clicks – do you know where a link will take you?
  • Beware of attachments in emails
  • Ensure that your security software and operating system are up to date
  • If you become a victim, do not pay. Report the crime and check No More Ransom for decryption tools

While some of the tips are self-explanatory and may seem obvious to some, they’re worth restating, especially for any consumers who may not be familiar with the ins and outs of ransomware.

The Biden adminstration has attempted to cut off ransomware actors of late, first by forming a ransomware task force to disrupt operations and through tracing the usage of cryptocurrencies in ransomware transactions.

Tags: Ransomware

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Chris Brook

Chris Brook is the editor of Data Insider. He is a technology journalist with a decade of experience writing about information security, hackers, and privacy. Chris has attended many infosec conferences and has interviewed hackers and security researchers. Prior to joining Digital Guardian he helped launch Threatpost, an independent news site which is a leading source of information about IT and business security for hundreds of thousands of professionals worldwide.