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No More Ransom initiative cut ransomware industry’s profits by £850m

By 26 July 2021No Comments

No More Ransom, a public-private initiative launched by law enforcement authorities and cybersecurity companies from across Europe in 2016, has helped more than six million people to recover their files in the aftermath of ransomware attacks and prevented criminals from earning almost £850 million through ransomware attacks.

No More Ransom was launched in 2016 by Europol’s European Cybercrime Centre, the National High Tech Crime Unit of the Netherlands’ police, and security firms Kaspersky and McAfee as an ambitious public-private initiative to help businesses and individuals fight back against ransomware attacks and to recover access to their stolen data without having to pay large amounts of money in ransom.

No More Ransom now counts police forces and law enforcement agencies from all over the world, including Interpol, Eurojust, and the NCA, as its associate and supporting partners along with well-known cyber security research firms F-Secure, Check Point, Bitdefender, Emsisoft, Avast, and a number of private organisations.

The No More Ransom website stores as many as 121 free ransomware decrypter tools that can be used by both individuals and organisations to decrypt files that are encrypted by hackers for use as a bargaining tool. These free tools are able to decrypt files encrypted using as many as 151 ransomware families.

No More Ransom factsheet

No More Ransom Factsheet (Source: Europol)

The public-private initiative turned five on Sunday and according to Europol, has helped more than six million people to decrypt hijacked files and avoid paying a ransom. The use of free ransomware decryption tools has helped victims avoid paying a total ransom of almost £850 million in the past five years.

In fact, by July last year, the initiative had already helped individuals and businesses save an estimated £488 million in ransom payments and recover encrypted files. The No More Ransom website lets users upload encrypted files and share the details of ransom notes and get their files decrypted for free if a decryption tool is available.

The success enjoyed by the No More Ransom initiative in defeating hackers has obviously attracted the attention of cyber criminals who are now exploiting the popularity of ransomware decrypter tools to launch more such attacks.

For instance, in June last year, cyber criminals began distributing a free tool that, they claimed, could decrypt files encrypted by the STOP Djvu Ransomware. In reality, the decrypter files contained another ransomware variant which meant that instead of getting their files back, the victims suffered double ransomware infections.

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