Cybersecurity experts Intel Security and Kaspersky Lab teamed up with Europol and the Dutch National Police to launch No More Ransom, a new initiative that aims to fight against the growing threat of ransomware.
Ransomware is a kind of malware that locks the computer or encrypts the data of its victims. The attackers then demand the victim to pay a certain amount so that they would be able to gain back control of their devices and data.
Ransomware attacks are not limited to individuals, as hackers have also been known to target corporations and governments. Examples of such attacks include an incident in April that victimized visitors of the Pirate Bay torrent website through pop-under advertisements and another one in May that forced Congress to temporarily block House of Representatives staff from using their Yahoo Mail and Google apps.
The cooperation between the security firms and the law enforcement authorities have resulted in the release of the No More Ransom website, which is an online portal that functions as a helpful resource for ransomware victims.
The website includes information on the capabilities of ransomware, its processes and how users can protect themselves from the attacks. Being aware of ransomware is important, as there is no current tool for unlocking encrypted data that will work across every kind of malware. Users who allow themselves to be victimized by ransomware due to lack of awareness on the threat could lose all their data permanently.
In addition to providing awareness, the website offers tools for certain kinds of ransomware. There are currently four decryption tools available on the portal, the latest addition was developed just last month against the Shade ransomware.
Kaspersky Lab and Intel Security have prevented over 27,000 attempts of Shade ransomware attacks since 2014, with most of the attempts being done in Europe. There have been recorded attempts in the United States, though, with Shade being spread through malicious websites and infected attachments sent through email.
The No More Ransom initiative looks to tap into the resources of both private and public institutions to help in the fight against ransomware. With hackers continuing to develop stronger variants of ransomware, the partnership is said to be always open to collaborate with new partners.
Victims of ransomware, aside from using the tools on the online portal, can also use the website to report the ransomware attacks. Victims are also advised not to pay the ransom to get their data back, as doing so will only support the business of the hackers, in addition to having no guarantee that the cybercriminals will unlock the encrypted files after receiving the demanded payment.