4 million victims of ransomware helped by Europol initiative
According to Europol, the number of software attacks involving ransoms and extortion has risen sharply in recent months. To counter this, the Europol “No More Ransom” initiative is helping victims to fight against this particularly unpleasant form of malware. Over the past four years, more than 4 million victims of ransomware have downloaded the decrypting tools that are available free of charge online, preventing cybercriminals from pocketing no less than 632 million dollars along the way.
The fight back enables victims to have their encrypted files scanned on the nomoreransom.org website to find out which offending ransomware is being used against them. Then, if there is a decrypting tool for that particularly strain of ransomware, a key is made available to unlock the files, enabling them to be recovered. At the moment, as many as 140 different types of ransomware can be decrypted.
What's the best way to protect yourself?
As yet there is no catch-all solution for fixing every form of ransomware. This means it is vital for us to continue protecting ourselves. Here’s what we advise you do:
- Make sure you do several different backups and disconnect the computer hard disk between two backup operations.
- Keep your software up to date by installing the upgrades you need to maintain security – and scan your computer regularly to uncover any viruses and other types of malware lurking in your system.
- Maintain a healthy distrust of links and attachments and never click on them or open them if you have the slightest doubt about the reliability of the sender.
- Do not download programs from sources you’re not sure of.
And if you find yourself a victim? Don’t pay!
Do not pay the ransom demanded to get your files released. Instead, go to the nomoreransom.org website and have your locked files scanned to find out what type of ransomware it is. Otherwise, have the ransomware deleted by an IT expert or try to do it yourself using a program such as Malwarebytes. And whatever you do, always report the incident to the police. They may be able to trace the cybercriminals so that someone else doesn’t fall victim to the scourge of ransomware.