No More Ransom: international campaign against hackers

SPAIN’s Guardia Civil is once more throwing its weight behind a Europol campaign called No More Ransom. 

It is an initiative that has helped more than 200 000 victims of ransomware recover their files free of charge since it was first launched in July 2016. 

With visitors from 188 countries, the project has become a one-stop shop for the victims of ransomware, registering already over 3 million individual visits in its short life span. Thanks to the cooperation between more than 150 partners, the criminal business model behind ransomware has been severely hit since the initiative was launched, resulting in some $108 million profit prevented from going to the wrong pockets. 

With 14 new tools added in 2019, the portal can now decrypt 109 different types of ransomware infections – a number that keeps growing on a monthly basis. The efforts against GandCrab – considered to be one of the most aggressive ransomware attacks last year, epitomises such a success: Since the release of the first GandCrab tool in February 2018, nearly 40,000 people have successfully decrypted their files, saving roughly $50 million in ransom payments. 

The portal, initially released in English, is available in 35 other languages. English, Korean, Dutch, Russian and Portuguese feature as the top five languages, followed by French, Chinese, German, Spanish and Italian, which represents the global nature of the threat. 

Steven Wilson, Head of Europol’s European Cybercrime Centre (EC3) said: “When we take a close look at ransomware, we see how easy a device can be infected in a matter of seconds. A wrong click and databases, pictures and a life of memories can disappear forever. No More Ransom brings hope to the victims, a real window of opportunity, but also delivers a clear message to the criminals: the international community stands together with a common goal, operational successes are and will continue to bring the offenders to justice.” 

No More Ransom is the first public-private partnership of its kind offering the victims of ransomware an alternative solution to losing their precious files or having to pay the demanded money to the criminals. 42 law enforcement agencies, 5 EU Agencies and 101 public and private entities have joined the concept since 2016. 

The law agency says that prevention remains the most effective shield of protection. Citizens and business are reminded to keep offline backups, ensure software is up to date, use a robust antivirus and apply caution when clicking on attachments. 

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