Whitehat hackers have struck back at the operators of the pernicious CryptoLocker ransom trojan that has held hundreds of thousands of hard drives hostage.
Through a partnership that included researchers from FOX-IT and FireEye, researchers managed to recover the private encryption keys that CryptoLocker uses to lock victims' personal computer files until they pay a $300 ransom. They also reverse engineered the binary code at the heart of the malicious program. The result: a website that allows victims to recover the key for their individual content.
To use the free service, victims must upload one of the files encrypted by CryptoLocker along with the e-mail address where they want the secret key delivered. Both FOX-IT and FireEye are reputable security companies, but readers are nonetheless advised to upload only non-sensitive files that contain no personal information.