Wild West of Cybercrime: New Sheriff in town

Your data is held hostage by criminals.  Do you a) Pay them, or b) lose your data forever?

Until recently these were the only options for the many victims of ransomware. That was until July 2016 when law enforcement and private sector got together to launch the NoMoreRansom portal.  Not only did it provide advice on how to best prevent such infections, it also provided a set of tools that allowed victims to decrypt their data.  This provided a third option to victims; don’t pay the bad guys and get your data back.

Progress has been impressive, because since July the number of tools have doubled to over eight ransomware families.  These tools have successfully decrypted over 2,500 infections in such a short time.  Now to put this into context, this means that there were over 2,000 instances in which people did not have to pay criminals in order to get their data back. Subsequently the portal was responsible for preventing in excess of 1m Euros going into the pockets of criminals.

All of which brings us to today.  We have launched the portal with the European Cybercrime Centre, Dutch Police, Kaspersky Lab, and ourselves Intel Security.  Now we are delighted to announce the inclusion of 13 new partners from law enforcement: Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Colombia, France, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Portugal, Spain, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.

We often hear talk of public-private partnerships, and whilst this rhetoric is often lauded this initiative demonstrates a true practical example of this approach, and what can be achieved when we work together.  Not only in terms of making tools available to make data held hostage available, but raising awareness of ransomware by providing proactive measures to prevent infections.

Ransomware is a growth industry.  In fact one can argue it is the poster child of modern cybercrime with huge revenues being made by criminals.   It is impacting consumers, and now specifically targeting sectors such as education, healthcare, and government.  It is having a detrimental effect on modern businesses across the globe.  Without taking a stand it will continue to fund criminal activities and motivate them to simply invest more in further nefarious initiatives.  We must all take a stand, whether this is industry providing technical support to law enforcement in their efforts to disrupt criminal infrastructure, or an infected victim simply not paying and using the tools provided by NoMoreRansom.

All of us have a role in this fight.  NoMoreRansom may appear to be a website against ransomware, but in truth it represents so much more.

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