This week marks the sixth anniversary of the No More Ransom project, an initiative aimed at helping victims of ransomware.
Operating as an online platform to help anyone who is experiencing problems after their system has been infected by some kind of ransomware, No More Ransom was formed as a joint venture between law enforcement (Europol and the Dutch National Police ) along with IT security companies (Kaspersky and McAfee).
According to reported by Bleeping Computer, when it started, the program only supplied a total of four ransomware decryptors. However, since its release in 2016, that number has ballooned to over 100 free decryption tools that can help combat numerous strains of ransomware.
“Six years later, No More Ransom offers 136 free tools for 165 ransomware variants, including Gandcrab, REvil/Sodinokibi, Maze/Egregor/Sekhmet, and more,” Europol said in a press release.
In total, No More Ransom has enabled more than 10 million people to successfully decrypt their infected files via free decryptors. Without access to such tools, the only remaining option would be to pay the cybercriminals behind the ransomware who are using innocent people’s files as leverage for a payday.
And that payday is substantial, to say the least. As No More Ransom entered its fifth anniversary last year, it was revealed that the initiative “prevented criminals from earning almost a billion euros through ransomware attacks.”
The premise of No More Ransom is simple but effective. Its Crypto Sheriff tool uploads two encrypted files along with the ransomware note, after which it tries to match them through a database of tools that can provide a solution. Once a match has been established, a compatible ransomware decryptor will be shared with the victim. Here, a detailed set of instructions within a manual can help the individual to unlock the files from it.
Alternatively, if the search fails to locate a suitable decryptor, victims will be encouraged to regularly check again due to the frequency of unlocking tools being added to the system.
While programs like No More Ransom are helpful in combating the ever-increasing threat of ransomware, the groups behind the malware that holds files and folders hostage are not sitting idly by.
Security firm Kaspersky has noted how ransomware gangs are now evolving their “cross-platform capabilities” as well as “updated business processes.”
“If last year we said that ransomware is flourishing, this year it is in full bloom,” the company stated. Elsewhere, throughout 2021, ransomware resulted in the extraction of $49.2 million from victims. And that number is only attributed to publicly disclosed incidents, who knows what the overall figure amounts to.