Technology / Europol teams up with security firms to help victims of ransomware attacks

Europol teams up with security firms to help victims of ransomware attacks

The European Union has launched a new service to help victims of ransomware decrypt their data without paying their attackers.

Europol, the Dutch police, Intel Security and Kaspersky Lab have joined forces to launch No More Ransom, a website that helps victims to recover their data.

The site provides information on what ransomware is and how it works, as well as tips to help users avoid infections that could well mean they lose their files forever.

It also offers downloads to help victims circumvent the malware and get their data back. Initially, this includes four decryption tools for different types of ransomware.

Wilbert Paulissen, director of the Dutch police’s National Criminal Investigation Division, said: “We, the Dutch police, cannot fight against cyber crime, and ransomware in particular, alone. This is a joint responsibility of the police, the justice department, Europol, and ICT companies, and requires a joint effort. “This is why I am very happy about the police’s collaboration with Intel Security and Kaspersky Lab.

“Together we will do everything in our power to disturb criminals’ moneymaking schemes and return files to their rightful owners without the latter having to pay loads of money.”

Jornt van der Wiel, security researcher at Kaspersky Lab’s global research and analysis team, said: “The biggest problem with crypto-ransomware today is that when users have precious data locked down, they readily pay criminals to get it back.

“That boosts the underground economy, and we are facing an increase in the number of new players and the number of attacks as a result.

“We can only change the situation if we coordinate our efforts to fight against ransomware. The appearance of decryption tools is just the first step on this road. We expect this project to be extended, and soon there will be many more companies and law enforcement agencies from other countries and regions fighting ransomware together.”

Wil van Gemert, deputy director of operations at Europol, said: “For a few years now ransomware has become a dominant concern for EU law enforcement. It is a problem affecting citizens and business alike, computers and mobile devices, with criminals developing more sophisticated techniques to cause the highest impact on the victim’s data.

“Initiatives like the No More Ransom project show that linking expertise and joining forces is the way to go in the successful fight against cyber crime. We expect to help many people to recover control over their files, while raising awareness and educating the population on how to maintain their devices clean from malware.”

Victims of ransomware are encouraged to report the attacks to the authorities so they can discover more about the threat. For more information, see No More Ransom.

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