Ransomware fighting coalition adds new members and decryption tools

More security vendors joined the No More Ransom project and contribute 32 new ransomware decryption tools

The No More Ransom project, a coalition of law enforcement and security companies, has expanded with 30 new members and added 32 new decryption tools for various ransomware variants.

The project, which consists of a website dedicated to fighting ransomware, was originally launched by Europol’s European Cybercrime Centre in partnership with the National High Tech Crime Unit of the Netherlands police, Kaspersky Lab, and Intel Security.

The website has a tool that allows users to determine which type of ransomware has affected their files but also contains general information about ransomware, prevention advice, and instruction on reporting incidents to law enforcement.

One section of the website is dedicated to decryption tools that participating companies have developed for various ransomware variants. The creation of such tools is possible because some ransomware programs have flaws in their cryptographic implementations.

On Thursday, Europol announced that security vendors Bitdefender, Check Point, Emsisoft, and Trend Micro have joined the project as associated partners. Other companies, computer emergency response teams, information sharing and analysis centers, and industry associations have joined the project as supporting partners.

The organizations have contributed an additional 32 new decryption tools to the existing eight, which have so far been used by over 6,000 victims to successfully recover their ransomware-encrypted files.

"Both the private sector and law enforcement are stepping up efforts to fight these cybercriminals who are using ransomware to deprive their victims of large amounts of money," Europol said. "However, awareness remains key to preventing ransomware from being successful."

A recent IBM survey of 600 business leaders in the U.S., revealed that almost half of all businesses have been hit by ransomware. More worrying is that 70 percent of those affected have paid to resolve the attack, half paying more than US$10,000 and 20 percent more than $40,000.

Almost 60 percent of surveyed business leaders indicated they were willing to pay in order to recover ransomware-affected data, especially if that data includes financial records, customer records, intellectual property, and business plans.

Based on the answers of 1,000 consumers, the same survey found that over 54 percent of them would likely pay to get financial data back.

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