A free decryption tool is now available for all Bart ransomware versions

Antivirus vendor Bitdefender obtained the Bart decryption keys from the Romanian police

Users who have had their files encrypted by any version of the Bart ransomware program are in luck: Antivirus vendor Bitdefender has just released a free decryption tool.

The Bart ransomware appeared back in June and stood out because it locked victims' files inside ZIP archives encrypted with AES (Advanced Encryption Standard). Unlike other ransomware programs that used RSA public-key cryptography and relied on a command-and-control server to generate key pairs, Bart was able to encrypt files even in the absence of an internet connection.

The original implementation of Bart did have some weaknesses and security researchers from antivirus firm AVG, which is now part of Avast, created a tool that could guess the password for the ransomware's archives using brute-force methods. The decryptor required the user to have at least one unaffected copy of a file that had been encrypted.

In later versions, the Bart developers changed their crypto implementation, rendering the AVG decryptor ineffective. According to Catalin Cosoi, chief security strategist at Bitdefender, the encryption used by the latest Bart variants is strong and has no obvious flaws.

Despite that, Bitdefender was able to create a decryption tool after the Romanian police provided them with the necessary keys, which were probably obtained during an investigation. The company credits collaboration with the Romanian Police and Europol for its success in creating the tool.

The tool was published on NoMoreRansom.org, a support website for ransomware victims that's maintained by a coalition of security vendors and law enforcement agencies. The website has prevention advice as well as a set of decryption tools that work for various strains of ransomware.

Some researchers believe Bart to be related to another widespread ransomware program, called Locky, that has affected many organizations in 2016. Files affected by this program have the .bart.zip, .bart and .perl extensions.

As always, having a backup plan in place is the best approach to deal with potential ransomware infections, rather than hoping for a free decryption tool that might or might not work for the particular variant that ends up affecting your files.

In the absence of backups, security experts advise against paying ransom because it encourages cybercriminals and doesn't always result in file recovery. The affected files should be saved though in case a solution to recover them is found at a later date.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Lucian Constantin

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Father’s Day Gift Guide

Brand Post

Bitdefender 2019

Bitdefender’s best-in-class security solutions have been awarded Product of the Year. Get cybersecurity that 500 MILLION users already have and trust!

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?