Slideshow

Stung by file-encrypting malware, researchers fight back

Ransomware programs such as CryptoDefense, CryptorBit and HowDecrypt have left users enraged -- and often helpless

  • Jose Vildoza of Argentina, who works for a video game company, found a crucial error in a widespread type of malware that encrypts people's files and demands a ransom to unlock the data.

  • Symantec saw a 500 percent increase in 2013 in malware such as CryptoDefense, which encrypts people's files and demands payment in bitcoin.

  • Jose Vildoza and Fabian Wosar collaborated on a tool that can recover the keys needed to unlock files encrypted by older versions of a ransomware program called CryptoDefense.

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