Kaspersky's site offers free tool to fight against ransomware (via Kaspersky)
It's important to keep your computer protected against viruses and spyware, but with so many advances in technology cybercriminals keep creating bigger and badder threats that can ignore even the strongest virus/malware software. One of the more serious threats involves ransomware, a type of malicious software used to get money out of computer users - cyber extortion. Ransomware is usually installed by finding a vulnerable spot in the user's computer, which can be exploited by opening a phishing email or accessing a malicious website. Once installed, the software will block access to the system and leave a ransom message when the computer is restarted.
Security company Kaspersky wants to help consumers against these attacks. Previously, the company's lab found ransomware in attachments sent out in phishing emails from attackers pretending to be popular online booking services and social networks. To fight against these attacks Kaspersky has teamed up with the Dutch police National High Tech Crime Unit (NHTCU) to offer a tool that aims to unlock encrypted files locked by the ransomware software CoinVault. CoinVault, going around since November of last year, infects computers by locking owners out of their files until they pay CoinVault to decrypt the files. Unlike other ransomare software, this one shows victims a list of files it encrypted and offers to decrypt one for free to trick them into paying up.
Kaspersky was able to create protection software when the NHTCU found a CoinVault server with a database of decryption keys. The police then handed over the information to create a tool to unlock files for infected PCs. It sounds promising, but the only issue is it doesn't work for all infected machines. The NHTCU hasn't secured all potential CoinVault keys from the server they discovered. At this time, the police are currently investigating to find more decryption keys to help improve the tool. As more decryption keys are discovered, they are promptly added to the database. The Dutch police also stated they may be close to arresting the perpetrator behind CoinVault; it's suspected they reside in The Netherlands.
Ransomware is becoming more of a serious issue with it spreading world wide. Over 700 PCs have been infected by CoinVault in The Netherlands, while more are being affected in Germany and the US. It's important to stop these attacks and learn how to fight against them.
To try out the free software for yourself, visit Kaspersky's site to find the ransomware decryptor, along with a desktop decryption app and a how-to guide.
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