Helping over 4 million victims of ransomware attacks avoid over 600 million pounds in ransom demands since it’s launch 4 years ago, is the No More Ransom initiative.
No More Ransom was started by four founding members in 2016 and provides free decryption tools for ransomware. The initiative has been growing rapidly since its inception, with its 163 partners that are from cybersecurity, law enforcement bodies, finance and more.
Most importantly, the partners have been releasing FREE decryption tools. These decryption tools have been downloaded over 4.2 million times and tackle over 140 families of ransomware. Consequently, saving, at Europol estimates a massive $632 million in ransom payouts to cybercriminals.
There are many contributors to the project but among the top ones are;
- Emsisoft who provided 54 decryption tools for 45 ransomware families
- Kaspersky, which has provided five tools for 32 ransomware families
- Trend Micro, which has provided two decryption tools for 27 ransomware families
While other cybersecurity experts have made some contributions to No More Ransom, these include;
- Check Point
- McAfee, a founding member
Above all, due to growth and demand No More Ransom is now available in 36 languages and has been used by people from across the globe. 188 different countries to be exact. With the main users coming from the US, Brazil, South Korea, Russia and India.
In other words, key contributors, partners and law enforcement agencies from across the world have come together for No More Ransom with one purpose. So everyone contributes, in the progressive steps towards to “counter ransomware on a preventative level,” says Edvardas Šileris, head of Europol’s European Cybercrime Centre.
Edvardas goes on to say, “ultimately, it doesn’t matter how much money is saved, but rather how many people get their files back for free.
Europol believes that prevention is the best remedy for staving off attacks. Firstly, ransomware is ever evolving in its nature. Secondly, some forms of the malware out there that don’t have free decryption tools. But it’s true No More Ransom has proved useful to victims, cybersecurity is complex and needs our attention before incident occurs.
Europol preventative steps include;
- backing up important files offline. If there’s a back- up, and then an attack happens the files can be easily retrieved. This is regardless of whether there’s a No More Ransom decryption tool available or not.
- don’t download programs from suspicious sources or open attachments from unknown senders. This stops us from falling victim to email-based attack.
- apply security updates and patches to PCs and networks
Meanwhile, we have- to remember ransomware remains a highly effective money-making tool for cyber criminals. So even though No More Ransom and other cybersecurity initiatives are doing their best, it’s not a perfect fix. These cybercriminals go on to make loads of money from a single attack.
To stop these attacks in the first place another preventative measure is to:
Brett Callow, threat analyst at Emsisoft says that “No More Ransom is like a car seatbelt: it’s a critical safety net, but it’s best to abide by the rules of the road to lessen the chance of needing to use it. Or, to be put it another way, ransomware is definitely a case in which prevention is better than cure.”
In other words, companies need to ensure their cybersecurity measures are up to date before an incident happens. Not all seatbelts save, or stop the injuries.