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Six years after its launch, Europol’s No More Ransom initiative has just published an updated report. This European agency that coordinates the European Union police launched this project in 2016 with the Dutch police and computer security companies.
With over 10 million downloads, 136 free decryption tools helped 1.5 million victims get their hands on data encrypted by cybercriminals, according to Europol. The project is currently responding centrally to 165 variants of ransomware, those malware that encrypt your data to extort ransomware.
In its latest press release, Europol does not mention an estimate of the cost savings that can be obtained from decryptors. But at the press conference, according to , the agency did mention a potential shortfall of about $1.5 billion, or the same amount of euros. The estimate is based on an average ransom of $1,000.
“More than 188 public and private partners have joined the program, regularly providing new decryption tools for the latest strains of malware,” also welcomes Europol. The European agency indicates that it has decoders against GandCrab or even REvil/Sodinokibi.
In one year, 15 new decoders were released. In recent months, for example, at the end of December, Emsisoft published a tool against NoWay. This editor has also released decoders for Diavol, Maze, Egregor and Sekhmet. Meanwhile, Avast held parades at TargetCompany and HermeticRansom.
Train of cybercriminals
However, if the initiative has a visible success, this project is inherently doomed to fall behind cybercriminals. The extortionists of the most active mafia gangs, such as Lockbit, do not yet have a parade. However, No More Ransom can block ransomware attempts by opportunistic criminals who have taken over old ransomware.
This explains Europol’s call to first try to prevent evil. “The best remedy against ransomware is prevention,” the European agency recalls through a series of best practices. They are now well known, from data backup to anti-phishing vigilance to basic computer hygiene.