On the third anniversary of the ‘No More Ransom’ project, Europol announced today that users who downloaded and decrypted the files using free tools which were made accessible through the No More Ransom portal have prevented ransomware gangs from making profits estimated at least $108 million, according to a report.
Just the free decryption tools for the GandCrab ransomware alone offered on the No More Ransom website have curbed ransom payments of nearly $50 million alone, said Europol.
The project, which launched in July 2016, currently hosts 82 tools that can be used to decrypt 109 different types of ransomware. Most of those have been made and shared by antivirus makers like Emsisoft, Avast, and Bitdefender, and others; national police agencies; CERTs; or online communities like Bleeping Computer. The most proficient member has been antivirus maker Emsisoft so far, which released 32 decryption tools for 32 different ransomware strains. “We’re pretty proud of releasing the decryptor for MegaLocker, as not only did it help thousands of victims, but it riled up the malware author,” said Michael Gillespie, a researcher at Emsisoft, to a report.
“We also have a couple of decryption tools in the pipeline for strains that have claimed a huge number of victims and, in one of those cases, we’ll be doing the decryption in a way that’s never been done before,” said Gillespie.
Overall, Europol said that more than three million users visited the site and more than 200,000 users downloaded tools from the No More Ransom portal since its launch. Site visitors came from 188 countries all over the world, showing that despite the project beginning in Europe, its reach is global today. Per statistics Europol shared today, the majority of the site’s visitors came from South Korea, the US, the Netherlands, Russia, and Brazil.