A Romanian cybersecurity company, Bitdefender, has unveiled a solution to counter the latest version of the ransom software GandCrab.This decryption tool was developed and proposed in partnership with Europol, the Romanian police, the FBI, the UK’s National Crime Agency and the Metropolitan Police, as well as authorities in France, Bulgaria.
GandCrab emerged in January 2018 and quickly gained ground with some $2 billion estimated to have been extorted from its victims. According to BitDefender, GandCrab was mainly utilized by Russian groups, and reached its peak at around August last year, when it accounted for 50 percent of all ransomware infections globally. In total, the researchers estimate that GandCrab infected 1.5 million systems,
The new tool allows victims to regain access to lost information without paying a ransom. Previous GandCrab decryption tools released by Bitdefender and partner organisations have helped more than 30,000 victims recover ransomed data and save more than $50 million. The joint efforts of Bitdefender and its law enforcement partners have significantly rolled back the spread of GandCrab, to the point that the ransomware has virtually disappeared.
In a statement accompanying the announcement of the new tool Bitdefender said: “Our efforts to provide decryption tools to the victims of GandCrab have weakened ransomware software operators by significantly slowing down their monetization mechanisms. In addition to helping victims, these efforts have helped to create a positive state of mind for new victims, who prefer to wait for a new tool rather than give in to hackers’ demands for ransom payments.”
The Romanian security company warns that in order to prevent ransomware infections, it is essential to install anti-ransomware defenses and regularly back up data. Finally it is advisable not to open attachments to emails from unknown sources and they strongly advise against paying a ransom should ransomware software infiltrate your computer equipment. The decryption tool is available for free on Bitdefender Labs, and on the project No More Ransom.