Research from Kaspersky Lab shows that the debate over whether ransomware victims should pay up could be redundant because large numbers don’t actually get their files back even if they have paid the cyber criminals
Kaspersky Lab has added an additional 14,031 decryption keys to the repository noransom.kaspersky.com, enabling all users who have fallen victim to CoinVault and Bitcryptor ransomware to retrieve their encrypted data without having to pay a single bitcoin in ransom to criminals.
The keys and decrypting application, developed by Kaspersky Lab, are available for free on https://noransom.kaspersky.com.
Since April 2015, a total of 14,755 keys have been made available for victims so that they can release their files by using the decryption application developed by Kaspersky Lab’s security experts. The Netherlands’ National Prosecutors Office obtained the decryption keys from the CoinVault command & control servers. In September, the Dutch police arrested two men in the Netherlands on suspicion of involvement in the ransomware attacks. With these arrests, and the fact that the last portion of keys has now been obtained from the server, the time has come to close the case on the CoinVault attacks.
CoinVault’s cybercriminals tried to infect tens of thousands of computers worldwide, with the majority of victims in the Netherlands, Germany, the USA, France and the UK. Users from a total of 108 countries were affected. The criminals succeeded in locking at least 1,500 Windows-based machines, demanding bitcoins from users to decrypt their files.
Kaspersky Lab discovered the first version of CoinVault in May 2014, and later contributed a thorough analysis of all the associated malware samples to an investigation run by the National High Tech Crime Unit (NHTCU) of the Netherlands’ police and the Netherlands’ National Prosecutors Office. During the joint investigation, the NHTCU and the Netherlands’ National Prosecutors Office obtained databases from CoinVault command & control servers. These servers contained Initialization Vectors (IVs), keys and private bitcoin wallets and helped Kaspersky Lab and the NHTCU to create a special repository of decryption keys: noransom.kaspersky.com.
“The CoinVault story is ending: the remaining victims can retrieve their files and the cybercriminals have been caught, thanks to collaboration between the Dutch police, Kaspersky Lab and Panda Security. The CoinVault investigation has been unique in that we have been able to retrieve all the keys. Through sheer hard work we were able to disrupt the entire business model of the cybercriminal group.” – said Jornt van der Wiel, Security Researcher at Global Research and Analysis Team, Kaspersky Lab.
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