We have always had massive respect for the cyber guys in the Dutch National police. We have had the pleasure of working with them several years ago, and not only are they lovely people, who are very serious about their jobs, and they also are absolute geniuses. They regularly think outside the box in terms of solving a problem.
Here is a brilliant example of thinking outside of the box and also some free decryption keys for DeabBolt ransomware 🙂 🙂
First off, what is Ransomware?
If you are not already aware, ransomware is a form of malware that encrypts the entire contents of your computer using unbreakable encryption, which essentially renders your computer useless and your files inaccessible. The only way to gain access to your files is by paying a hefty ransom demand to unlock your digital life. Once paid, the attacker remotely lifts (most of the time) the encryption. The ransom is usually very high, starting at several hundred euros, and in some cases, can run into millions of euros depending on what information is on the system.
The Dutch Police versus the Deadbolt Ransomware gang:
According to the Dutch Police, the Deadbolt ransomware has encrypted more than 20,000 devices worldwide, which is growing daily. The encrypted files were impossible to decrypt without the encryption key, so the police devised a plan to pretend to pay the ransom in exchange for the keys.
In conjunction with Responder.nu, a Dutch cybersecurity firm, Europol, the French National Police, and the French Gendarmerie, they made Bitcoin payments for decryption keys, received the keys, and then withdrew the ransom payments so that the criminals did not get anything.
The good news is that they have obtained 155 decryption keys which will decrypt about 90% of the encrypted files. You can decrypt your files by going HERE.
- Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me. Will ransomware gangs fall for this again, or will we make sure payments are beyond recovery before sending the decryption keys?
- Also, how did they make a bitcoin payment and then take it back?? Most people think bitcoin is supposed to be instant, anonymous, and next to impossible to track. Apparently not. Here is a good article by Same Biddle from The Intercept about how Coinbase can track its users – ‘Cryptocurrency Titan Coinbase Providing “Geo Tracking Data” to ICE’
Sending you all the best 🙂
Incognito Privacy Care Team.