Ransomware has become one of the biggest threats that PC, mobile, and even Mac users face. Avast has therefore joined No More Ransom, a project that helps ransomware victims get their encrypted files back, without paying a ransom to the cybercriminals. No More Ransom has four main partners and is supported by law enforcement agencies from around the world.
Ransomware is malware that locks your device or encrypts your files, making them unavailable. A ransom is then demanded to unlock such devices or files. Ransom amounts vary, but on average, the ransomware demand was about one bitcoin last year (approx. $500 at that time). Ransomware is typically spread via phishing emails or exploit kits and is targeted at consumers and businesses alike.
No More Ransom launched mid 2016 and now contains 40 free decryption tools, six of which were provided by Avast. Avast continuously creates new decryption tools, which can also be found on our free ransomware decryption tools page.
“Ransomware has become a lucrative business for cybercriminals. We saw a 105% increase in ransomware attacks from 2015 to 2016,” says Jakub Kroustek, threat lab team lead and co-creator of Avast’s ransomware decryption tools. “The No More Ransom project will hopefully raise awareness around the free decryption tools that are available. If we can lower the number of ransoms paid, we can help make ransomware less attractive for cybercriminals.”
While ransomware decryption tools can help release files, they should be seen as a last resort. Ransomware has become so successful, that it is even being marketed and sold on the darknet, so even hackers with less technical knowledge can purchase, alter, and spread ransomware. This means new strains of ransomware appear on a daily basis and you could become infected with a strain for which no decryption tool exists. We therefore recommend installing antivirus, which will act as a safety net and protect you from ransomware, should you encounter it, and regularly backup your files to an external hard drive, that is not connected to your computer or the internet.