A Decryption Tool Can Offer Ransom-Free Relief to Victims of Malicious Software
Aug 12, 2017 // By:admin // No Comment
For many years, the state of the art in malicious software, or “malware,” remained fairly static. Malicious programs could be broken down into a few basic categories like viruses and trojans, with each possessing its own unique character. Beginning a scant few years ago, however, a new style of malware burst onto the scene. Making use of advanced cryptographic algorithms, this style of malware encrypted the personal and business-related files of victims before demanding a ransom in exchange for their return. With many companies, institutions, and individuals falling victim to this style of malicious software soon thereafter, concerns about so-called “ransomware” quickly came to the forefront.
In practice, a properly implemented cryptographic system that respects the best practices in the field should be virtually impossible to reverse by anyone but those authorized to do so. This fact is the foundation of what makes ransomware so threatening, as failing to pay the money demanded before a set deadline will normally mean that the files will be lost forever, with no hope of future recovery remaining thereafter.
While brute-force approaches to reversing modern cryptographic schemes are generally doomed to fail, this is not to say that there is never any hope. Just about every well-known style of cryptography today will revolve around at least one unique key that must be kept secret. Should that key instead be found and other details revealed, decrypting files and data that have been encrypted can become as easy as if the victim were intended to do so.
Fortunately, a number of the most prominent ransomware programs have fallen to exactly this vulnerability. Thanks to the efforts of experienced, highly skilled researchers, the cryptographic keys that several of these systems rely upon have been found and recovered. In more than one case, a decryption tool has thereafter been developed to enable the easy, automatic recovery of files that could otherwise have been lost.
While there are still some styles of ransomware where failing to pay the ransom could result in the loss of data, this is not to be taken for granted. Instead, working with someone who understands the options can be an effective way of recovering important files without giving in to criminals in expensive fashion.