Ransomware be gone: Free decryption tools available online

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ransomware
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When it comes to fighting the scourge of ransomware, there’s a new sheriff in town.

Cyber heavyweights like Kaspersky Lab, Intel Security, Amazon Web Services, Barracuda and more have banded together to form NoMoreRansom.org.

This free online resource offers a repository of ransomware unblocking and decryption tools at no cost to you. And because an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, there are also robust educational resources available that explain how ransomware works and what you can do to prevent infection.

Read more: Spora — The new ransomware that hijacks your computer

Fighting the good fight against ransomware

The recent worldwide WannaCry attack catapulted the idea of ransomware into the public spotlight. But ransomware is nothing new. For years now, cyber criminals have been using malware to freeze up computers until consumers pay them hundreds of dollars to supposedly implement a fix.

Money expert Clark Howard has long advised users to never pay the ransom. “First, there’s no way to tell the scammers will do what they say and not load additional viruses on your computer,” Clark says. “Second, you’re rewarding bad behavior if you pay them.”

So what should you do instead of paying up if your computer is frozen?

NoMoreRansom.org offers remedies for nearly 50 popular ransomware scripts. Among the free decryption tools available are:

  • Crysis
  • Marsjoke/Polyglot
  • Wildfire
  • Chimera
  • TeslaCrypt
  • Shade
  • CoinVault
  • Rannoh
  • Rakhni
  • TM Ransomware

The site is continually updated with new entries into the database, including unlock codes for EncrypTile (added June 21) and MacRansom (added Jun 23).

Once ransomware gets on your computer, it may already be too late to do anything. In that case, you can try getting to an uninfected computer and downloading the fix from NoMoreRansom.org onto a thumb drive. Then take that thumb drive and plug it into your infected computer to see if it will decrypt your data for free.

An ounce of prevention

The best solution, of course, is to not let ransomware on your system in the first place. The experts at NoMoreRansom.org recommend the following tips to avoid infection:

1. Use free cloud backup services like Apple’s iCloud Drive or Google Drive to duplicate your data. You also want one physical backup option like a portable hard drive, thumb drive or extra laptop that remains disconnected when not in use. When you have a backup, you can abandon a computer if it’s too infected to rescue.

2. For basic protection, use anti-virus and anti-malware software and keep it up to date. See our Virus, Spyware and Malware Protection Guide for links to free options.

3. Keep your browsers, applications and plug-ins updated with the latest security patches. Be sure to do this at home on your own secure connection.

4. Never open attachments in emails from someone you don’t know. But you should also take it one step further and be wary of opening anything from people you do know; their system could be hijacked by criminals for the purpose of spreading malware.

5. Always leave the “Show file extensions” option in Windows on. It will sleuth out potentially malicious file extensions like .exe, .vbs, .scr, hot-chics.avi.exe or doc.scr.

6. Disconnect your device from the Internet or Wi-Fi if you notice a suspicious process. This will prevent it from spreading to other devices on your network.

Read more: Top 10 scams coming after your money!

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Theo Thimou About the author:
Theo is director of content for clark.com. He has co-written 2 books with Clark Howard, including the #1 New York Times bestseller Clark Howard's Living Large in Lean Times.
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