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Ransomware scum face unified white hat army

BitDefender, Trend Micro, Check Point, Emisoft, others, join No More Ransom project

More security players have joined the No More Ransom initiative, which should make life hard for the cretins who create ransomware.

More than 30 security research firms and law enforcement agencies have joined the initiative to unify their efforts to free victims from ransomware extortion.

More than 6,000 users have used the project's work to recover data without paying ransoms.

The group's membership has today surged bringing in researchers from Trend Micro, BitDefender, Check Point, and Emisoft. All four companies have impressive form demolishing ransomware variants and will contribute their time and tools to the project.

The new members means the project now has an arsenal of 32 decryption tools, up from its previous eight.

Other participants in the effort include ESET, Cylance, Heimdal Security, S21Sec, G-Data, and AnubisNetworks, along with computer emergency response teams including CERT-EU, Ireland's IRISS CERT, CIRCL.LU of Luxembourg, and Slovenia's SI-CERT.

Ransomware is one of the most dynamic threats facing end users on the web. New variants with vastly different levels of sophistication and build quality surface each week, circulating often through phishing and malicious malware hosting sites.

White hat researchers usually attack a ransomware's implementation of an encryption scheme and then publish decryption keys allowing victims to decrypt their files without coughing up.

Malware authors who do not give up will often release an updated version of their ransomware that fills the hole white hat researchers find and publicise.

This cat-and-mouse game is not easy for the black hats since implementing strong encryption is difficult, leading to only one or two ransomware forms - to date Cryptxxx and Cryptowall - remaining uncracked.

The No More Ransom project launched in July unifies a formerly scattered and silo-ed, but furious effort by malware researchers to lay ruin to scores of ransomware variants.

Ransomware has become a tightly-contested market with a few truly tough malware forms dominating a vast rabble of trash code, the authors of which rely on scaring users into paying.

Ransomware can be net crooks a conservative US$84,000 a month for an investment of US$6000, a whopping 1425 per cent profit margin, Trustwave found last year. ®

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