Cryakl ransomware decryption keys now available for free


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Victims of Cryakl can now unlock their files for free via the No More Ransom portal.


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Victims of Cryakl ransomware could now able to get their files back without giving into paying a ransom to cyber criminals because the decryption key has been released for free as part of the No More Ransom initiative.

Launched by Europol in 2016, the scheme brings law enforcement and private industry together in the fight against cybercrime and has helped thousands of ransomware victims retrieve their encrypted files without lining the pockets of cyber criminals.

Cryakl has been active since September 2015 and like other forms of ransomware it searches an infected system for files, encrypts them, then demands payment for providing the key to retrieving the files. It also threatens to delete the encrypted files if payment isn’t received within a week.

Unlike more recent forms of ransomware which ask payments to be made into a cryptocurrency wallet, victims of Cryakl are asked to contact the attackers by email.

The ransomware is most prolific in Russia, but Cryakl has claimed victims across Europe. Kaspersky Lab told ZDNet there has been over 2000 infections in Italy, over 2000 in Germany, over 1000 in Spain and hundreds across the UK, Belgium, France, Poland and Austria.

Decryption tools for Cryakl ransomware have been added to the No More Ransom portal following work by the Belgian National Police and Kaspersky Lab as part of an ongoing investigation.

After discovering Belgian citizens had fallen victim to Cryakl, an investigation by the Belgian Federal Computer Crime Unit was able to locate the command-and-control server in Germany.

Belgian authorities were able to seize this as well as other servers involved with the distribution of ransomware, then obtain the decryption keys with the aid of forensic analysts and input from Kaspersky Lab.

See also: No more ransomware: How one website is stopping the crypto-locking crooks in their tracks

The investigation is still ongoing, but now victims of Cryakl can regain access to their encrypted files without having to pay criminals.

“Cyber security experts work worldwide to help the victims, creating new, previously non-existent tools for decryption,” said said Jornt van der Wiel, security researcher in the global research and analysis team at Kaspersky Lab.

“Free decryption keys for Cryakl ransomware can be considered as proof of this policy and yet another reminder that there is always a chance of winning in the fight with criminals”.

The addition of keys for Cryakl brings the total number of ransomware decryption tools available on the No More Ransom portal to 52. They can be used to decrypt 84 forms of ransomware including MarsJoke, Teslacrypt, LamdaLocker, Wildfire and CryptXXX.

According to Europol, over 35,000 people have used No More Ransom to decrypt their files for free, preventing cyber criminals from obtaining ransoms worth over 10 million Euros.

Initially launched by Europol, the Dutch National Police, McAfee, and Kaspersky Lab, the number of partners working together on No More Ransom has now risen to over 120, including 75 cyber security companies.

The Belgium National Police’s role in helping to decrypt Cryakl has seen it promoted to become an associated partner in the scheme – the second law enforcement body to do so after founding member the Dutch National Police.

Europol has also announced new partners for No More Ransom – The Cypriot and Estonian police are the most recent law enforcements agencies to join, while KPN, Telenor and The College of Professionals in Information and Computing (CPIC) have joined as new private sector partners.

“We are of course happy that the platform keeps growing and that new partners keep joining. We have always been convinced that public private partnership is crucial in the fight against ransomware, and cybercrime in general,” a Europol spokeperson told ZDNet.

Since the launch of No More Ransom, the portal has received over 1.6 million visitors from a total of 180 countries. The website is available in 29 languages, with Estonian the most recent addition.

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