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Police and security companies join to fight ransomware

No More Ransom Project formed to raise awareness and help combat ransomware

Police and security companies join to fight ransomware
The No More Ransom project aims to raise awareness of ransomware and to help victims.

A group of law enforcement organisations and IT security vendors have launched a project to combat ransomware.

The No More Ransom project brings together police and the private sector to raise awareness of ransomware and help to mitigate the risks and damage of data being held for ransom by hackers.

The Dutch National Police, Europol, Intel Security and Kaspersky Lab are co-operating on the initiative, in part to combat the growing nuisance of ransomware. According to Kaspersky Lab, the number of users attacked by crypto-ransomware rose by 550% from 2014 to 2015, up to 718,000. McAfee reported that over two million new samples of ransomware in the first half of 2015, compared to 257,000 in the same period of 2014.

The No More Ransom initiative includes the launch of an online portal, www.nomoreransom.org, which is intended to raise awareness and provide support to victims of ransomware. The portal includes information on ransomware and how to protect from it, as well as tools to remove some of the more common ransomware variants.

The portal also provides the ability to report ransomware to law enforcement. Security experts advise users whose devices are infected with ransomeware not to pay the ransom but to seek expert help. Victims should also report infection to help security companies and organisations to analyse the threat and map trends in ransomware activity.

Wilbert Paulissen, Director of the National Criminal Investigation Division of National Police of the Netherlands said: "We, the Dutch police, cannot fight against cybercrime and ransomware in particular, alone. This is a joint responsibility of the police, the justice department, Europol, and ICT companies, and requires a joint effort. This is why I am very happy about the police's collaboration with Intel Security and Kaspersky Lab. Together we will do everything in our power to disturb criminals' money making schemes and return files to their rightful owners without the latter having to pay loads of money."

"The biggest problem with crypto-ransomware today is that when users have precious data locked down, they readily pay criminals to get it back. That boosts the underground economy, and we are facing an increase in the number of new players and the number of attacks as a result. We can only change the situation if we coordinate our efforts to fight against ransomware. The appearance of decryption tools is just the first step on this road. We expect this project to be extended, and soon there will be many more companies and law enforcement agencies from other countries and regions fighting ransomware together", added Jornt van der Wiel, Security Researcher at Global Research and Analysis Team, Kaspersky Lab.

"This initiative shows the value of public-private cooperation in taking serious action in the fight against cybercrime," said Raj Samani, EMEA CTO for Intel Security. "This collaboration goes beyond intelligence sharing, consumer education, and takedowns to actually help repair the damage inflicted upon victims. By restoring access to their systems, we empower users by showing them they can take action and avoid rewarding criminals with a ransom payment."

Wil van Gemert, Europol Deputy Director Operations, added: "For a few years now ransomware has become a dominant concern for EU law enforcement. It is a problem affecting citizens and business alike, computers and mobile devices, with criminals developing more sophisticated techniques to cause the highest impact on the victim's data. Initiatives like the No More Ransom project shows that linking expertise and joining forces is the way to go in the successful fight against cybercrime. We expect to help many people to recover control over their files, while raising awareness and educating the population on how to maintain their devices clean from malware."

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