If you're one of the 500,000 victims hit by the cryptolocker ransomware blight that swept the UK over the past year, your luck might be about to turn. A new tool developed by security experts FireEye and Fox-IT has cracked the cryptolocker curse, and made it finally possible to remove the nasty virus from your infected machines.
To refresh your memory, CryptoLocker is a Trojan that encrypts documents on victims' computers and holds them ransom for $300 (£185). If you don't cough up the money, CryptoLocker threatens that it will delete the decryption key, rendering the infected files unreadable. At one point, CryptoLocker claimed over 10,000 victims in one week. The National Crime Agency (NCA) has estimated that around 15,000 computers may currently be infected in the UK. Worldwide, it runs into the millions.
The new tool is simple. Users simply have to provide your email address and an encrypted file that has been encrypted by CryptoLocker.
The portal will then email you a master decryption key along with a download link to a recovery program that can be used together with the master decryption key to repair all encrypted files on your system.
Users trying to disinfect multiple machines should bear in mind that each infected system will require its own unique master decryption key. So in case you have multiple systems compromised by CryptoLocker, you will need to repeat this procedure per compromised system.
Back in June, the UK's National Cyber Crime Unit put out a perplexing piece of advice: users had two weeks to protect themselves from the Gameover Zeus and Cryptolocker malware, after a spectacular sinkholing operation.