GandCrab, the ransomware which targeted more than 1.5 million victims around the world, has been rendered useless (opens in new tab), thanks to joint action from the FBI, London’s Met Police, Europol and BitDefender.
These three law enforcement agencies, together with cybersecurity experts, have developed a tool that can successfully decrypt files encrypted by GandCrab 5.2 – the latest version – as well as many of its variants.
"In more than a year of operation, we estimate GandCrab has claimed more than 1.5 million victims around the world, both home users and corporations," BitDefender noted. "GandCrab operators and affiliates boldly claimed on private underground forums recently that the team behind the malware has extorted more than $2 billion from victims."
It’s relatively safe to assume that we won’t be seeing new variants of GandCrab, either, as the ransomware’s creators recently said that they are willing to call it a day and just retire. They’re saying they had earned more than $2 billion (opens in new tab) since GandCrab’s inception.
This is not the first time BitDefender has gone after GandCrab. Late last year, the security firm announced it successfully managed to retrieve files encrypted by versions 1, 4 and 5 of the ransomware. Europol was in on the action even then, together with the Romanian police, and the help from the FBI.
“The release of this decryption tool is a spectacular breakthrough that highlights the effectiveness of collaboration between security vendors and law enforcement agencies,” a Bitdefender spokesperson said back then.
“We have spent months on crypto-research and deployed considerable infrastructure to make this possible and help victims regain control of their digital lives at no cost.”
Image source: Shutterstock/Carlos Amarillo