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Shade ransomware is no more, operators release 750,000 decryption keys

(Image credit: Image source: Shutterstock/Nicescene)

The operators of Shade ransomware have shut down operations and apologised to past victims of their malware campaigns.

In a post published on GitHub, the operators explained they have also released more than 750,000 decryption keys, in a bid to help victims retrieve their data.

Shade ransomware, which has been around for more than five years, differs from other major ransomware campaigns, targeting primarily Russia and Ukrainian businesses.

In the official apology, the operators revealed they had halted distribution of the ransomware late last year.

"We are the team which created a trojan-encryptor mostly known as Shade, Troldesh or Encoder.858. In fact, we stopped its distribution in the end of 2019,” said the statement.

“Now we made a decision to put the last point in this story and to publish all the decryption keys we have (over 750 thousands at all). We are also publishing our decryption soft; we also hope that, having the keys, antivirus companies will issue their own more user-friendly decryption tools."

"All other data related to our activity (including the source codes of the trojan) was irrevocably destroyed. We apologise to all the victims of the trojan and hope that the keys we published will help them to recover their data," the operators added.

According to a Bleeping Computer report, experts have claimed the decryptor is challenging to use, which may pose problems for past victims. Researchers from Kaspersky, however, have confirmed the keys are at least valid and operational.

Sead Fadilpašić

Sead is a freelance journalist with more than 15 years of experience in writing various types of content, from blogs, whitepapers, and reviews to ebooks, and many more, across sites including Al Jazeera Balkans, TechRadar Pro, IT Pro Portal, and CryptoNews.