Along with the corona epidemic that is holding the world in it’s grip, there is also a malware that keeps computers in their grip: Ransomware. A program that locks all your computer files, after which your files are released in exchange for ransom. The ransom can go from a few hundred to thousands dollars or euros.

In the month of July 2020, it was the 4th anniversary of the initiative “No More Ransom”. A public-private partnership to provide a solution to ransomware without paying cyber criminals. For this, the website www.nomoreransom.org was created to help prevent and cure. There are now 164 partners participating in this initiative. They prevented $ 632 million in ransom from being paid by offering an alternative solution. The tools that are available on this website have already been downloaded more than 4.2 million times. Figures that immediately make it clear that it’s not a small problem, but that anyone can fall victim to such an attack.

Have you been a victim of these attacks?

Then you can go to the website https://www.nomoreransom.org/en/index.html and try to find the tool that can offer a solution for the variant of the ransomware that is infected on your computer. You can always contact your local computer store in the hope that they can assist you as well.

Please report the attack to the local police and CERT.be (cert@cert.be), stating the type of data carrier, operating system, method of infection, name of the ransomware (if visible), requested payment method and a screenshot or photo of your computer screen in order to give information about the attacks taking place.

It’s important to know that paying ransom does not guarantee a solution, victims who paid the ransom are often asked to pay a higher amount after the first payment or were again the victim of an attack shortly after because the infection still remained on the computer.

Prevention is better than a cure

The No More Ransom initiative only offers solutions for a number of ransomware programs that are in circulation. As a result, there are still ransomware variants, so that there is sometimes no other solution than to pay the ransom. For example, Garmin recently had to pay ransom because almost all of their services were inaccessible due to an attack on their systems. But what can you do to avoid these problems?

  • Always back up your most important files so you always have a copy.
  • Use up-to-date anti-virus software
  • Do not download programs from suspicious websites or hacked versions of programs.
  • Do not open attachments in emails or messages from unknown senders.
  • Keep in mind that links sent by friends can also be suspicious if their account has been compromised.

More information about ransomware can be found in the CERT information brochure: https://cert.be/en/paper/ransomware-protection-and-prevention