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In November 2013, I reported on the new and devastating ransomware called CryptoLocker. This nasty malware locks up all your files with military-grade encryption. The only way you can recover you files is to pay the ransom (reportedly $300.00) within 72 hours. If you don’t pay within that time period, the encryption key is destroyed and your files are gone for good.
Now the GOOD NEWS
This May the bad guys distributing this malware and collecting the ransoms (reportedly to the tune of $3,000,000 total) were busted. That’s good enough news, but it gets even better.
For those who lost access to their files due to CryptoLocker infection, but who may not have paid the ransom or otherwise were not successful in decrypting their files, there is now a solution.
Some really smart guys at FireEye and Fox-IT have broken the encryption process. They can recover the private encryption key that was used to lock your files and give you a program that will recover all your affected files. What’s more, they’ll do it for free. That makes them not only smart guys, but VERY GOOD GUYS, too.
The process of recovering your files is simple. Just access their Website, send them one of your files that was encrypted with CryptoLocker, and provide your email address. They will send back a master key and recovery program that will decrypt your files and make them readable again.
They do warn that some files might not be recoverable, especially if you were infected with one of the variants of CryptoLocker that have been floating around.
And again … they do all this for free! Let’s hear it for FireEye and Fox-IT.
That’s Terrific, but…
Don’t let this make you complacent. The best way to keep you valuable data safe is still to mount a strong defense. Install anti-virus and anti-malware software, practice safe browsing, and backup-backup-BACKUP. Use a backup program that saves dated variants of your files, so if you become infected, you can easily recover the latest good version of your data.