Trend Micro builds a way out of ransomware

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Ransomware is one of the more frustrating security problems at the moment, locking your files down if you have the grace to cross one and open a link, but security group Trend Micro has a fix ready.

And that fix is coming in the form of a tool that can decrypt the locked down files if you happen to get caught in the grips of some ransomware.

That’s a bit of good news, anyway, for anyone who has had the misfortune to click on one of the ransomware links, because while the normal suggestion is to delete the files and go back to a backup rather than pay the ransom, not everyone will want to do that.

“Don’t succumb to hackers demands, because there’s no guarantee paying will retrieve any stolen data,” said Tim Falinski, Consumer Director for Trend Micro in Australia and New Zealand. “We’re offering these tools to empower users and organisations to be able to rise above the ransom fee.”

As for how the tool works, Trend Micro has based it on what it says is a “public disclosure of keys when the criminals get arrested”, with Trend Micro’s researchers reverse engineering the tool out of the code and other vulnerabilities.

“Most ransomware usually includes a text file or html file to inform the user that his or her system has been infected by a certain type of ransomware,” said Falinski. “Using this information, an affected user can select the suspected ransomware name to decrypt files.”

Avoiding ransomware in the first place is the best way to not get infected, and the best way to do this comes from having internet security software installed to at least block the automatic installation of the virus.

It is worth noting that you can still install security exploits if you force it, so if you’re at all concerned, make sure to never click on the links on unusual or unknown emails, and if the email suggests that you need to or that an important file is connected to it, avoid at all costs, as that’s how they get you.

And always backup, because even the most gadgety of folk can still get infected or lose data.

If you are dealing with ransomware, however, you may want to give Trend Micro’s tool a test to see if it can help you. For now, it will only work with Windows machines, but Trend has said if ransomware appears on other operating systems, it could release tools for each location.

“We are constantly working to update our tools based on our customer’s requirements, in the meantime it’s a timely reminder that the best protection against ransomware is preventing it from ever reaching your system,” said Falinski.