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Finally, help is on the way if your devices are captured by ransomware

The Dutch police’s High Tech Crime Unit and Eurpol’s European Cybercrime Centre have launched a public-private partnership with Kaspersky Lab and Intel Security to help combat ransomware.

No More Ransom has so far gathered 160,000 keys from ransomware attacks and is asking people who become victims to report it using the site. There are currently four free tools on offer to help visitors decrypt certain types of malware.

Of course, this can help people unlock their files if the ransomware is from a known attack, but it’s likely many will still lose data forever, at least in the short term.

Ransomware costs little to deploy as it’s effectively ‘off the shelf’ for would-be criminals and only a small change needs to be made to the code to fox many cybersec systems.

According to the FBI, ransomware victims in the US alone paid out $209 million in the first quarter of 2016 — compared to $24 million for the whole of 2015.

But the overall line on making payments to your attacker in a bid to retrieve files is — don’t.

“The general advice is not to pay the ransom. By sending your money to cybercriminals you’ll only confirm that ransomware works, and there’s no guarantee you’ll get the encryption key you need in return.”

The website also attempts to educate people on how to avoid this rapidly growing cyber security threat as there’s no single tool that can solve this problem right now.

The project is a non-commercial initiative and the team is appealing for more partners to help address this global challenge.

In a detailed analysis of the current ransomware threat, written for NS Tech, Jeremiah Grossman, chief trust officer at eSentinelOne, called it the “crime of the century”.