In 2016, ransomware became the number one digital threat in the world. The FBI estimates that nearly $1 billion was paid by victims last year alone.
Cybercriminals are not cutting down their attacks, in fact, they're getting worse. Just last week we told you about the largest ransomware attack on record, dubbed WannaCry. However, we do have some good news to report, a fix has been released for one of the impacted operating systems.
How to recover your files without paying ransom
WannaCry ransomware infected hundreds of thousands of computers in at least 150 countries over a short period of time. One reason it was such a successful attack is the way it was spread.
Typically, for a computer to be infected with ransomware, the user must click on a malicious link. In the case of WannaCry, it spread like a worm. So if one computer on a network was infected, it spread to all vulnerable computers connected to that network. The attacker exploited a vulnerability in Windows operating systems.
Once a gadget is infected with WannaCry, its files are encrypted and a ransom note appears on the screen. The criminal behind the attack is demanding $300 in Bitcoin payments to decrypt the victim's device. Following is an example of what the ransom note looks like:
Image: Example of WannaCry ransom note.
Instead of paying the $300 ransom, researcher Adrien Guinet has published a free tool to recover your files. The tool retrieves the private RSA key used by WannaCry.
Note: This fix only works for Windows XP users, it won't work if you're using a different version of Windows.
Click here if your computer was infected with WannaCry ransomware and you are running Windows XP. After clicking the link you will find detailed instructions on the page on how to recover your files.
Microsoft has patched the flaw that allowed WannaCry to spread, but we expect to see different versions pop-up in the very near future. Click here to learn how to protect yourself from ransomware attacks so you're prepared.