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Can ransomware victims decrypt files for free?

NetworkTigers on whether victims can decrypt files for free.

Ransomware encrypts files on infected devices, with cybercriminals demanding a ransom for the decryption key. During a successful ransomware attack, cybercriminals encrypt confidential data, preventing businesses from accessing it. If your business is infected by ransomware, it’s crucial to prevent further data breaches using free decryption tools. The tools help organizations defend against popular ransomware variants. Discover how to prevent future attacks and decrypt files without paying the ransom. 

How to decrypt ransomware files

Ransomware is decrypted using a decryption tool that learns the behavior of a specific ransomware strain and then uses this information to decrypt infected files. Implement these steps to decrypt your files. 

Identify the type of ransomware 

The first step is to identify the ransomware variant that has infected your servers by examining the file extensions and malware’s ransom note. The ID Ransomware website can help you discover the ransomware variant.

Back up encrypted files

Before decrypting files, it’s essential to back them up in case things don’t happen as expected during the decryption process. Make copies of the encrypted files and save them in the cloud or an external device. 

Download a decryption tool

If there’s a decryption tool available for the identified ransomware variant, download it from a credible source like the antivirus software provider’s website. Be sure to check if the tool is compatible with the identified ransomware strain. 

Run the decryption tool

Once you’ve downloaded the decryption tool, implement the instructions to decrypt the files. This may include choosing a folder to store the decrypted files, entering a decryption key, and choosing the encrypted files. Following the instructions and backing up encrypted data before beginning this process is important since the wrong settings can make the decryption process unsuccessful. 

Examine the decrypted files

Check the decrypted files to ensure they function correctly. Inspect the files using an antivirus program to see if there’s any remaining malware. If the files are not working properly, use another decryption tool. Also, store the decrypted files in a secure place.

Remove the ransomware

Once you’ve decrypted the files, remove the ransomware from the infected computer. Follow the decryption tools’ instructions, or use antivirus software to prevent further damage. 

How to recover from ransomware attacks

Recovering data from ransomware attacks can be a complex process. Implement these tips to recover from the attacks. 

  • Check if the hackers exfiltrated data – If you manage your clients’ data, check if the information was exfiltrated since some attacks involve theft. The hackers copy confidential information before encrypting it and threaten to expose the data unless a ransom is paid. 
  • Rebuild and restore systems – Clean your systems completely if you have an external backup before restoring the original files. Ensure the backup is from a date before the attack happened to prevent re-infection. Also, remember to update all your passwords.
  • Isolate the infected computers – Once you’ve identified which systems are affected, isolate the infected computers to prevent the malware from spreading. Also, examine other computers on your network for signs of encryption. 
  • Don’t restore your backup data immediately – Cyberattackers know this and will not hesitate to encrypt your restored information. Before restoring data, remove the virus first.
  • Report the attack – Take a picture of the ransomware demand message and report it to law enforcement. This helps identify the criminals and create different prevention methods.

Top 5 free ransomware decryption tools

Ransomware victims can use free decryption tools to recover their data without restoring the backup or paying the ransom. Here are the best decryption tools for some of the most common ransomware strains. 

  • No More Ransomware ProjectThis project is a joint initiative by McAfee, Kaspersky, Europol’s European Cybercrime Centre, and the National High Tech Crime Unit of the Netherlands’ police. The project helps ransomware victims avoid paying ransom to hackers and retrieve their encrypted information.
  • McAfee Ransomware Recover (Mr2) – This framework was created to alleviate the resources and time required to design a decryption framework from the cybersecurity community members with decryption logic and keys.
  • Avast Ransomware Decryption ToolsAvast provides 30 free ransomware decryption tools. The tools can decrypt ransomware variants such as Jigsaw, Babuk, GrandCrab, CrySiS, and Globe.
  • KasperskyKaspersky provides six free decryption tools for Rakhni Decryptor, CoinVault Decryptor, Xorist Decryptor, Shade Decryptor, Rannoh Decryptor, and Wildfire Decryptor.
  • WannaDecryptWannaDecrypt decrypts 5 ransomware strains including WannaCrypt, WannaCrypt0r, WannaCry, WCRY, and WCrypt.

Protect your business with our customized backup solutions

Ransomware attacks can be devastating to individuals and businesses. NetworkTiger provides a backup solution for ransomware data recovery If you want to get advice on storage and cybersecurity or a customized backup solution to suit the needs of your business, contact our team.

Maclean Odiesa
Maclean Odiesa
Maclean is a tech freelance writer with 7+ years in content strategy and development. She is also a pillar pages specialist and SEO expert.

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Can ransomware victims decrypt files for free?