Over the course of the past several years, ransomware attacks have become the new norm with hackers. They find computer systems – personal, corporate or other – with security flaws that allow them to gain access, and then deposit code inside the systems that allows them to take control. Not until the system owner or administrator pays up – usually through cryptocurrency – is network control released. However, thanks to an initiative launched by Europol a few years ago, these hackers have found their efforts to be blocked in many cases. So far, the No More Ransom decryption tool repository has helped victims refrain from having to turn over around $632 million in ransom demands.
The repository has been around for four years now, according to Europol, and has attracted 4.2 million visitors since then. Those visitors are likely victims, contributors to the repository or just curious Netizens looking to see what’s going on (or, possibly, hackers looking to see how they can alter their scams). However, there are now 163 partners that have contributed to the library of ransomware unblocking tools available through the repository. Over the last year, 28 new tools have been added, and 140 types of ransomware can now be decrypted.
Emisisoft has been one of the primary contributors, with the malware lab having provided 54 different tools to date. Cointelegraph was able to speak with a threat analyst, Brett Callow, with the company, who asserted that the tools are helping numerous people recover data “without needing to pay the ransom, and that means less money in the pockets of cybercriminals.” He added, “The project also helps people recover data that would otherwise permanently be lost. The loss of things like wedding photos and videos of babies’ first steps is, obviously, heartbreaking for people, and being able to help them get those things back is an important part of what No More Ransom does.”
As the crypto ecosystem matures, more tools are being added to help it grow. There has never been a monetary system created that didn’t have to have serious oversight and controls put in place, thanks to a never-ending list of scammers, fraudsters and charlatans, and crypto is getting the same attention. Programs like No More Ransom and the number of independent companies involved in governing the crypto space are providing solutions that have escaped even fiat regulators and are bringing more control to crypto than ever seen with any fiat alternative.
This continued support from within the ecosystem is being bolstered now by external support from some unlikely sources. The days of governments trying to do everything possible to prevent the spread of crypto are gone – even the Office of the Comptroller of the US, which oversees most of the country’s financial institutions, recently acknowledged that banks can now provide crypto custodial services.
All of these controls and regulations will only lead to more acceptance of digital currencies as a means of conducting legitimate financial transactions. There has always been a close relationship between crypto and the gambling industry, because of the low transaction cost and the ease of use, and, as regulators continue to embrace crypto on greater levels, they will continue to provide further guidance and support. This will ultimately prove to be one of the biggest catalysts for a global explosion of crypto use.