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Scientists in Florida have developed software to stop ransomware in its tracks, sources from the BBC have confirmed. According to reports, the software called “CryptoDrop” can detect malware and stop it in its tracks.
This is big news, especially for businesses who have reportedly lost millions in paying ransomware demands because it’s less costly just to pay up and move on as opposed to hours lost getting systems back online which cost organisations even more money.
Ransomware encrypts files – i.e. locking people out of their own data. Criminals then charge a fee to unlock the encrypted files, blackmailing their victims to get back in to their own systems.
The software has been described as an “early warning system” that tracks and stops malware as it’s in the process of encrypting files. Essentially it stops it from finishing its malicious job, and so far, the success rate is at 100%.
It is good news, as ransomware continues to rise, costing businesses literally millions of pounds each year.
The software can stop the malware early after it has only infected a few files. The average number of files infected before the software spotted the malware and stopped it was around 10 files. With computers containing thousands upon thousands of files, that’s pretty good going.
One of the major problems with organised cyber criminals is that they often conduct their activities like a real legitimate business. Ransom demands are not set too high for the business they target – which in economics is the principle of a person’s “marginal propensity to pay.”
On top of that, they plough funds they earn from successful jobs back in to researching new ways of enhancing the technology they use. With news of the breakthrough, we will probably see cyber criminals now looking in to how they can get past the software.
And so, the almost “endless” cycle of curing the problem and the problem evolving will be set to continue.
All in all, the news is good – but just how long will it last?
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