A small victory has been achieved in the ongoing war against ransomware attacks. Dutch police officials managed to shut down a network which primarily targeted users in Belgium and The Netherlands. Despite their best efforts, a total of 5,800 devices has been infected by Wildfire over the past few months, resulting in a financial loss of 70,000 EUR.
Wildfire Ransomware Server Taken Offline
It is not the first time law enforcement agents succeed in taking down a web server spreading ransomware. Wildfire, as this particular type of malware, is known as, primarily targets computer users in The Netherlands and Belgium. A total of 5,800 computers has been infected by this malicious software since its inception.
Of those nearly six thousand infected devices, only 236 victims decided to pay the Bitcoin ransom demand. Despite this small number, the Wildfire developers raked in 70,000 EUR. That is quite a significant amount, as it means every payment was made for close to 296 Euro. While this seems on par with most other types of ransomware, the price for decryption seems to be going down with new variants.
A decryption tool for Wildfire has been developed by Intel Security and Kaspersky, which allows victims to restore file access free of charge. Shutting down this server is the first success story for the No More Ransom project, a collaboration between Europol, Kaspersky, and Intel Security.
The way this malware operated was by spreading a message in Dutch regarding an undeliverable package. By using existing courier company details, these spam emails had a legitimate appeal, which explains the high number of successful attacks. Despite this targeted Dutch-speaking campaign, it is likely the Wildfire developers originate from Eastern Europe.
It is good to see these ransomware threats being shut down as part of the No More Ransom initiative. While this is only a small victory in the bigger war, it is a notch in the belt of security experts around the world. We can only hope more servers are taken offline in the future. There is still a long way to go; that much is certain.
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