Experts from the University of Florida claim that they have created a brand new software which can stop the global problem with ransomware.
Cyber criminals use ransomware for encrypting computer files and demanding a ransom in exchange for setting them free. Lately, this has become a massive problem which has taken many victims worldwide. According to the UF security experts, the only solution of the ransomware issue is called CryptoDrop – detected the malware and stopped it after it had encrypted just a handful of files.
The associate professor in UF’s department of computer and information science Patrick Traynor, worked on the new software in cooperation with the PhD student Nolen Scaife and Henry Carter, from Villanova University.
“Our system is more of an early-warning system,” Mr Scaife stated.
“It doesn’t prevent the ransomware from starting… it prevents the ransomware from completing its task… so you lose only a couple of pictures or a couple of documents rather than everything that’s on your hard drive, and it relieves you of the burden of having to pay the ransom.”
According to the test results, CryptoDrop had spotted 100% of malware samples and stopped it after an average of 10 files had been encrypted, the experts reported.
In May, this year, the FBI issued a warning stating that the number of ransomware attacks had doubled over the past year and it was expected to grow even more rapidly this year. It also said that it had received more than 2,400 complaints last year and estimated losses from such attacks at $24m for individuals and businesses. Among the victims of the ransomware attacksovernments are governments, large companies, banks, hospitals and educational institutions.
The expert at security firm Alert Logic Richard Cassidy, said of CryptoDrop: “Whilst the step taken by researchers at the University of Florida are indeed a novel way in which to detect and contain ransomware, it doesn’t serve as the ‘silver bullet’ for ransomware as a whole.”
“There are new variants being written all the time and ransomware writers will indeed take the time to dissect and understand how this new technology operates, creating versions that will attempt to either bypass detection, or at the very least search more effectively for likely sensitive files, before encrypting them, with the hope of having the biggest impact of securing a ransom payment.”
Currently, the University of Florida has a prototype which works with Windows-based systems. Having presented its paper on the technology at a conference in Japan, now the university is looking for a commercial partner for the new software.