If you were a victim of Cryptolocker, you can now get your files back for free and here's how. See also: How to stop CryptoLocker: prevent CryptoLocker stealing your data.
Recently, 500,000 users fell victim to a malware called Cryptolocker which encrypted files on Windows PCs then demanded a fee to allow them to be returned. However, there is now a way of getting your files back without paying the ransom – which was no guarantee in the first place.
Security experts at Fox-IT and FireEye have created an online portal called Decrypt Cryptolocker allowing victims to get the decryption key they need to recover lost files. See also: what's the best antivirus?
"Please provide your email address and an encrypted file that has been encrypted by CryptoLocker.
This portal will then email you a master decryption key along with a download link to our recovery program that can be used together with the master decryption key to repair all encrypted files on your system," states the site.
Users who have multiple compromised systems will need to repeat the processor for each machine. The firms vow to not store email addresses or use them for marketing purposes.
The site warns that: "You should only upload encrypted files that do not contain any sensitive or personally identifiable information."
Cryptolocker first appeared in September last year and gave victims 72 hours to pay a $400 fee or face the key that would unlock their files being destroyed. See also: How to avoid the best malware scams.
Analysis of the back-up database suggests that only 1.3 percent of all the people hit by the malware actually paid the ransom. Despite that low rate, the gang is believed to have netted about $3m from Cryptolocker.