No More Ransom: Law Enforcement and IT Security Teams Up

Ransomware is a type of malware that infects a user’s system, encrypts part or all of the system, and displays some kind of message demanding payment from the user for decryption. The No More Ransom Project is a recently launched EU-Dutch based IT Security group working on teaming up with Intel Security and various Law Enforcement agencies (13 currently) throughout the world to fight ransomware.

They provide various free guides and educational resources to teach people what ransomware is, how it works, and how to defend against it. They even have a free decryption tool for victims of ransomware attacks of the most well known viruses. During their first two months of being active they managed to decrypt data for more than 2,500 victims and keep more than $1 million of ransom out of the hands of cyber criminals.

This was interesting to me because it got me thinking about what partnerships between private industry cybersecurity groups and law enforcement agencies look like. I imagine one example could involve law enforcement confiscating computer systems from known cyber crime groups and handing them off to a private industry cybersecurity group.

Those two groups in coordination remind me of when the FBI asked for Apple’s help in unlocking the iPhone of one of the San Bernardino shooters. Apple took a stance and decided to not cooperate as much as legally possible. Ultimately, the FBI ended up, allegedly, unlocking the iPhone without Apple’s help. I’ve always perceived that, at least in the United States, tech culture is significantly defined by an anti-government attitude, especially when it comes to surveillance. No More Ransom tackles a malware issue that is different from surveillance issues so the situation is a little different but interesting nonetheless.

Would the FBI join or support a group like No More Ransom in an official capacity? How likely is this to happen when they have their own division dedicated to cyber crime specifically like ransomware?

21 thoughts on “No More Ransom: Law Enforcement and IT Security Teams Up”

  1. I really liked your post! I found it very interesting how you compared this case to the San Bernardino shooter case and addressed how the two were similar and different. I think you brought up a good point about the partnership between private industry cyber security groups and law enforcement agencies. In most cases that we have discussed in class regarding surveillance, companies haven’t cooperated with the law. However, I agree with you that this No More Ransom case is very different from the surveillance cases we had looked at in class. I think the FBI would join or support groups like No More Ransom in an official capacity. As you said, this case is different from surveillance, so the refusal for cooperation from the FBI in this matter would suggest that the FBI is encouraging ransomware, which is something that they would most likely want to avoid. I’m not sure how likely this would be to happen if they have their own division dedicated to cyber crime and specifically to ransomware because the division would probably want to handle the case on its own rather than help other groups like No More Ransom solve these kinds of cases.

  2. This is interesting to see how businesses and governments are teaming up in such a way. Ransomware sounds like it would be an incredible pain to deal with (and dangerous as well since the person who planted it could keep the payment information and continue to take from it), and it’s nice to see that it’s being dealt with in this manner. It’s nice to see companies and the government helping the common person out, especially seeing as how a lot of people don’t understand the dangers that come with Internet access.

  3. It is really important to have proper law in practice in relation to ransomware because there is increase use of technology within people and with this, there are increasing cases of such threats demanding money from people. It is therefore important to have proper law in practice to ensure protection of people data.

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