Emsisoft customer stories: When Harry met Ransomware

Emsisoft customer stories: When Harry met Ransomware

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Every business knows that product reviews are the best kind of advertising because they come from visitors who have already experienced firsthand how good your product really is. Here at Emsisoft, we too know that the most important reviews come from you, our customers. Our team genuinely reads and values every email, social media comment and product review we receive, but every once in awhile a story comes along that truly touches us. Meet ‘Harry,’ a 53 year-old working professional who was the victim of a ransomware attack. His story on how we played a small part in preserving precious memories was a great reminder of why we value working beyond what is expected of a business and helping people purely because you are able. 

Harry’s worst nightmare came true

Harry was sitting at his computer when every user’s worst nightmare came true. He was met with a scary lockout screen and a ransom note requesting bitcoins for the release of his personal files. Harry works from his home computer and was faced with the loss of years and years worth of vital and private data. Worst of all, his sister passed away last year and the thought of losing his precious photos of her was too painful. As a customer of Emsisoft, Harry has had access to many blog posts written specifically to improve user security knowledge and offer assistance in times of need. Harry headed to our website and found our decryption software page.

He sent our team this lovely email after one of our decrypters recovered his data.

“I’m a 53 year-old man sitting here crying like a baby because I am so grateful your software has worked to save my 20+ years of data, personal information and photos that can never be replaced. I have been up all night, worried sick, shocked that I was dumb enough to open what I thought was a FedEx email; to be a victim of ransomware, when your decrypt software worked I was simply overcome with emotion. Attached is a picture of my deceased sister wearing a prom dress, she [sic] died of liver failure last year. I thought this photo was gone for life. There are some sick souls that would launch such a horrible, ransom attack against someone they don’t even know. But what surprises me even more is the fact that the person or persons who do this are amazingly smart, with such great talent. I just can’t say thank you enough… There are still good people in the world.”

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Ransomware encrypted all of his private data

Ransomware is now the most consistently problematic type of malware to affect any and all internet capable devices. Both home users and businesses are targeted. We explored ransomware and preventative measures on our blog:

An exploitative crime, ransomware is a kind of malware that encrypts your personal data or locks your entire PC. If infected you will be asked to pay a “ransom” via an anonymous service (such as a Bitcoin page) in order to unlock your computer and free your data.
Ransomware makes up a huge part of today’s active threats as it turned out to be one of the easiest and highest income earners for attackers. All other malware makes its developers money indirectly (by using or selling your computer power), but ransomware directly asks you (the victim) for cash by putting you in a situation in which you feel forced to pay.

This is exactly what happened to Harry and why the Emsisoft team are so dedicated to offering free services to decrypt ransomware and keep money out of the hands of criminals. 

Emsisoft helped to return access

Security researcher and Chief Technology Officer at Emsisoft, Fabian Wosar, often makes headlines for his interactions with ransomware developers. After repeatedly cracking the ransomware strains of the Apocalypse family, he had his own ransomware named after him in a bid to see him blamed online for the creation of ‘Fabiansomware’ – which, obviously, he had no association with. In the past weeks, he has had fs0ciety developers offering to sell him decrypter keys for strains he had cracked many weeks prior and saw the return of Apocalypse when they contacted him and asked him to help them fix a bug in their code. Fabian works tirelessly to crack new strains of ransomware as soon as he is made aware of them, ensuring there are available fixes for our users.

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Offering free help for emergencies is what we do

  • If you have been infected but you don’t know what type of ransomware you have been infected with, MalwareHunterTeam have your back. IDRansomware checks specific signatures and features of the code to determine which strain is responsible for your loss of data. Once you know which strain of ransomware you are dealing with, we can find a decrypter key that works for you. To learn more about how security researchers identify ransomware, see this interview with security researcher Michael Gillespie on our blog.
  • To protect your computer from malware, always run a premium security solution with Anti-Ransomware blocking technology such as Emsisoft Anti-Malware.
  • Run Emsisoft Emergency Kit for a second opinion or a system clean to be sure there is nothing lurking that your antimalware product has missed. This is a free download and can be run without installation. Emsisoft doesn’t charge for emergencies as we have demonstrated in this case study, so you can clean your system without the fear of extra cost.

It’s happy endings like Harry’s that make it all worthwhile for our team. With online crime on the constant rise, it’s nice to see a win for the good guy. Thanks for sharing your story with us Harry.

Have a nice (malware-free) day!