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MegaCortex Ransomware Decryptor

Updated on 2023-01-08: MegaCortex decrypter

Romanian antivirus maker Bitdefender has published a decrypter for the MegaCortex ransomware that will allow past victims to recover their encrypted files without paying the ransom.

Updated on 2023-01-06:: MegaCortex Ransomware Decryptor

A decryptor for the MegaCortex ransomware is now available. The tool was developed as a joint effort by Europol, Bitdefender, the NoMoreRansom Project, the Zürich Public Prosecutor’s Office, and the Zürich Cantonal Police. Bitdefender has also published a tutorial for using the decryptor.

Note

  • This is a cool free tool, can run from wherever you drop it, no install required, and even has email support and instructions (see the No More Ransom link below.) BitDefender’s decryptor will handle data encrypted by “LockerGoga” or “MegaCortex.” It has options to scan a system automatically and make a backup of the encrypted files in case something goes wrong. If you have encrypted files that didn’t previously decrypt properly, you could try again with this tool, assuming you’ve not already recreated the contents.
  • While certainly good news for some victims, it isn’t the long-term solution. As we have come to expect, criminal gangs will modify their ransomware in future releases to continue to exploit victims. The real solution has to focus on the root cause of successful ransomware attacks – human error, coupled with lack of configuration and patch management. The recently published ‘Blueprint for Ransomware Defense’ can serve as an action plan for ransomware mitigation, response, and recovery.
  • These ransomware decryptors are nice stop gaps, but let’s be honest: this isn’t a full solution for every piece of ransomware. It will eliminate one specific variant of the problem, and help shut this one down, but if there is a badly written software package the authors will learn and adjust. We really need to go back to basics to solve this problem which is the ugly truth.
  • Well done to all involved in this research and a reminder to those that become victims of ransomware that it may be worth retaining an infected device(s) as a decryptor tool may become available at a later date.
  • Lessons for the rest of us:

Cryptography is harder than it looks. –Bruce Schneier

Systems and implementations are at least as hard as codes and ciphers. –Brian Snow

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Overview

Bitdefender, in partnership with Europol and other law enforcement agencies, released a decryptor for the MegaCortex ransomware family, responsible for around 1,800 infections. Read more: Bitdefender Partnership with Law Enforcement Yields MegaCortex Decryptor

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