TeslaCrypt author releases master key

May 19, 2016 | 11:07

Tags: #encryption #insecurity #malware #ransom #ransomware #security

Companies: #bitcoin #eset #teslacrypt

The author of the TeslaCrypt ransomware package has apparently given up on the software, releasing a master key which allows anyone affected to decrypt their files for free.

First spotted by researchers at anti-virus specialist ESET and publicised by Bleeping Computer, the announcement came from the party or parties behind the TeslaCrypt malware - the latest in a chain of ransomware packages which silently encrypt the user's files before demanding payment in Bitcoin for the decryption key - that the platform which drives it was being shut down. Contacted via the support chat feature of the payment site - because, say what you will about ransomware authors, they like to make it as easy as possible for you to pay up - by ESET enquiring about the release of a master decryption key, those behind TeslaCrypt did just that.

In a short message to the official website, hidden behind the anonymising Tor proxy network, the authors published the master key before asking that anyone affected 'wait for other people [to] make universal decrypt software.' The anonymous author also claimed that 'we are sorry,' presumably for the effects the widespread malware has had - though there was no sign that refunds would be offered to anyone who had already paid up for their personal decryption key, unsurprisingly.

Those affected by TeslaCrypt, which spread far and wide via popular mainstream websites after being uploaded to a compromised advertising network, are advised to download a free decryption tool; the Bleeping Computer post has instructions for using one from researcher BloodDolly, while ESET has its own tool. Both are free to use and can decrypt any TeslaCrypt infection without payment.

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