Ransomware, for those unfamiliar, is where your computer’s files get encrypted by someone else and to decrypt them, you’ll need to pay the hackers a ransom to get the decryption keys. A ransomware hack that seems to be making its rounds is the Muhstik Ransomware, in which the hackers typically demand a payment in Bitcoin, worth around $700, to get your files back.
However, it seems that the hackers might have targeted the wrong person where they managed to encrypt the files belonging to a programmer by the name of Tobias Fromel. While Fromel had to pay the ransom to get his files back, little did the hackers know that Fromel has a bit of hacking experience of his own, where he decided to get his revenge by hacking the command and control server belonging to the attackers.
While he did not manage to bring them down, what he did manage to do is obtain 3,000 or so decryption keys which he then released for free on Pastebin. This means that if you are a victim of the Muhstik attack and don’t want to pay the ransom to get your files back, there is a chance that your decryption key could be part of Fromel’s release.
A company by the name of Emsisoft has also since released a decryptor which will help victims decrypt their computers. Fromel acknowledges that while he did get his revenge, it’s not exactly legal, so that’s something to consider if you plan on embarking on a similar journey as he did.