Another Free Ransomware Decryptor Released


Emsisoft launched a free tool that decrypts files affected by a variant of the Tycoon ransomware attack.

Malware lab, Emsisoft, released a free decryptor tool on June 4. The tool enables victims to recover files encrypted by Tycoon ransomware attacks without needing to pay the ransom.

Researchers from the BlackBerry’s security unit first discovered the ransomware. They stated in TechCrunch that Tycoon uses a Java file format to make it more difficult to detect before deploying its payload that encrypts the files.

How does Tycoon work

Speaking with Cointelegraph, Brett Callow, threat analyst of Emsisoft, said:

“Tycoon is a Java-based, human-operated ransomware that appears to specifically target smaller enterprises and is typically deployed via an attack on RDP. Java-based ransomware is unusual, but certainly not unique. Microsoft warned about another Java-based ransomware strain, PonyFinal, last month.”

On the tool, Callow also clarified some of the limitations of the free tool “Emsisoft Decryptor for RedRum”:

“(…) the tool only works for files encrypted by the original Tycoon variant, not for files encrypted by any subsequent variants. This means it will work for files that have a .RedRum extension, but not for files with .grinch or .thanos extension. Unfortunately, the only way to recover files with those latter extensions is to pay the ransom.”

A multi-OS ransomware

BlackBerry’s researchers noted that Tycoon ransomware can run on both Windows and Linux computers, employing the same technique of asking for cryptocurrency payments like Bitcoin (BTC).

The latest findings show that Tycoon infections mostly target educational institutions and software houses. Researchers from BlackBerry believe that the actual number of infections “is likely far higher.”

Furthermore, they warn that newer versions of Tycoon ransomware have been improving its attack power. Previously, decryption tools could be used to recover files for multiple victims, but that is no longer possible.

On June 3, ElevenPaths, the specialized cybersecurity unit of the Spanish telecommunications conglomerate, Telefonica, created a free tool called “VCrypt Decryptor”. This tool aims to recover data encrypted by the VCryptor ransomware amid the international initiative “No More Ransomware.”

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‘Bitcoin and Black America’ Author: Protest by Buying BTC


Author Isaiah Jackson says Bitcoin can be an effective protest against financial institutions for those who can’t take to the streets.

Bitcoin & Black America author Isaiah Jackson says that people invoking Bitcoin during the protests over the police killing of George Floyd have identified the “real enemy” — a legacy financial system that shuts out African Americans. 

Jackson spoke to Cointelegraph on June 4, saying he welcomed pictures on social media of protesters holding up signs promoting the cryptocurrency.

He said the result of black people being shut out of the economic system was tragedy. “When the economic system is broken … no matter how hard you try, you get pushed to areas where police oversight is very heavy. You get these clashes and police start killing black men and it’s all just a domino effect,” he said. “So I think them holding signs is them saying, ‘Hey once this is over, remember who the real enemy is’.” 

Jackson cited economic factors including the Federal Reserve printing money and 40 million people unemployed. “What is the strategy we could leverage for our community in the future?” he said. “I think they just realize Bitcoin could be that, so [I’m] glad to see it.”

Calls for a crypto solution

The death of George Floyd has thrown the country into turmoil, with protesters calling for police reform and equal access to justice. A few are even pushing Bitcoin as a solution, with Jackson’s name and book title appearing on signs at protests in North Carolina, New Jersey, and even London.

He’s supportive of protesters on the streets worldwide, but Jackson also sees buying Bitcoin (BTC) as an alternative solution. He’s been telling audiences on his tour for the book — which was published mid 2019 — that Bitcoin is ‘a peaceful protest’, long before Binance CEO Changpang Zhao expressed the thought in a Tweet on June 1.

“I usually say that that the most peaceful protest you can do is simply buying Bitcoin on a regular basis, because you’re just moving your money out of this system into what I believe is a better and hard money system that can be used in the future.”

Hurdles to Bitcoin adoption

Despite the benefits Jackson talked about, cryptocurrency adoption isn’t mainstream among the African American community yet. The author estimated that within the black community “maybe less than 10%” use Bitcoin and “less than 1% actually use it regularly”.

He also drew a parallel between the way some in the media reported on black communities, and how some reported on Bitcoin.

“Honestly, the perception of Bitcoin in the media has been eerily close to how black people have been perceived,” said Jackson, which includes “a lot of lies” and “projection based on misinformation”.

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