Petya ransomware finally has a fix, no need to pay ransom

Late last month, a new kind of ransomware burst into the scene and threatened not just files but entire hard drives. Unabashedly calling itself "Petya", the ransomware targeted and encrypted entire hard drives instead of single files. Not to belittle the threat, it only took a week or two for the security community to come up with a solution. Although the process is rather involved, the good news is that you won't have to pay a single cent. At least not to the malware authors or its users.

Ransomware, the newest threat to rock the malware scene, is getting more widespread, more brazen, and, consequently, more dangerous. While TeslaCrypt 3 perhaps remains the one with the most potential for longterm damage, the Petya ransomware is no less potent. By targeting whole drives, it leaves users very little wiggle room to attempt to recover the entire drive without paying the ransom. At least until now.

The solution comes in two parts and from two different people. The actual algorithm that generates the decryption password was developed by a Twitter user who goes by "leostone". In essence, you simply paste a long string of characters harvested from the infected hard disk into a web page and then wait for the password that will rescue said hard disk. That process can take only a few seconds.

The harder part, however, is getting that long string of characters in the first place. If done manually, it will involve an almost arcane process that only the finest of computer wizards will be accustomed to. Luckily, Fabian Wosar created a special tool that automates almost all of that for you. Almost. Affected users will need to perform a few manual tasks, which boils down to taking out the infected hard drive and then plugging it into a PC (or a laptop via an enclosure or dock) with a clean, working Windows system. For a regular layman, that alone might be daunting. But to recover important files and data, that might very well be worth the sweat.

And while neither are charging for their tools, leostone does have a donate button on his web page. Just in case you're feeling grateful for not having to pay ten times what you would be donating instead.

VIA: Bleeping Computer