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CryptoDrop acts as 'early warning system' against ransomware

Scientists from the University of Florida have identified software that can potentially stop ransomware attacks.

The software, which has been dubbed CryptoDrop, can detect the ransomware and stop it before it encrypts all the files on an infected computer. Ransomware typically encrypts computer files remotely so that the hackers can then demand money in exchange for unlocking the files.

This potential solution comes after warnings from the FBI in May saying that the number of ransomware attacks had more than doubled over the past 12 months and was expected to grow at an even more rapid rate this year. According to the FBI, ransomware attacks had cost businesses nearly $24 million (£18 million), and they had received over 2,400 complaints about ransomware attacks.

In tests, CryptoDrop had a perfect score, achieving 100 per cent of malware samples and stopping the attack from progressing after an average of 10 files had been encrypted.

Patrick Traynor, an associate professor at the University of Florida’s department of computer and information science department who worked on the software, said: “Our system is more of an early-warning system. It doesn't prevent the ransomware from starting… it prevents the ransomware from completing its task… so you lose only a couple of pictures or a couple of documents rather than everything that's on your hard drive, and it relieves you of the burden of having to pay the ransom."

Currently, the software only works with Windows-based systems, but it’s hoped that after presenting a paper on CryptoDrop, it will attract commercial partnerships.

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