TeslaCrypt ransomware developers terminate project, release master decryption key

We reported in 2015 that a variant of the CryptoLocker ransomware, dubbed TeslaCrypt, had been released, specifically targeting gamers by encrypting the data files belonging to several popular computer games, including Assassin's Creed, Call of Duty, and Minecraft. Later variants of the ransomware would reportedly also encrypt multimedia files, such as those with the JPG or MP3 file extensions.

Now TeslaCrypt is no more, as its developers have terminated the project. ESET reports that, in an unusual move, the developers have released a master decryption key alongside an apology to the victims of the ransomware, which can be seen in the screenshot above. The decryption key was released by the developers upon request by an ESET analyst who, upon learning that they would cease operations, contacted them anonymously via their site dedicated to receiving payments from victims.

The release of the decryption key means that TeslaCrypt victims can now recover their files without paying a ransom. The apology instructed victims to "wait for other people [to] make universal decrypt software," and ESET has done just that by releasing an updated utility, seen in the screenshot above, that allows victims to decrypt their files.

While the release is good news for victims of TeslaCrypt, users must remain ever vigilant against ransomware, especially since the percentage of attacks recently hit an all-time record high in the United States alone.

If you were a victim of TesaCrypt, ESET's decryption utility, and its related instructions, are available here.

Source: ESET | Images: Bronium Labs; ESET

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