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2 weeks ago

Telegraph UK

French researchers have found a way to save Windows files encrypted by the WannaCry virus, racing against a deadline as the ransomware threatens to start locking up victims’ computers first infected a week ago.

WannaCry, which started to sweep round the globe last Friday and has infected more than 300,000 computers in 150 nations, threatens to lock out victims who have not paid a sum of $300 to $600 (£230 to £460) within one week of infection.

A loose-knit team of security researchers scattered across the globe have revealed they have collaborated to develop a workaround to unlock the encryption key for files hit in the global attack, which several independent security researchers have confirmed.

But the researchers said their solution would only work in certain conditions, namely if computers had not been rebooted since becoming infected and if victims applied the fix before WannaCry carried out its threat to lock their files permanently.

A man types on a computer keyboard in front of the displayed cyber code
A French team has developed a way to save Windows files encrypted by the virus CREDIT:KACPER PEMPEL

The group includes Adrien Guinet, who works as a security expert, Matthieu Suiche, who is an internationally known hacker, and Benjamin Delpy, whose day job is at the Banque de France.

“We knew we must go fast because, as time passes, there is less chance to recover,” Delpy said after a second sleepless night of work this week allowed him to release a workable way to decrypt WannaCry at 6am this morning. He calls his free tool for decrypting infected computers without paying ransom “wanakiwi”.

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