IT Pro is supported by its audience. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more

Hackers retire Troldesh ransomware and release 750,000 decryption keys

The team behind the malware has mysteriously shut it down just months after spearheading an explosion in activity

A prominent hacking outfit that deployed the ransomware known as Shade, or Troldesh, to devastating effect has “irrevocably destroyed” the Trojan and released 750,000 decryption keys.

The cyber criminals behind the malware confirmed they retired the prominent ransomware towards the end of last year after six years of activity and have apologised to victims, offering no explanation as to why. An expert with Kaspersky has confirmed the decryption keys as being genuine.

The Trojan, which made up 6% of all ransomware attacks in 2017, experienced a massive increase in detections from the fourth quarter of 2018 to the first quarter of 2019, spiking in February last year, according to Malwarebytes. This was among the most, if not the most, widely distributed malware in the first half of the year.

Those spearheading Troldesh campaigns, however, have now unexpectedly released 750,000 decryption keys, as well as its “decryption soft”, in the hope that cyber security companies can develop intuitive decryption tools.

“We are the team which created a trojan-encryptor mostly known as Shade, Troldesh or Encoder.858. In fact, we stopped its distribution in the end of 2019,” the now-former hackers said in a GitHub post. “Now we made a decision to put the last point in this story and to publish all the decryption keys we have (over 750 thousands at all).

“All other data related to our activity (including the source codes of the trojan) was irrevocably destroyed. We apologize to all the victims of the trojan and hope that the keys we published will help them to recover their data.”

Related Resource

Decade of the RATs - remote access trojans

Cross-platform APT espionage attacks targeting Linux, Windows and Android

Download now

Troldesh typically spread through malicious email attachments, normally zip files presented as something the victim must open quickly. The extracted zip was a Javasript that then downloaded the payload, which was hosted on sites with a compromised content management system (CMS).

The ransomware is thought to have been organised by Russian hackers, given the notes were often written in both English and Russian.

The cyber criminal group has offered no explanation as to why it decided to shut down its ransomware towards the end of 2019.

It’s impossible not to draw associations with the fact that Troldesh activity exploded suddenly and exponentially earlier in the year, well beyond recorded levels since it was first spotted in 2014.

Featured Resources

Join the 90% of enterprises accelerating to the cloud

Business transformation through digital modernisation

Free Download

Delivering on demand: Momentum builds toward flexible IT

A modern digital workplace strategy

Free download

Modernise the workforce experience

Actionable insights and an optimised experience for both IT and end users

Free Download

The digital workplace roadmap

A leader's guide to strategy and success

Free Download

Recommended

Darktrace AI’s Antigena helps stop ransomware attack at Dordogne GHT
ransomware

Darktrace AI’s Antigena helps stop ransomware attack at Dordogne GHT

13 Apr 2022
Sabbath hackers are targeting US schools and hospitals
ransomware

Sabbath hackers are targeting US schools and hospitals

29 Nov 2021
Out-of-hours ransomware attacks have a greater impact on revenue
ransomware

Out-of-hours ransomware attacks have a greater impact on revenue

18 Nov 2021
US and Israel join forces to fight ransomware
ransomware

US and Israel join forces to fight ransomware

15 Nov 2021

Most Popular

Raspberry Pi launches next-gen Pico W microcontroller with networking support
Hardware

Raspberry Pi launches next-gen Pico W microcontroller with networking support

1 Jul 2022
Xerox CEO John Visentin dies unexpectedly aged 59
Careers & training

Xerox CEO John Visentin dies unexpectedly aged 59

30 Jun 2022
Former Uber security chief to face fraud charges over hack coverup
data breaches

Former Uber security chief to face fraud charges over hack coverup

29 Jun 2022