It sounds like something out of a Hollywood blockbuster movie, however ransomware gangs behind the likes of Ziggy and Fonix have found a heart and pledged to set up a means of returning every penny of the money they have taken from businesses and individuals alike, with the full amount returned to the Bitcoin Wallets used to pay them.
On March 28th Ziggy Ransomware Decrypted posted the following message on Twitter:
“If you are infected with Ziggy ransomware and your payed money, we are ready to give back your money.
Send you payment receipt and your computer unique ID to this E-mail:……….
We will send money to your Bitcoin wallet address.
We will give back your money until 2 weeks later.”
Following the above they released the decryption keys for all affected devices.
Earlier in January Fonix also put out a statement on their Twitter account:
“I’m one fonix team admins. you know about fonix team but we have come to the conclusion. we should use our abilities in positive ways and help others. Also ransomware source is completely deleted , but some of team members are disagree with closure of the project , like telegram channel admin who trying to scam people in telegram channel by selling fake source and data. Anyway now main admin has decided to put all previous work aside and decrypt all infected systems at no cost.
And the decryption key will be available to the public.
The final statement of the team will be announced soon.
This was followed by the following statement/Tweet:
“At least we have special apology for all infected systems users.
To make up for our mistakes, we will launch a malware analyze website soon to use our abilities in positive ways.
We cannot despair of humanity, Since we ourselves are human begins”
All well and good it seems, well at least on the surface it does, but this is by no means a Hollywood movie and the reality is invariably very different indeed. Though it was claimed by one of the gangs that they had to sell their homes and valuables in order to return the money in full, the gangs have in actuality collectively made hundreds of millions of dollars in Bitcoin. By pledging to return the exact amount taken from there victims and not including the gains made through the ever inflated prices of the ponzi scheme that is called Bitcoin, the criminals have not only attempted to clear their names and give themselves a less of a guilty conscience looking better in the eyes of the public, but are walking away with approximately 70% of the money they initially took.
The real reason as to why these criminals are so eagerly willing to return the money and be done with their cyber criminal activities is not because they have a heart, but because they are scared of prison, attempting to cover their tracks and potentially avoid long jail terms if they do get caught.