Shade (Troldesh) Ransomware Published 750,000 Decryption Keys After Shutdown.

The operators of the Shade (Troldesh) ransomware have shut down over the weekend and, as a sign of goodwill, have released more than 750,000 decryption keys that past victims can now use to decrypt their files.

Security researchers from Kaspersky Lab have confirmed the validity of the leaked keys and are now working on creating a free decryption tool.

In a short message posted in a GitHub repository, the Shade team explained what led to their decision.

“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. 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). We are also publishing our decryption soft; we also hope that, having the keys, antivirus companies will issue their own more user-friendly decryption tools. 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.”

While the Shade gang explained why they released the decryption keys, they did not explain why they shut down. Several theories have started to form among ransomware experts, yet none are based on actual tangible threat intelligence.

Prior to shutting down at the end of 2019, the Shade ransomware has been one of the oldest ransomware strains, being first spotted in 2014 and operating almost non-stop until it shut down last year.

It was also one of the most most active ransomware operations [1, 2], being distributed via a combination of email spam campaigns and exploit kits.

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