French researchers reported on Friday that they finally discovered a way to save Windows files affected by WannaCry encryption attack, which started last Friday and has infected over 300,000 computers in nearly 150 countries.
WannaCry notified users of infected computers that they had to pay money if they want to recover their encrypted data. They demanded amount in a range of $300 to $600 and issued a one week deadline.
A group of security experts around the world collaborated to find a solution to unlock the encryption code for files affected in the attack. However, the researchers notified that the solution works around in specific conditions, for instance, if user applied the fix ahead of WannaCry threat of locking up their data and if victims had not rebooted their computers after the attack.
Europol affirmed the solution developed by the team of security researchers. Europol tweeted that its European Cybercrime Centre had checked the team’s new tool and found that it can recover files in certain circumstances.
The security team includes famous hacker Matthieu Suiche, a security expert Adrien Guinet and Benjamin Delpy, who works at Banque de France. After consecutively working for two days, Delpy said “we knew we must go fast because, as time passes, there is less chance to recover.”
Delpy named his free solution “wanakiwi” for decrypting infected devices without paying money. He added that energy, banking and few government intelligence agencies from a number of European countries had approached him regarding the solution.
Tests reveal that Wanakiwi works on Windows 7 and older versions of Windows XP and 2003, according to Suiche, who believes that the rapidly designed solution also works on Windows Vista and Windows 2008.
Suiche said “this is not a perfect solution, but this is so far the only workable solution to help enterprises to recover their files if they have been infected and have no back-ups.”