Intel Security and Kaspersky Lab have joined forces with the Dutch National Police and the European police agency Europol on a new cyber security initiative.

Dubbed No More Ransom, the effort between law enforcement and private sector security firms is aimed at informing the public about the dangers of ransomware, how it works and how to protect themselves. The portal also helps those that have already become infected recover their data without having to pay a ransom to the attacker.

Ransomware, as you may know, is a type of malware that holds a user's data hostage via encryption, only releasing the decryption key after the infected target has paid a sum of money. Individuals are most often the targets of ransomware although lately, there has been an uptick in the number of infections involving corporations, government agencies and even healthcare providers.

At present, the portal contains four decryption tools for various types of ransomware, the latest of which was developed for the Shade variant just last month. Shade, a particularly nasty piece of ransomware, uses two random 265-bit AES keys to encrypt data: one for the file's contents and one to encrypt the file name. Most of the Shade infections have occured in Austria, Germany, Kazakhstan and Russia although activity has also been observed in the US, Czech Republic, France and Italy.

Kaspersky claims that the number of ransomware attacks shot up by 550 percent over the past few years, from 131,000 in 2014-2015 to 718,000 in 2015-2016.