Michael Gillespie, the the Ransomware Superhero from Normal, Illinois
November 5, 2019 8:44 AM   Subscribe

At Nerds on Call, [Michael] Gillespie was known as the Swiss Army Knife for his versatility. So when a client was hit by TeslaCrypt ransomware in 2015, Gillespie was assigned to recover the files. That's the brief origin story of the Ransomware Superhero from Normal, Illinois (ProPublica), who has created 90% of the decryptors available on BleepingComputer, and is the coder of ID-Ransomware, where his log of ransomware decryption requests has helped the FBI, particularly in last year’s indictment of two Iranian hackers (Justice.gov) wanted in connection with SamSam ransomware. [MalwareHunterTeam previously.]
posted by filthy light thief (11 comments total) 30 users marked this as a favorite
 
There's a lot in this article that makes me happy: "His paternal grandmother, a video gamer, introduced him to online role-playing games such as RuneScape."
posted by pinothefrog at 9:49 AM on November 5 [3 favorites]


A cancer survivor who works at a Nerds on Call computer repair shop and has been overwhelmed by debt — he and his wife had a car repossessed and their home nearly foreclosed on — the 27-year-old Gillespie has become, with little fanfare or reward, one of the world’s leading conquerors of an especially common and virulent cybercrime: ransomware. Asked what motivates him, he replied, “I guess it’s just the affinity for challenge and feeling like I am contributing to beating the bad guys.”
What a good person for doing this kind of stuff because it's the right thing to do and he doesn't want the bad guys to win. Dude deserves a medal.
posted by Fizz at 9:50 AM on November 5 [9 favorites]


HUZZAH for Normal! HUZZAH for the Gallery! And HUZZAH for this here ransomware superhero!
posted by NoMich at 10:15 AM on November 5


I really really needed to read a story today about somebody like this. Thank you.
posted by Sokka shot first at 10:23 AM on November 5


Is there a gofundme (or Patreon or similar) for this guy?
posted by bz at 10:26 AM on November 5


Turns out there is a gofundme for him. Pathetically funded so far.
posted by bz at 10:29 AM on November 5 [5 favorites]


Dude deserves a medal.

Dude deserves a medal and an adequate income and universal health care.
posted by anastasiav at 11:03 AM on November 5 [18 favorites]


He's also on Patreon.
posted by reductiondesign at 4:19 PM on November 5 [5 favorites]


It is absolutely ridiculous that a person like this, who is volunteering their skills to people and performing a public utility, can have their family screwed over by money and debt. Fuck that.
posted by gucci mane at 7:59 PM on November 5 [4 favorites]


bz: Turns out there is a gofundme for him. Pathetically funded so far.

Started by a "concerned citizen" who says he'll send all funds to Michael.

reductiondesign: He's also on Patreon.

Where he's gone from 88 patrons when the Gofundme was first posted, to 183 as of today. And his gift to patrons, beyond supporting ransomware decrytpers and identifying is animal pictures ("You will have access to a private feed of pictures of my animals that I will occasionally post. I have 8 cats, one rabbit, and a dog. :)")
posted by filthy light thief at 6:28 AM on November 6 [3 favorites]


"Started by a "concerned citizen" who says he'll send all funds to Michael. "

From the gofundme page:

"ALL FUNDS WILL GO TO MICHAEL.
I'm only doing this as a concerned citizen. My verified Twitter is here ; my LinkedIn is here , my verified Facebook is here ... so you can easily see who I am and make a judgement about my credibility."

Looks pretty legit to me.
posted by bz at 11:43 AM on November 6


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