FBI Springfield
Press Office
(217) 522-9675
January 30, 2018

Bloomington Man Receives 2017 FBI Director’s Community Leadership Award for His Efforts to Decrypt Ransomware as a Public Service

SPRINGFIELD, IL—Sean M. Cox, special agent in charge of the FBI Springfield Division, announced that Michael Gillespie, creator of ID Ransomware and Malwarehunters.com of Bloomington, Illinois, has been selected as the recipient of the FBI Director’s Community Leadership Award for 2017.

This special award, presented on behalf of the Director of the FBI, was formally created in 1990 as a way to honor individuals and organizations for their efforts in combating terrorism, cybercrime, illegal drugs, gangs, and other crimes leading to violence in America. Michael Gillespie is one of 56 individuals or organizations around the United States who will receive this award this year. Mr. Gillespie is being recognized for his public service, devotion and assistance to victims of ransomware in the United States and Internationally.

Michael first authored the website https://id-ransomware.malwarehunterteam.com/in March of 2016. This website enables victims of ransomware to submit data such as ransom notes and encrypted file samples which are analyzed in an attempt to determine which strain the victim was infected with. In response, the victim is provided with information to where they can learn more about the particular strain of infection, including method of and keys for decryption if available. ID Ransomware receives upwards of thousands of submissions a day and can identify nearly 500 strains of ransomware.

In addition to having cracked and decrypted multiple ransomware strains himself, Michael is plugged into a network of leading cybersecurity experts with whom he collaborates to analyze the malware and discover means of decryption so that victims can avoid paying ransom and recover their data.

Michael also develops custom applications which he offers free of charge to victims to help them recover from ransomware attacks. Examples of these tools are RansomNoteCleaner, which removes ransom notes left behind after a ransomware infection, and CryptoSearch, a tool used to find files encrypted with ransomware. Michael is active on twitter (@demonslay335) and the forums of BleepingComputer.com where he interacts with victims to further ensure they are able to recover their data when possible.

Michael is married, and employed by Facet Technologies, Bloomington, Illinois, as a software analyst.

Christopher Wray, Director of the FBI, will present the Director’s Community Leadership Award to Mr. Gillespie during an official ceremony held at FBI Headquarters in Washington, D.C., in April of 2018.