Here it is – the newest variant of the notorious TeslaCrypt ransomware. It has already been proven to be devastating on users with its other extensions, especially .micro. This new and shiny variant very cleverly uses the .mp3 file extension which resembles audio files. However, do not be mistaken, because the files are encoded with a strong mixture of three different algorithms, one of which is the military-grade AES.
|Short Description||The notorious TeslaCrypt ransomware encrypts user files and requests a payment to retrieve them.|
|Symptoms||The user may witness his files to have the .mp3 file extension as well as his wallpaper changed and new ransom note type of files(.txt, .html, .png) on his PC.|
|Distribution Method||Via malicious URLs or attachments and a Trojan.Downloader|
|Detection Tool||Download Malware Removal Tool, to See If Your System Has Been Affected by TeslaCrypt 3.0|
|User Experience||Join our forum to discuss TeslaCrypt 3.0.|
TeslaCrypt 3.0 – The Encryption
The encryption which has been reported to be used by the latest “installment” of TeslaCrypt is a strong mixture of three encryption algorithms.
This type of encryption is considered to be one of the top ciphers. This is due to the wide variety of different keys and symbols being combined in one place. In fact, the US Government uses AES-192 as well as the 256 bits to encrypt classified files, ranking them as cryptography, known as Suite B.
Also classified in the Suite B cryptography, the Secure Hash Algorithm, known as SHA is preferred to be used for secret level of protection. But there is also a stronger bit version – 384 which is preferred when top secret items are concerned. Either way, it is extremely difficult if not impossible to directly decrypt.
This type of encryption algorithm is known as Elliptic Curve Diffie–Hellman. It allows two parties to communicate in a secret manner providing each with an encryption key.
The outcome is your files looking like this:
- Your Family Photo.jpg.mp3 (without an icon)
The Bottom Line and How to Restore the Data
So, overall and all, what you have been three very strong algorithms each one used for the different purpose to make your day a hell of a lot worse. What do you do? Well, since there is no direct method to decrypt the files (it will take years even with a powerful machine) the only things that may be left to do is try two options:
Option 1: To Use Different Software or Backup to Restore Your Files
First, it is advisable NOT to have formatted your hard drive previously, but to leave it in tact instead. Before starting to restore your data, we recommend using an advanced anti-malware software to remove the malware.
Spy Hunter scanner will only detect the threat. If you want the threat to be automatically removed, you need to purchase the full version of the anti-malware tool.Find Out More About SpyHunter Anti-Malware Tool / How to Uninstall SpyHunter
This is because when you directly format your hard or solid drive, the sectors of your hard drive will forget about your files. And if your Windows OS is intact, you may still have a chance recovering them with different programs.
There are many methods to recover your files, and you lose nothing by trying them:
Restore your files if you have backup set up.
In your Start Menu, search for “File History” and open it. For Windows 10 you should see “Restore Your Files With File History” as a result. From there you may choose the date, and the system will display your files’ in the same state you left them at that date. Simply select the files you need, right-click them and export them to a secure drive.
Use file recovery software.
There are very good programs out there that scan for your files and recover them. They are originally meant to be used for deleted data, but they can also discover previous files you had because they scan the sectors of your drive thoroughly. Here are several good file recovery programs with description for each of them:
- Data Recovery Pro by Pareto Logic
- Stellar Phoenix Windows Data Recovery
- Stellar Phoenix Photo Recovery
Option 2: To Look for Weaknesses in the Code of the Malware
For that, you need to have your malicious files as samples, and you need to know definitely what you are doing. Even experienced engineers are having a hard time, because the coders of the malware have designed it to be difficult and not to have weaknesses. What is worse, the cyber-criminals are constantly improving it and are monitoring online forums and security blogs for any known methods for decryption. As soon as decryptors or another way to restore the files come up, the cyber crooks may improve the ransomware and sophisticate it even further. The latest version of TeslaCrypt is the perfect example for that.
So what do you do? You need to have the malware in a contained form and to use a Hex editor to examine the code for any weaknesses. But, in order to be aware of what you are looking for you need to have experience in reading hex code and other cyber languages. We recommend reading Zeltser’s How to Analyze Malicious Software and anything related to reverse engineering malware and discovering weaknesses in the malware’s modules and code. However, it is a time costly process, and we do not recommend it unless you know what exactly are you looking for.
From wherever you may look at it, when ransomware such as TeslaCrypt is involved, you better start thinking of a way to go around it instead of directly decrypting the files. Otherwise, the best thing you can do besides using recovery and other provided tools online is to follow security blogs and forums in case a working tool has been created. Good luck with recovering your files and make sure you follow these safety tips to prevent such intrusions in the future:
- Regularly backup your files. Since some ransomware uses code to delete your Windows backup, you may use external USB flash drive, memory card, CD/DVD or automatic online backup.
- Try downloading an external firewall that will block any other applications.
- Revise the administrative access of some programs and make sure third-party apps are not allowed through Windows Firewall.
- Use stronger passwords. Make sure that your passwords contain uppercase, lowercase letters, numbers and, if possible, symbols and spaces.
- Disable AutoPlay. Turning off this feature makes your PC safer against flash drives or other devices with malware entering physically via your USB port.
- Always set a network you connect to as a Public network. This disables file sharing. You can also disable it manually by typing Advance Sharing Options in your Windows search and turning off file sharing from the option for that.
- Disable any remote service programs. Any software that may grant remote service to your computer in various ways is a potential risk to all the computers using the software in the network. You should switch off Remote Access and look for another solution. One way is to connect remotely online using a cloud browser(Maxton, for example) and a remote desktop service (LogMeIn for example).
- Look for suspicious processes in Windows Task Manager that are by programs that are not running. Remove those programs from the Windows Programs and Features menu.
- Always update your Operating System.
- Make sure you set your mail server to block out all spam and spoof messages. A good tip is to have mail software like Outlook and Mozilla Thunderbird. They have such filters embedded in them as features.
- Make sure to isolate all computers on your network that are infected by viruses, because if the virus is a downloader or a worm it may spread throughout the network.
- Provide relevant education to your employees on external information sharing and security practices.
- Add a site and file scanning extension to your browser. It increases the safety of online browsing significantly.
- Turn off any non-essential services and devices such as Bluetooth, for example.
- Install an anti-malware software on your computer. Most anti-malware programs feature active protection against viruses and they also are good in combination with antivirus software. For maximum protection use both.