Back in 3rd of January, malware researchers discovered a new X-Mas ransomware, wishing Merry Christmas to it’s victims. The virus encrypts the files of the infected computer, giving a deadline of 4 days for an online payment to be made to get the encrypted data back. In case you have become an unfortunate victim of the Christmas ransomware, advices are to not pay any form of ransom being requested and to read the following article which will help you remove Merry Christmas ransomware and assist with the restoration of your files.
|Short Description||Encrypts the files on the compromised computer. Displays a message with robot Santa and in it provides the ransom note.|
|Symptoms||Encrypts the files. Encrypted files become no longer openable and opens the ransom note every time Windows boots..|
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|User Experience||Join our forum to Discuss X-Mas.|
|Data Recovery Tool||Data Recovery Pro by ParetoLogic Notice! This product scans your drive sectors to recover lost files and it may not recover 100% of the encrypted files, but only few of them, depending on the situation and whether or not you have reformatted your drive.|
Merry X-Mas Ransomware – How Does It Spread
In order to infect users, the Merry Christmas ransomware has been reported by analysts to use spam campaigns that deliver malicious Microsoft Word documents as file attachments. Such infections are usually conducted via malicious macros that are actually scripts activated when the mislead user clicks on the “Enable Content” button once the document is opened.
Merry X-Mas Ransomware – Post-Infection Analysis
After an infection by this virus is caused, the ransomware acts very similar to a notorious ransomware virus, called Cerber. At first, the malware may create different files on the compromised computer. The files may be located in multiple Windows locations and under different file names, such as:
After this, the X-Mas virus adds a registry value (REG_SZ) with the name “Adobe2”. The registry value opens the ransom note of the virus, which, again, similar to Cerber ransomware is an .hta file, called “YOUR_FILES_ARE_DEAD.HTA”. The location of the value is in the following sub-key:
The virus also communicates via TCP port 443 to download the file encryption module. After this, X-Mas ransomware targets numerous websites to encrypt the files that are most widely used, such as videos, documents, pictures, database files and other files associated with well-known software.
The encrypted files carry a 5 character file extension depending on the version of the virus (.RMCM1, .RARE1, .PEGS1, .MRCR1) and look like the following:
After this has been performed, the virus opens the YOUR_FILES_ARE_DEAD.HTA file which has the same message and contact details provided as Merry Christmas ransomware, discovered back in 3rd of January, 2017.
Anyone who has become a victim of this ransomware, should know that at this stage malware researchers have not yet discovered bugs in the encryption used by it. However, analysis experts still advise users who are involved with this malware to focus on removing it and look for different methods to revert their files instead of having to pay the ransom.
Remove Merry Christmas Ransomware and Restore Encrypted Files
Before beginning any removal process of this particular virus, it is good to notice that it may have a so-called CBC (Cipher Block Chaining) mode, because in it’s ransom note, there is clearly a statement supporting this:
“Any attempts to return your files with the third-party tools can be fatal for your encrypted files!”
Whether or not the virus uses CBC mode to destroy files if tampered with is not known for certain, but it is strongly advisable to backup all your files just in case, even if they are encrypted.
For the removal of Merry Christmas ransomware, it is strongly advisable to follow the instructions below and locate and remove any files the virus may have created in the above mentioned folders.
However, to detect whether or not those files are malicious, experts advise using a more automatic approach and download an advanced anti-malware program which will take care of the removal process for you and protect you in the future as well. For more information and instructions, check the removal manual below.
After having removed the malware from your computer, advices are to focus on trying to restore your files if they have been encrypted by Merry X-Mas ransomware. We have suggested some methods to restore your files in our removal below, and we advise using them, however, bear in mind that you may not restore all of your files, unless the virus is decryptable, which if happens we will make sure to update this article with further instructions.
Manually delete X-Mas from your computer
Note! Substantial notification about the X-Mas threat: Manual removal of X-Mas requires interference with system files and registries. Thus, it can cause damage to your PC. Even if your computer skills are not at a professional level, don’t worry. You can do the removal yourself just in 5 minutes, using a malware removal tool.