.combo Files Virus (Dharma Ransomware) - Remove + Restore Files
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.combo Files Virus (Dharma Ransomware) – Remove + Restore Files

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This article has been made with the clear purpose to help explain more about Dharma Ransomware virus’s latest version and help you remove this ransomware infection from your computer and try to restore files, encrypted with the .combo file extension added to them.

Reports from all over the world have started to sum up about infections with a new and dangerous ransomware virus – Dharma Ransomware (.combo variant). Like other versions of Dharma ransomware this virus uses advanced encryption modes to encode the files on your computer and make them no longer to be able to be opened, converting them into the following format – Filename.id{ID-here}.[combo@tutanota.de].combo. This dangerous variant of Dharma ransomware has one clear goal and that is to extort victims to pay a hefty ransom fee. This operation is done by leaving behind a ransom note type of file that contains the ransom instructions and aims to induce fear that the victim must pay the ransom “fee” or the files will likely be lost forever. If your computer has been infected with the .combo variant of Dharma ransomware, you need to understand that the situation is serious. Keep reading this article to learn in-depth and removal information about Dharma ransomware’s latest variant and understand alternative ways on how you can try and recover .combo files without having to pay ransom.

Threat Summary

Name.combo Dharma Virus
TypeFile Encryption Ransomware
Short DescriptionA new iteration of the Dharma/CrySiS ransomware viruses. Utilizes sophisticated encryption mode on data of infected machines in order to extort victims to pay in BitCoin for their encrypted files.
SymptomsEncrypts documents, images, videos and other important files and adds the .combo file suffix plus a unique ID and the e-mail to pay the ransom.
Distribution MethodSpam Emails, Email Attachments, Executable files
Detection Tool See If Your System Has Been Affected by .combo Dharma Virus

Download

Malware Removal Tool

User ExperienceJoin Our Forum to Discuss .combo Dharma Virus.
Data Recovery ToolWindows Data Recovery by Stellar Phoenix 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.

.combo Dharma Ransomware – Update December 2018

It seems that infections by the .combo variant of Dharma ransomware have slowly started to decrease. This is likely as a result of new variants coming out with new extensions, but with little distribution. Not only this, but what appears to be a decryption method which works effectively has been discovered by Twitter user Maroon Ibrahim, who tweeted the following:


Even though we cannot say for sure if the .combo variant is indeed decryptable, we advise you to be careful when contacting unknown entities and sending them your personal files. Always wait for a decryption software to be released and if so, we will upload a link to the download of such tool on our blog, so keep following this page for more updates.

.combo Dharma Ransomware – Second Update December 2018

THe .combo Dharma ransomware has come out in a new variant, using a different e-mail, but the same .combo file extension, az researcher GrujaRS has tweeted:


.combo Dharma Ransomware – Information Database:

.combo Dharma Virus - How Does It Infect

.combo Dharma Virus – How Does It Infect

A lot of methods of infection have been used when it comes to Dharma ransomware viruses and the latest .combo files variant is no different than that. The ransomware virus aims to deceive users that it is a legitimate type of program or a document that is either sent to them via e-mail or uploaded online. If this variant of Dharma ransomware is sent via malicious e-mail spam, the crooks may make it as if the e-mails are coming from big companies from the likes of FedEx, DHL, PayPal and others. Besides containing convincing messages, the e-mails also have the attachment posing as a seemingly important document, such as:

  • Order cancellation files which you may or may not have cancelled.
  • An invoice for a purchase.
  • Receipt of a purchase.
  • Banking statement document.
  • Other important files.

The e-mail messages sent in relation with Dharma ransomware’s .combo version can also be made as if they originate from different employees of companies or even someone you may know, for example:

The .combo Dharma ransomware strain has been found to use a sophisticated email-based infection pattern. A captured strain that acts against Russian-speaking targets shows that the payload carriers are distributed in messages disguised as accounting data. The body contents reads that the sender is forwarding a spreadsheet or database with sensitive data. The file may be attached directly to the message or linked in the body contents.

The criminals will deliver an archived file. Once it is opened by the victim users they wil find several files among which a second archive files. If it is opened and extracted a script will be executed leading to the ransomware deployment. Its interesting to note that there may be different templates and ready-made scenarios localized in the most popular languages.

If the files that are spreading the .combo variant of Dharma ransomware are uploaded online, they may usually reside on malicious websites, or legitimate torrent sites that may be compromised in a way. Such files often pretend to be game patches, software cracks, activators, loaders, key generators, fixes, portable versions of programs, portable games and many other programs you may be looking to download.

Dharma .combo Virus Variant - Activity

Dharma .combo Virus Variant – Activity

Dharma ransomware is the type of virus which was active for quite some time now. The ransomware, which first began infecting victims back in March, last year with it’s variant that adds the .dharma file extension and was initially decryptable. But soon after, other versions of Dharma started flowing in, each of which with new updates and without a working way to decrypt the files:

When it comes to the current variant of Dharma ransomware, using the .combo extension, it has quickly come to light, that this nasty piece of code is a part of the .cezar family of Dharma (see above), which naturally means that they share the similar code and likely the same encryption modes.

When this Dharma ransomware variant infects your computer, the malware effectively starts to perform a set of malicious activities, the main idea of which is to give the virus permissions to run as an administrator on your computer. The activities that may be performed by the .combo files virus are likely to be the following:

  • Creating mutexes.
  • Creating value entries in the Windows Registry Editor.
  • Erasing backups.
  • Create scheduled tasks.
  • Disabling system recovery.
  • Changing the wallpaper on your computer.
  • Modifying system files and registries.

Among the activities of Dharma .combo ransomware is to drop it’s payload on your computer. The virus may drop various files with different names in the commonly targeted Windows directories below:

After creating it’s malicious files, the .combo variant of Dharma ransomware may strike where it hurts the most and attack the Run and RunOnce registry sub-keys of your Windows Registry Editor in order to set malicious entries that get it’s virus file that is responsible for encoding your important data to run automatically when you log in Windows. the Run and RunOnce sub-keys have the following locations in the Registry Editor:

→ HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\

Once these registry sub-keys are modified, the virus may then run a malicious script file (.bat). This file is used in order for the .combo variant of Dharma ransomware to delete the backed up shadow copies of your important documents and then disable Windows Recovery so that you cannot use it to get the files back via Windows Backup:

→ sc stop VVS
sc stop wscsvc
sc stop WinDefend
sc stop wuauserv
sc stop BITS
sc stop ERSvc
sc stop WerSvc
cmd.exe /C bcdedit /set {default} recoveryenabled No
cmd.exe /C bcdedit /set {default} bootstatuspolicy ignoreallfailures
C:\Windows\System32\cmd.exe” /C vssadmin.exe Delete Shadows /All /Quiet


Dharma .combo Ransomware - Encryption Activity

Dharma .combo Ransomware – Encryption Activity

Similar to other versions of Dharma ransomware, this variant also uses AES encryption algorithm to encode your files. AES is also known as Advanced Encryption Standard and is using asymmetric key generation techniques after encrypting files. The algorithm is par of the Suite.B category of ciphers that are also used by the NSA to encrypt sensitive information and hence keep prying eyes away from it.

The encryption activity starts with the .combovariant of Dharma ransomware to begin to check for various file types to encrypt and among those file types are the ones that are likely to be important. In other words these are the most commonly used file types by users, such as:

“PNG .PSD .PSPIMAGE .TGA .THM .TIF .TIFF .YUV .AI .EPS .PS .SVG .INDD .PCT .PDF .XLR .XLS .XLSX .ACCDB .DB .DBF .MDB .PDB .SQL .APK .APP .BAT .CGI .COM .EXE .GADGET .JAR .PIF .WSF .DEM .GAM .NES .ROM .SAV CAD Files .DWG .DXF GIS Files .GPX .KML .KMZ .ASP .ASPX .CER .CFM .CSR .CSS .HTM .HTML .JS .JSP .PHP .RSS .XHTML. DOC .DOCX .LOG .MSG .ODT .PAGES .RTF .TEX .TXT .WPD .WPS .CSV .DAT .GED .KEY .KEYCHAIN .PPS .PPT .PPTX ..INI .PRFEncodedFiles .HQX .MIM .UUE .7Z .CBR .DEB .GZ .PKG .RAR .RPM .SITX .TAR.GZ .ZIP .ZIPX .BIN .CUE .DMG .ISO .MDF .TOAST .VCD SDF .TAR .TAX2014 .TAX2015 .VCF .XML Audio Files .AIF .IFF .M3U .M4A .MID .MP3 .MPA .WAV .WMA Video Files .3G2 .3GP .ASF .AVI .FLV .M4V .MOV .MP4 .MPG .RM .SRT .SWF .VOB .WMV 3D .3DM .3DS .MAX .OBJR.BMP .DDS .GIF .JPG ..CRX .PLUGIN .FNT .FON .OTF .TTF .CAB .CPL .CUR .DESKTHEMEPACK .DLL .DMP .DRV .ICNS .ICO .LNK .SYS .CFG”

Update November 2018: Throughout the monitoring of the ransomware files and the ongoing attacks security experts have discovered several variants of the .combo files virus. One of the later ones demonstrated a slightly different list of target file type extensions:

.ebd, .jbc, .pst, .ost, .tib, .tbk, .bak, .bac, .abk, .as4, .asd, .ashbak, .backup, .bck, .bdb, .bk1, .bkc, .bkf,
.bkp, .boe, .bpa, .bpd, .bup, .cmb, .fbf, .fbw, .fh, .ful, .gho, .ipd, .nb7, .nba, .nbd, .nbf, .nbi, .nbu, .nco,
.oeb, .old, .qic, .sn1, .sn2, .sna, .spi, .stg, .uci, .win, .xbk, .iso, .htm, .html, .mht, .p7, .p7c, .pem, .sgn,
.sec, .cer, .csr, .djvu, .der, .stl, .crt, .p7b, .pfx, .fb, .fb2, .tif, .tiff, .pdf, .doc, .docx, .docm, .rtf,
.xls, .xlsx, .xlsm, .ppt, .pptx, .ppsx, .txt, .cdr, .jpe, .jpg, .jpeg, .png, .bmp, .jiff, .jpf, .ply, .pov, .raw,
.cf, .cfn, .tbn, .xcf, .xof, .key, .eml, .tbb, .dwf, .egg, .fc2, .fcz, .fg, .fp3, .pab, .oab, .psd, .psb, .pcx,
.dwg, .dws, .dxe, .zip, .zipx, .7z, .rar, .rev, .afp, .bfa, .bpk, .bsk, .enc, .rzk, .rzx, .sef, .shy, .snk, .accdb,
.ldf, .accdc, .adp, .dbc, .dbx, .dbf, .dbt, .dxl, .edb, .eql, .mdb, .mxl, .mdf, .sql, .sqlite, .sqlite3, .sqlitedb,
.kdb, .kdbx, .1cd, .dt, .erf, .lgp, .md, .epf, .efb, .eis, .efn, .emd, .emr, .end, .eog, .erb, .ebn, .ebb, .prefab,
.jif, .wor, .csv, .msg, .msf, .kwm, .pwm, .ai, .eps, .abd, .repx, .oxps, .dot.

But the .combo variant of Dharma has a smart way of encrypting files. It does not just encrypt any file on your PC as this will damage Windows. The virus skips encrypting files in the system folders of Windows, so that you can still use your PC to pay the ransom:

  • %Local%
  • %Temp%
  • %Windows%
  • %System%
  • %Program Files%
  • %System32%

To encrypt the files on your computer, Dharma ransomware creates copies of the files and then deletes the original versions of them. This way, the virus has created encrypted siblings of your files and there is no way to reverse the process by using different ways to hack the files (for example, taking one original file to fill up the code and devise a decryption method). After the encryption is complete, the files start to appear like the following:

The AES cipher then generates a decryption key which can be used effectively only by the cyber-criminals after victims pay them, which is not advisable in this case. One reason why paying is not an option is because there is no guarantee you will get your files back and another is that by paying you support those crooks to keep developing Dharma and setting computers “on fire”.


Remove Dharma Ransomware and Restore .combo Encrypted Files

To remove this variant of Dharma ransomware, you should follow the removal instructions in this article underneath. They are divided in manual removal instructions and automatic removal method as well. If you lack the experience in performing a manual removal, be advised that the best course of action according to experts in this case is to use an advanced anti-malware software and delete Dharma .combo ransomware automatically. Such software will scan your PC automatically and then make sure that this variant of Dharma is permanently gone plus use it’s real-time shields to ensure that your PC stays safe against any malware infections in the future as well.

If you want to restore files, encrypted by the .combo variant of Dharma ransomware virus, be advised that direct decryption is not available at the moment but we are monitoring the situation and will update with decryption instructions as we have done with .dharma file extension variant of this virus. Until then, you are welcome to try our suggested alternative methods for restoring as many files as possible in step “2. Restore files, encrypted by .combo Dharma Virus” underneath. They may not work with a 100% success rate, but some of them may be able to restore little or more of your encoded files.

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Ventsislav Krastev

Ventsislav has been covering the latest malware, software and newest tech developments at SensorsTechForum for 3 years now. He started out as a network administrator. Having graduated Marketing as well, Ventsislav also has passion for discovery of new shifts and innovations in cybersecurity that become game changers. After studying Value Chain Management and then Network Administration, he found his passion within cybersecrurity and is a strong believer in basic education of every user towards online safety.

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4 Comments

  1. Avatarcharaabi slah

    Salut,
    je suis victime d’un Rasomware, et j’aimerais savoir si vous pouvez m’aider.

    les fichiers ont été cryptés avec ce nom “.id-CC3751DE.[mccredieschlembach@aol.com].combo”

    J’apprécierais votre aide

    Reply
  2. AvatarAnil Kumar

    Please resolve my “id-80C6DA34.[help@x-mail.pro].combo”

    Reply
  3. AvatarD.J.Bobo

    I have only crypted files on my computer. Some attacker found password one my PC user and throught standard RDP ran some exe files from their computer (LAPTOP with Win10 and TSCLIENT). Grrr.
    No infection in PC, all files for infection has been deleted.
    Some files was backuped outside, but some not.
    Users and their passwords usually using on freemail and company account it’s very big problem.

    Reply
  4. AvatarAlex

    Hola, aun no hay descifrador para el rasomware .combo??

    Reply

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