THREAT REMOVAL

CryptoLocker Ransomware 2016 Update: Copycats and Versions

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CryptoLocker has already become one of the historical ransomware cases that put thousands of users through hell. The infamous crypto virus infected users and encrypted their files, and demanded payment in exchange for the files’ decryption. The infection was mostly spread via a Trojan downloader or a worm. If you believe you have been infected with CryptoLocker, keep in mind that it’s more likely you were hit by one of CryptoLocker’s copycats or one of its later versions. And never forget that paying the ransom is the worst possible idea. You don’t want to be financing cyber criminals to continue their malicious endeavors, right?

Due to its success in high infection rate, CryptoLocker’s name has been “exploited” by many ransomware-as-a-service renters.

Note! The original CryptoLocker first “landed” in the beginning of September 2013. This threat doesn’t exist anymore. However, like we mentioned, the infamous ransomware has many copycats that pretend to be CryptoLocker. This means that any old CryptoLocker decryption keys will not work – no matter what name is claimed in the ransom note, these are other ransomware, with other technical specifications. Continue reading to get informed about some of the most popular copycats and versions of CryptoLocker.

CryptoLocker Copycats

CryptoLocker Copycat Number One: PClock

Researchers named the ‘virus’ PClock because of a project name located inside the malware executable. Back in January 2015, the Cryptolocker copycat ‘s distribution technique was not yet unveiled. Most likely, it was distributed via other malware pieces that infiltrate the system in a stealthy manner – Trojans and backdoors which can grant remote access any time they wish.

Once the encryption process was completed and the files with particular extensions were affected, the victim would be presented with a ransom screen and a 72-hour countdown.

The types of files and their extensions encrypted by PClock we
re:

3fr, .accdb, .ai, .arw, .bay, .cdr, .cer, .cr2, .crt, .crw, .dbf, .dcr, .der, .dng, .doc, .docm, .docx, .dwg, .dxf, .dxg, .eps, .erf, .indd, .jpe, .jpg, .kdc,.mdb, .mdf, .mef, .mrw, .nef, .nrw, .odb, .odm, .odp, .ods, .odt, .orf, .p12, .p7b, .p7c, .pdd, .pef, .pem, .pfx, .ppt, .pptm, .pptx, .psd, .pst, .ptx, .r3d,.raf, .raw, .rtf, .rw2, .rwl, .srf, .srw, .wb2, .wpd, .wps, .xlk, .xls, .xlsb, .xlsm, .xlsx


Learn More about PClock Ransomware

CryptoLocker Copycat Number Two: CryptoDefense Ransomware

Similar to CryptoLocker, CryptoDefense was distributed primarily via spam email campaigns. It pretended to use the RSA-2048 encryption algorithm, claiming that once encrypted, the user’s files would no longer be accessible. However, that claim later turned out to be untrue.

The main difference between the two ransomware pieces is that CryptoLocker generated the RSA encryption and decryption keys on the Command & Control server. CryptoDefense employed the Windows CryptoAPI application. Windows CryptoAPI, however, is ‘equipped’ with several aberrations that, obviously, were not known by CryptoDefense’s creators – it creates local copies of the RSA keys on the victim’s compute. Hence, the key to decrypt the encrypted files was on the affected system.

CryptoLocker Copycat Number Three: TorrentLocker

The creators of this ransomware family have been seen to impersonate CryptoLocker and apply its name on the ransom message and the payment website.

TorrentLocker is also known as Win32/Filecoder.DI. It got its name from a blog post by iSIGHT Partners published in the summer of 2014.

Typically, TorrentLocker encrypted the victim’s files via AES-256 encryption algorithm and requested a payment in Bitcoin. Average payment was up to 4.081Bitcoins (approximately US$1500), as reported by researchers at ESET.

In 2014, the malicious coders behind TorrentLocker generated about $300,000 in ransom payments. Researchers suspected that TorrentLocker was from the same family as Hesperbot banking malware. Targeted countries include Australia, Austria, Canada, Czech Republic, Italy, Ireland, France, Germany, Netherlands, New Zealand, Spain, Turkey, United Kingdom.

Learn More about TorrentLocker

CryptoLocker Copycat Number Four: Crypt0l0cker

Crypt0L0cker attacks were registered in the spring of 2015. That is when security analysts revealed that Crypt0L0cker is in fact a new version of the well-known TorrentLocker. However, Crypt0 appeared to be Geo-Locked and as such, wouldn’t attack US based machines. As with many other ransomware cases, Crypt0 was mainly distributed in spam email campaigns, pretending to be government notices.

The communication methods used by Crypt0 were quite similar to TorrentLocker’s. When installed on victim’s system, Crypt0L0cker would connect to a Command & Control server and transmit the victim’s unique identifier and a campaign ID.

Crypt0L0cker would then scan all hard drive letters and encrypt certain files, while others are excluded. Encrypted files would have an ‘.encrypted’ extension at the end.

Learn More about ‘.encrypted’ Files

CryptoLocker Ransomware Family: Versions

Besides its copycats, CryptoLocker operators have released different versions of the ransomware.

Cryptolocker.AB

Cryptolocker.AB is a Ransomware Trojan horse of the Cryptolocker family which was active in late 2015. It searched for files with many different extensions, encrypted them with a “.crinf” extension, then asked for a huge ransom for decryption. It could delete Shadow Volume Copies, disable Windows Startup Repair, and end important system processes.

There are a number of ways you could get infected with Trojans such as the Cryptolocker.AB ransomware. The most common distribution method was known to be through malicious email attachments and spam emails, similarly to many ransomware pieces out there. Keep in mind that there are cases, where an email itself also contains malicious code and upon opening the email, your PC immediately gets infected, even without executing the attachment inside.

Learn More about CryptoLocker.AB

CryptoLocker 2.0

CryptoLocker 2.0 appeared like the second version of CryptoLocker. Despite its name representing the ransomware as the second release of CryptoLocker, the differences in the code (when compared to the original piece) indicated it was a copycat. Some of the differences showing that it was indeed a pretender not a real version were the language the threat was programmed in (original in C++, version 2 in C#) and the cryptocoin wallet miner called BFGMiner (found in the second “release”). Also, the employment of a different encryption was another indicator of a copycat.

CryptoLocker V3

This version was seen active in early 2016.

The ransomware created different modules that served various purposes. It could also tamper with the Windows Registry Editor to run its modules every time Windows starts. Version 3 of Cryptolocker could be identified by the .crypted file extension on the affected user’s files.

Cyber criminals masked the malicious payload by obfuscating its files via special software or archiving it in a .zip, .rar or other archived formats so that it did not get blocked by the email website.

Users should be very careful and always perform a scan of the files they download. It is also recommended to double check web-links that are shared to some degree because checking any link you open would be frustrating. This is why it is good to have a browser extension that blocks malicious links from opening.

Learn More about Cryptolocker V3

Security Tips against Ransomware

Tip #1: If you see that a ransomware is in the process of encrypting your files, shutdown your PC as quickly as possible from the Power button.

Tip #2: Don’t forget to BACKUP! Do regular backups of your important files! It is the best prevention method.

Tip#3: Do NOT format! In case you got your files decrypted, formatting your drives is not a good idea. There are cases where data recovery tools can recover some of the files. And there are specialists who deal with data recovery who could extract deleted files.

For more tips and useful ransomware information, visit our specialized forum topic!

If you haven’t backed up your data yet, get to know some of the best data backup software:

You should also consider installing a specific anti-ransomware solution. Also, don’t underestimate the importance of the mandatory anti-malware program!

Download

Malware Removal Tool


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

Milena Dimitrova

Milena Dimitrova

An inspired writer and content manager who has been with SensorsTechForum since the beginning. Focused on user privacy and malware development, she strongly believes in a world where cybersecurity plays a central role. If common sense makes no sense, she will be there to take notes. Those notes may later turn into articles! Follow Milena @Milenyim

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Windows Mac OS X Google Chrome Mozilla Firefox Microsoft Edge Safari Internet Explorer

How to Remove from Windows.


Step 1: Boot Your PC In Safe Mode to isolate and remove

OFFER

Manual Removal Usually Takes Time and You Risk Damaging Your Files If Not Careful!
We Recommend To Scan Your PC with SpyHunter

Keep in mind, that SpyHunter’s scanner is only for malware detection. If SpyHunter detects malware on your PC, you will need to purchase SpyHunter's malware removal tool to remove the malware threats. Read our SpyHunter 5 review. Click on the corresponding links to check SpyHunter's EULA, Privacy Policy and Threat Assessment Criteria

1. Hold Windows key() + R


2. The "Run" Window will appear. In it, type "msconfig" and click OK.


3. Go to the "Boot" tab. There select "Safe Boot" and then click "Apply" and "OK".
Tip: Make sure to reverse those changes by unticking Safe Boot after that, because your system will always boot in Safe Boot from now on.


4. When prompted, click on "Restart" to go into Safe Mode.


5. You can recognise Safe Mode by the words written on the corners of your screen.


Step 2: Uninstall and related software from Windows

Here is a method in few easy steps that should be able to uninstall most programs. No matter if you are using Windows 10, 8, 7, Vista or XP, those steps will get the job done. Dragging the program or its folder to the recycle bin can be a very bad decision. If you do that, bits and pieces of the program are left behind, and that can lead to unstable work of your PC, errors with the file type associations and other unpleasant activities. The proper way to get a program off your computer is to Uninstall it. To do that:


1. Hold the Windows Logo Button and "R" on your keyboard. A Pop-up window will appear.


2. In the field type in "appwiz.cpl" and press ENTER.


3. This will open a window with all the programs installed on the PC. Select the program that you want to remove, and press "Uninstall"
Follow the instructions above and you will successfully uninstall most programs.


Step 3: Clean any registries, created by on your computer.

The usually targeted registries of Windows machines are the following:

  • HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run
  • HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run
  • HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\RunOnce
  • HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\RunOnce

You can access them by opening the Windows registry editor and deleting any values, created by there. This can happen by following the steps underneath:

1. Open the Run Window again, type "regedit" and click OK.


2. When you open it, you can freely navigate to the Run and RunOnce keys, whose locations are shown above.


3. You can remove the value of the virus by right-clicking on it and removing it.
Tip: To find a virus-created value, you can right-click on it and click "Modify" to see which file it is set to run. If this is the virus file location, remove the value.

IMPORTANT!
Before starting "Step 4", please boot back into Normal mode, in case you are currently in Safe Mode.
This will enable you to install and use SpyHunter 5 successfully.

Step 4: Scan for with SpyHunter Anti-Malware Tool

1. Click on the "Download" button to proceed to SpyHunter's download page.


It is recommended to run a scan before purchasing the full version of the software to make sure that the current version of the malware can be detected by SpyHunter. Click on the corresponding links to check SpyHunter's EULA, Privacy Policy and Threat Assessment Criteria.


2. After you have installed SpyHunter, wait for it to update automatically.

SpyHunter5-update-2018


3. After the update process has finished, click on the 'Malware/PC Scan' tab. A new window will appear. Click on 'Start Scan'.

SpyHunter5-Free-Scan-2018


4. After SpyHunter has finished scanning your PC for any files of the associated threat and found them, you can try to get them removed automatically and permanently by clicking on the 'Next' button.

SpyHunter-5-Free-Scan-Next-2018

If any threats have been removed, it is highly recommended to restart your PC.


Windows Mac OS X Google Chrome Mozilla Firefox Microsoft Edge Safari Internet Explorer

Get rid of from Mac OS X.


Step 1: Uninstall and remove related files and objects

OFFER
Manual Removal Usually Takes Time and You Risk Damaging Your Files If Not Careful!
We Recommend To Scan Your Mac with SpyHunter for Mac
Keep in mind, that SpyHunter for Mac needs to purchased to remove the malware threats. Click on the corresponding links to check SpyHunter’s EULA and Privacy Policy


1. Hit the ⇧+⌘+U keys to open Utilities. Another way is to click on “Go” and then click “Utilities”, like the image below shows:


2. Find Activity Monitor and double-click it:


3. In the Activity Monitor look for any suspicious processes, belonging or related to :

Tip: To quit a process completely, choose the “Force Quit” option.


4. Click on the "Go" button again, but this time select Applications. Another way is with the ⇧+⌘+A buttons.


5. In the Applications menu, look for any suspicious app or an app with a name, similar or identical to . If you find it, right-click on the app and select “Move to Trash”.


6: Select Accounts, after which click on the Login Items preference. Your Mac will then show you a list of items that start automatically when you log in. Look for any suspicious apps identical or similar to . Check the app you want to stop from running automatically and then select on the Minus (“-“) icon to hide it.


7: Remove any left-over files that might be related to this threat manually by following the sub-steps below:

  • Go to Finder.
  • In the search bar type the name of the app that you want to remove.
  • Above the search bar change the two drop down menus to “System Files” and “Are Included” so that you can see all of the files associated with the application you want to remove. Bear in mind that some of the files may not be related to the app so be very careful which files you delete.
  • If all of the files are related, hold the ⌘+A buttons to select them and then drive them to “Trash”.

In case you cannot remove via Step 1 above:

In case you cannot find the virus files and objects in your Applications or other places we have shown above, you can manually look for them in the Libraries of your Mac. But before doing this, please read the disclaimer below:

Disclaimer! If you are about to tamper with Library files on Mac, be sure to know the name of the virus file, because if you delete the wrong file, it may cause irreversible damage to your MacOS. Continue on your own responsibility!

1: Click on "Go" and Then "Go to Folder" as shown underneath:

2: Type in "/Library/LauchAgents/" and click Ok:

3: Delete all of the virus files that have similar or the same name as . If you believe there is no such file, do not delete anything.

You can repeat the same procedure with the following other Library directories:

→ ~/Library/LaunchAgents
/Library/LaunchDaemons

Tip: ~ is there on purpose, because it leads to more LaunchAgents.


Step 2: Scan for and remove files from your Mac

When you are facing problems on your Mac as a result of unwanted scripts and programs such as , the recommended way of eliminating the threat is by using an anti-malware program. SpyHunter for Mac offers advanced security features along with other modules that will improve your Mac’s security and protect it in the future.


Click the button below below to download SpyHunter for Mac and scan for :


Download

SpyHunter for Mac



Windows Mac OS X Google Chrome Mozilla Firefox Microsoft Edge Safari Internet Explorer


Remove from Google Chrome.


Step 1: Start Google Chrome and open the drop menu


Step 2: Move the cursor over "Tools" and then from the extended menu choose "Extensions"


Step 3: From the opened "Extensions" menu locate the unwanted extension and click on its "Remove" button.


Step 4: After the extension is removed, restart Google Chrome by closing it from the red "X" button at the top right corner and start it again.


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Erase from Mozilla Firefox.

Step 1: Start Mozilla Firefox. Open the menu window


Step 2: Select the "Add-ons" icon from the menu.


Step 3: Select the unwanted extension and click "Remove"


Step 4: After the extension is removed, restart Mozilla Firefox by closing it from the red "X" button at the top right corner and start it again.



Windows Mac OS X Google Chrome Mozilla Firefox Microsoft Edge Safari Internet Explorer


Uninstall from Microsoft Edge.


Step 1: Start Edge browser.


Step 2: Open the drop menu by clicking on the icon at the top right corner.


Step 3: From the drop menu select "Extensions".


Step 4: Choose the suspected malicious extension you want to remove and then click on the gear icon.


Step 5: Remove the malicious extension by scrolling down and then clicking on Uninstall.



Windows Mac OS X Google Chrome Mozilla Firefox Microsoft Edge Safari Internet Explorer


Remove from Safari.


Step 1: Start the Safari app.


Step 2: After hovering your mouse cursor to the top of the screen, click on the Safari text to open its drop down menu.


Step 3: From the menu, click on "Preferences".

stf-safari preferences


Step 4: After that, select the 'Extensions' Tab.

stf-safari-extensions


Step 5: Click once on the extension you want to remove.


Step 6: Click 'Uninstall'.

stf-safari uninstall

A pop-up window will appear asking for confirmation to uninstall the extension. Select 'Uninstall' again, and the will be removed.


How to Reset Safari
IMPORTANT: Before resetting Safari make sure you back up all your saved passwords within the browser in case you forget them.

Start Safari and then click on the gear leaver icon.

Click the Reset Safari button and you will reset the browser.


Windows Mac OS X Google Chrome Mozilla Firefox Microsoft Edge Safari Internet Explorer


Eliminate from Internet Explorer.


Step 1: Start Internet Explorer.


Step 2: Click on the gear icon labeled 'Tools' to open the drop menu and select 'Manage Add-ons'


Step 3: In the 'Manage Add-ons' window.


Step 4: Select the extension you want to remove and then click 'Disable'. A pop-up window will appear to inform you that you are about to disable the selected extension, and some more add-ons might be disabled as well. Leave all the boxes checked, and click 'Disable'.


Step 5: After the unwanted extension has been removed, restart Internet Explorer by closing it from the red 'X' button located at the top right corner and start it again.


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