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.
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
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 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 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.
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!
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
- Guide 1: How to Remove from Windows.
- Guide 2: Get rid of from Mac OS X.
- Guide 3: Remove from Google Chrome.
- Guide 4: Erase from Mozilla Firefox.
- Guide 5: Uninstall from Microsoft Edge.
- Guide 6: Remove from Safari.
- Guide 7: Eliminate from Internet Explorer.
How to Remove from Windows.
Step 1: Boot Your PC In Safe Mode to isolate and remove
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.
Step 3: Clean any registries, created by on your computer.
The usually targeted registries of Windows machines are the following:
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:
Get rid of from Mac OS X.
Step 1: Uninstall and remove related files and objects
1. Hit the ⇧+⌘+U keys to open Utilities. Another way is to click on “Go” and then click “Utilities”, like the image below shows:
- 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:
You can repeat the same procedure with the following other Library directories:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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".
Step 4: After that, select the 'Extensions' Tab.
Step 5: Click once on the extension you want to remove.
Step 6: Click 'Uninstall'.
A pop-up window will appear asking for confirmation to uninstall the extension. Select 'Uninstall' again, and the will be removed.
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.