The DataKeeper virus is a malware threat that can be customized into different strains. The hackers behind it are spreading it using the Ransomware-as-a-service (RaaS) tactic. Read our in-depth analysis to learn more about it.
|Type||Ransomware, Cryptovirus, Trojan|
|Short Description||The main goal of the DataKeeper Virus is to encrypt sensitive user files and extort the victims for a ransom fee payment along with the introduction of system changes.|
|Symptoms||The DataKeeper Virus component processes target files and renames them with a extension.|
|Distribution Method||Spam Emails, Email Attachments, Executable files|
|Detection Tool|| See If Your System Has Been Affected by DataKeeper |
Malware Removal Tool
|User Experience||Join Our Forum to Discuss DataKeeper.|
|Data Recovery Tool||Windows 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.|
DataKeeper Virus – Infection Process
The DataKeeper Virus is a malware threat that can be distributed using different mechanisms. As the virus itself can be customized using various configuration files the hackers can choose several mechanisms at once or concentrate on one particular attack campaign.
One of the primary methods employed by the hackers is the distribution of email messages. They can carry the DataKeeper Virus samples by file attachments that made part of the message. The files pose as legitimate data of user interest. Another technique involves the use of hyperlinks that lead the victims to a offsite hosted instance of the DataKeeper virus.
Two other strategies that are related to the above scenarios rely on the infecting files and sending them to the victims. The first group relies on software installers — the hackers download the legitimate installers from the official software vendors and modify them to include the dangerous component. They are then distributed by posing as the real software. Usually victims are popular free or trial versions of popular applications. The other tactic relies on documents. They are infected with the malware scripts and can target different file types: presentations, rich text documents and spreadsheets. Once they are opened a notification prompt appears which asks them to enable the built-in scripts (macros). Once this is done the virus is downloaded from a remote location and executed on the local computer.
The computer criminals can also create malware download sites that can infect victims with the viruses. The criminals can also employ web scripts that can produce redirects to the samples.
The DataKeeper virus may be bundled in browser hijackers that represent malware browser plugins. Mass infections occur by uploading the dangerous components to the relevant software plugin repositories. They are usually made compatible with the most popular web browsers: Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome, Internet Explorer, Safari, Opera and Microsoft Edge.
DataKeeper Virus – Analysis and Activity
The initial security search shows that the captured malware samples do not show any correlation with any of the famous malware families. This means that its code is entirely original and made by an experienced hacker or criminal collective. We have received reports that it is being distributed as a RaaS (ransomware-as-a-service) which means that it is being offered on the underground hacker forums in return for a subscription payment or lum sum fee. The most common mechanism is the subscription purchase which gives the hacker buyers access to the dashboard and strain customization options. The main DataKeeper virus includes basic options that can be customized in order to create their own samples.
The DataKeeper virus can be configured with different components and updated automatically as the developers release new version of it. We suspect that the standard features attributed to advanced malware will be added. Such infections begin with a stealth protection plugin that is able to counter any system or security applications that might interfere with its execution. This is done by scanning the victim computer’s memory for such running instances: anti-virus products, sandbox and debugging environments and virtual machine hosts. They can be bypassed or removed depending on the instructions. In certain situations the operators can instruct the DataKeeper virus samples to delete themselves if they are unable to do so thereby avoiding detection.
The next step would be to call an information gathering module that would allow the criminals to hijack sensitive data. The security experts usually classify the data into two main categories:
- Anonymous Data — The component can be programmed into harvesting information that is primarily related to the operating system and the installed hardware components.
- Personal Information — Data of this type usually consists of information that can directly expose the victim’s identity: their name, address, location, interests, passwords and account credentials.
If configured properly any follow-up actions can be modeled in a several stage infection pattern. A next step would be the coordination of a network connection to a hacker-controlled server. It may be used by the hackers to receive reports of the infected servers as well as institute other malware infections. In certain cases it can also be used to send arbitrary commands at any time.
Advanced ransomware like the DataKeeper virus can lead to a Trojan horse infection. It allows the hackers to spy on the victims in real time, as well as take over control of the ir machines at any given moment. Such malware can also give them the ability to hijack any file before the encryption module is started.
Usually viruses like the DataKeeper ransomware also modify important operating system settings in order to make the virus removal more difficult. As a consequence this includes any of the following modifications:
- Boot Options — The virus engine can disable the boot recovery menu option.
- Windows Registry — The malware can automatically disable certain applications or Microsoft Windows features and assign itself to start every time the computer boots.
- Data Modification — The DataKeeper virus may remove all found Shadow volume copies which can prevent data recovery. In addition it can interact with the Microsoft Windows volume manager which makes it able to access network shares and removable devices as well.
- Cryptocurrency Miner Installation — The malware is able to install a dangerous miner script that can take advantage of the available hardware resources in order to generate income for the operators.
- Browser Hijacker Functionality — The DataaKeeper virus can modify the browser settings using a mechanism similar to standalone hijackers. This includes the modification of default settings (home page, search engine and new tabs page) to redirect the victims to a malware page.
DataKeeper Virus — Encryption Process
The most important component of the DataKeeper virus is the ransomware component. It allows the hackers to fully customize the encryption operations. The basic parameters include the target file type extensions. They can be of various types:
An unique token and key pair (using the RSA-4096 cipher) is generated to ensure that the strongest possible protection is enforced. The criminal developers note that ransomware engine is highly optimized for performance and fast results. It can run itself in a multithreaded operation which utilizes all available hardware resources.
The ransom note used to blackmail the victims into paying is made using parameters defined by the controllers — the requested ransomware fee (in Bitcoins) and the template text.
Remove DataKeeper Virus and Restore Encrypted Files
If your computer got infected with the DataKeeper ransomware virus, you should have a bit of experience in removing malware. You should get rid of this ransomware as quickly as possible before it can have the chance to spread further and infect other computers. You should remove the ransomware and follow the step-by-step instructions guide provided below.