Crypto-viruses are an increasing menace that aims to turn your day the other way around, making you pay to cyber-criminals for keys that were encrypted. And what is worse is that cyber-crooks constantly keep developing new and more sophisticated ways to increase the defense of their viruses, implementing combined encryption keys that travel safely to their servers. However, there still are those ransomware viruses that send unencrypted information, allowing you, the user to sniff out traffic from your computer and with luck to get the decryption key for your files. We have designed to make a tutorial which is as simple as possible to theoretically explain how could you detect your decryption key by sniffing out your web traffic using Wireshark.
Useful Advice: Before actually engaging in any network sniffing or other methods we have suggested below, it is urgently advisable to do it from a safe and secure computer system unaffected by any type of malware. If you want to make sure that your computer system is 100% safe while you are following these instructions, experts often advise to download an advanced anti-malware tool which is frequently updated and features next-gen active protection against viruses to see if your PC is safe:
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
How It Works – Brief Explanation
Bear in mind that this solution is only theoretical since different ransomware viruses perform different activities on user PCs. To best clarify that, most ransomware viruses use encryption algorithm – a cryptic language replacing the original language code of the files, making them inaccessible. The two most widely used encryption algorithms are RSA and AES encryption algorithms. Both of them are extremely strong and impenetrable. In the past, most malware writers used only one encryption cipher in a special manner. The standard action for the ransomware virus was in the following consequence:
- Drop it’s payload.
- Modify the Windows Registry Editor to run on startup or after the specific action is done.
- Delete backups and perform other activities.
- Encrypt the files.
- Send the decryption key in a file or as a communication directly to the command and control (C&C) center of the cyber-criminals.
- Drop it’s ransom note and other support files that notify the user of this “complication”.
However, since malware researchers have united their resources and put a lot of effort to detect codes in the flaw or capture decryption keys and develop free decrypters, malware writers have also made quite the improvements themselves. One of those improvements is implementing a two-way encryption, using a combination of RSA and AES encryption algorithms.
In brief, they did not just encrypt your files with one of the ciphers, but now they also use a second encryption algorithm to encrypt the decryption key in a special file which is then sent to their servers. These files are impossible to decrypt, and users are hopelessly looking for alternative methods to decrypt them.
For more information on this encryption method, please visit:
Another tactic the cyber-crook “devs” started to use is a so-called cipher block chaining. This is a mode that briefly explained, breaks the file if you try to tamper with it, making any form of recovery completely impossible.
So, here is where we are. At this point, there are even new developments in the world of ransomware, which are yet to be revealed.
It is very difficult to stay ahead of ransomware, but despite all, we have decided to show you how to use Wireshark to your benefit and hopefully intercept HTTP traffic in the correct moment. However, bear in mind that these instructions are THEORETICAL, and there are a lot of factors that may prevent them from working in an actual situation. Still, it is better than not trying before paying the ransom, right?
Using Wireshark to Find Decryption Key
Before downloading and using Wireshark – one of the most widely used network sniffers out there, you should have the malware’s executable on standby and infect your computer once again. However, bear in mind that some ransomware viruses perform new encryption every time a computer is restarted as well, so you should also configure Wireshark to run automatically on startup. Let’s begin!
Step 1: Download Wireshark on your computer by clicking on the following buttons( for your version of Windows)
Step 2: Run, configure and learn how to sniff packets with Wireshark. To learn how to start analyzing packets and check where your packets save the data, you should open Wireshark first and then choose your active network interface for analyzing packets. For most users, that would be the interface with traffic bouncing up and down on it’s right. You should choose it and click twice fast to start sniffing:
Step 3: Sniffing packets. Since ransomware viruses communicate via HTTP traffic, you should filter all the packets first. Here is how the packets look initially after you choose your interface and sniff traffic from it:
To intercept only HTTP traffic, you should type the following into the display filter bar:
→ http.request – to intercept the requested traffic
Once filtered it should look like this:
You can also filter the source and destination IP addresses by scrolling up and down and choosing one address, then right clicking on it and navigating to the following feature:
Step 4: Configure Wireshark to run automatically. To do this, first, you should go to the command prompt of your computer by typing cmd on your Windows search and running it. From there, type the following command with capital “-D” setting to get the unique key for your interface. The keys should look like the following:
Step 5: Copy the key for your active connection and create a New Text Document and in it write the following code:
→ wireshark -i 13MD2812-7212-3F21-4723-923F9G239F823(<= Your copied key) –k
You can additionally modify the command by adding the –w letter and creating a name for the file that will save it onto your computer, allowing you to analyze the packets. The result should look similarly to this one:
Step 6: Save the newly created text document as a .bat file, by going to File>Save As… and choosing All Files after which typing .BAT as a file extension, like the picture below shows. Make sure the name of the file and the location where you save it are easy to find:
Step 7: Paste the .bat file in the Windows startup folder. The original location of the folder is:
→ C:\Users\Username\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\Startup,/p>
To easily access it, press Windows Button + R key combination and in the Window box type – shell:startup, like the picture below shows and click OK:
After your computer is restarted, if the ransomware virus encrypts your files after which generates a key and sends it to the cyber-criminals’ servers, you should be able to intercept the communication packets and analyze them.
Step 8: How to analyze the traffic?
To analyze the traffic of a given packet, simply right-click it and then click on the following to intercept the traffic:
After doing this, a Window will appear with the information. Make sure to inspect the information carefully and look for keywords that give away the encryption keys, like encrypted, RSA, AES, etc. Take your time and check the packets’ size, make sure that they are similar to the size of a key file.
Sniffing Ransomware Decryption Keys – Things You Need To Know
Like mentioned before, this tutorial is fully theoretical and in case you cannot cope with it and sniff out the keys, we strongly advise you to remove the ransomware that has infected you and attempt restoring your files using the step-by-step instructions below. Also, if you are going to attempt this method, we strongly advise you to test it out first on your computer and see the traffic. An example of how researchers have identified traffic by ransomware is the research, performed by PaloAlto network experts on Locky ransomware, which we also advise you to check.
What is Ransomware Ransomware?
Ransomware is a ransomware infection - the malicious software that enters your computer silently and blocks either access to the computer itself or encrypt your files.
Many ransomware viruses use sophisticated encryption algorithms to make your files inaccessible. The goal of ransomware infections is to demand that you pay a ransom payment to get access to your files back.
What Does Ransomware Ransomware Do?
Ransomware in general is a malicious software that is designed to block access to your computer or files until a ransom is paid.
Ransomware viruses can also damage your system, corrupt data and delete files, resulting in the permanent loss of important files.
How Does Ransomware Infect?
Via several ways.Ransomware Ransomware infects computers by being sent via phishing emails, containing virus attachment. This attachment is usually masked as an important document, like an invoice, bank document or even a plane ticket and it looks very convincing to users.
Another way you may become a victim of Ransomware is if you download a fake installer, crack or patch from a low reputation website or if you click on a virus link. Many users report getting a ransomware infection by downloading torrents.
How to Open .Ransomware files?
You can't without a decryptor. At this point, the .Ransomware files are encrypted. You can only open them once they are decrypted using a specific decryption key for the particular algorithm.
What to Do If a Decryptor Does Not Work?
Do not panic, and backup the files. If a decryptor did not decrypt your .Ransomware files successfully, then do not despair, because this virus is still new.
Can I Restore ".Ransomware" Files?
Yes, sometimes files can be restored. We have suggested several file recovery methods that could work if you want to restore .Ransomware files.
These methods are in no way 100% guaranteed that you will be able to get your files back. But if you have a backup, your chances of success are much greater.
How To Get Rid of Ransomware Virus?
The safest way and the most efficient one for the removal of this ransomware infection is the use a professional anti-malware program.
It will scan for and locate Ransomware ransomware and then remove it without causing any additional harm to your important .Ransomware files.
Can I Report Ransomware to Authorities?
In case your computer got infected with a ransomware infection, you can report it to the local Police departments. It can help authorities worldwide track and determine the perpetrators behind the virus that has infected your computer.
Below, we have prepared a list with government websites, where you can file a report in case you are a victim of a cybercrime:
Cyber-security authorities, responsible for handling ransomware attack reports in different regions all over the world:
Germany - Offizielles Portal der deutschen Polizei
United States - IC3 Internet Crime Complaint Centre
United Kingdom - Action Fraud Police
France - Ministère de l'Intérieur
Italy - Polizia Di Stato
Spain - Policía Nacional
Netherlands - Politie
Poland - Policja
Portugal - Polícia Judiciária
Greece - Cyber Crime Unit (Hellenic Police)
India - Mumbai Police - CyberCrime Investigation Cell
Australia - Australian High Tech Crime Center
Reports may be responded to in different timeframes, depending on your local authorities.
Can You Stop Ransomware from Encrypting Your Files?
Yes, you can prevent ransomware. The best way to do this is to ensure your computer system is updated with the latest security patches, use a reputable anti-malware program and firewall, backup your important files frequently, and avoid clicking on malicious links or downloading unknown files.
Can Ransomware Ransomware Steal Your Data?
Yes, in most cases ransomware will steal your information. It is a form of malware that steals data from a user's computer, encrypts it, and then demands a ransom in order to decrypt it.
Can Ransomware Infect WiFi?
Yes, ransomware can infect WiFi networks, as malicious actors can use it to gain control of the network, steal confidential data, and lock out users. If a ransomware attack is successful, it could lead to a loss of service and/or data, and in some cases, financial losses.
Should I Pay Ransomware?
No, you should not pay ransomware extortionists. Paying them only encourages criminals and does not guarantee that the files or data will be restored. The better approach is to have a secure backup of important data and be vigilant about security in the first place.
What Happens If I Don't Pay Ransom?
If you don't pay the ransom, the hackers may still have access to your computer, data, or files and may continue to threaten to expose or delete them, or even use them to commit cybercrimes. In some cases, they may even continue to demand additional ransom payments.
Can a Ransomware Attack Be Detected?
Yes, ransomware can be detected. Anti-malware software and other advanced security tools can detect ransomware and alert the user when it is present on a machine.
It is important to stay up-to-date on the latest security measures and to keep security software updated to ensure ransomware can be detected and prevented.
Do Ransomware Criminals Get Caught?
Yes, ransomware criminals do get caught. Law enforcement agencies, such as the FBI, Interpol and others have been successful in tracking down and prosecuting ransomware criminals in the US and other countries. As ransomware threats continue to increase, so does the enforcement activity.
About the Ransomware Research
The content we publish on SensorsTechForum.com, this Ransomware how-to removal guide included, is the outcome of extensive research, hard work and our team’s devotion to help you remove the specific malware and restore your encrypted files.
How did we conduct the research on this ransomware?
Our research is based on an independent investigation. We are in contact with independent security researchers, and as such, we receive daily updates on the latest malware and ransomware definitions.
To better understand the ransomware threat, please refer to the following articles which provide knowledgeable details.
As a site that has been dedicated to providing free removal instructions for ransomware and malware since 2014, SensorsTechForum’s recommendation is to only pay attention to trustworthy sources.
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- Always check "About Us" web page.
- Profile of the content creator.
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