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.aes_ni_0day AES-NI File Virus – Restore Files (Update April 2017)

Article created to help you remove the special version of the AES-NI ransomware virus, called NSA EXPLPOIT EDITION and restore .aes_ni_0day files.

A new variant of the AES-NI ransomware infection has come out in the wild. The ransomware uses multiple evasion tactics to infect and encrypt the files on the computers infected by it. The virus then drops a ransom note file, named !!! READ THIS – IMPORTANT !!!.txt in which demands are made to purchase the decryption keys at a high price. In case you have become a victim of the new version of AES-NI ransomware, recommendations are to read this article and follow it’s instructions and steps.

Threat Summary

Name

AES-NI

Type Ransomware
Short Description Encrypts important documents and other files on computers it infects. Asks for a ransom to be paid.
Symptoms The victim may see a ransom note, named !!! READ THIS – IMPORTANT !!!.txt and the files encrypted with and added .aes-ni file extension.
Distribution Method Via an Exploit kit, Dll file attack, malicious JavaScript or a drive-by download of the malware itself in an obfuscated manner.
Detection Tool See If Your System Has Been Affected by malware

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Malware Removal Tool

User Experience Join our forum to Discuss AES-NI.
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.

AES-NI Ransomware – Infection Process

Infection via AES-NI ransomware’s special edition is conducted in a very similar manner to the infection process of the older version. The ransomware may still utilize infection techniques that include sending fake e-mails that contain malicious e-mail attachments. These e-mails may contain different types of files added as attachments:

  • VBS script file.
  • JavaScript files.
  • Files that are executable (.exe).
  • Files that are Microsoft Office or Adobe .pdf documents and have malicious macros embedded within them.

The content of the spam messages is usually of a deceptive nature, meaning that they pretend to be legitimate notifications of a purchase, invoice, complaint or some important topic, to convince victims into opening the malicious attachments or clicking on the malicious link posted. Example of such e-mails can be seen below:

Besides e-mail, cyber-criminals who are behind the AES-NI infection may authorize themselves to upload malicious files on file-sharing websites, like torrent sites, for example. Such files may be presented to the user as key generators to activate a license for a given program or a crack or patch for different software.

In addition to those methods of infection, other methods may include the usage of fake updates, fake installers or game patches, software license activators and even fake key generators, all of which may be uploaded on various websites.

Once the user’s computer becomes infected via one of the above mentioned ways, the AES-NI ransomware drops It’s payload. It consists of the following types of files:

  • !!! READ THIS – IMPORTANT !!!.txt
  • .key.aes_ni_0day files
  • Exectuable files located in the %System Drive%, %AppData% or %Windows% folders.

.Aes_ni_0day File Virus – Infection Activity

The new version of the AES-NI ransomware may begin to tamper with the Windows Registry by adding custom value strings with data in them to run the malicious executables of the AES-NI ransomware on system start up. For this, the following keys may be targeted:

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

Other activity of the AES-NI ransomware includes a check which the virus makes that returns information whether or not the infected computer is from the former Soviet Union countries. If so, the ransomware infection begins switch off and self-deletes after this.

But this is not all of the activity of the AES-NI infection. If the virus continues being active, it will inject a malicious code into the svchost.exe Windows process. After this, the virus may run an obfuscated command via Windows Command prompt that deletes the shadow volume copies on the infected computer:

→ process call create “cmd.exe /c
vssadmin.exe delete shadows /all /quiet
bcdedit.exe /set {default} recoveryenabled no
bcdedit.exe /set {default} bootstatuspolicy ignoreallfailures

The Encryption Process of .aes_ni_0day Virus

For the encryption, AES-NI targets the following files:

  • Documents.
  • Music.
  • Videos.
  • Recordings.
  • Images.
  • Database files.

The virus is careful to skip system or executable files of the following format, since they may damage the operating system:

.dll, .exe, .lnk, .mui, .sys

The encryption process of the virus is conducted in what is known in the trade as ECB mode. It applies an AES – 256 encryption cipher on the files, replacing blocks of data with data from the cipher. Once this is done, asymmetric key is generated and sent to the cyber-criminals who are behind the ransomware operation. In addition to the AES keys, RSA keys are also appended on each file or set of files and they are unique for each of them. These keys are also sent to the crooks. The generated keys are in files, ending with .key.aes_ni_0day.

After encryption by AES-NI’s special version has been completed, the virus adds the suffix .aes_ni_0day and the files no longer appear the same:

Then, AES-NI may open the !!! READ THIS – IMPORTANT !!!.txt note which has the following ransom demands:

==========================# aes-ni ransomware #==========================
█████╗ ██████╗██████╗ ███╗ ██╗ ██╗
██╔═██╗██╔═══╝██╔═══╝ ████╗ ██║ ██║
██████║█████╗ ██████╗███╗██╔██╗██║ ██║
██╔═██║██╔══╝ ╚═══██║╚══╝██║╚████║ ██║
██║ ██║██████╗██████║ ██║ ╚███║ ██║
╚═╝ ╚═╝╚═════╝╚═════╝ ╚═╝ ╚══╝ ╚═╝
SPECIAL VERSION: NSA EXPLOIT EDITION
INTRO: If you are reading it, your server was attacked with NSA exploits.
Make World Safe Again.
SORRY! Your files are encrypted.
File contents are encrypted with random key (AES-256 bit; ECB mode).
Random key is encrypted with RSA public key (2048 bit).
We STRONGLY RECOMMEND you NOT to use any “decryption tools”.
These tools can damage your data, making recover IMPOSSIBLE.
Also we recommend you not to contact data recovery companies.
They will just contact us, buy the key and sell it to you at a higher price.
If you want to decrypt your files, you have to get RSA private key.
In order to get private key, write here:
0xc030@protonmail.ch
0xc030@tuta.io
aes-ni@scryptmail.com
IMPORTANT: In some cases malware researchers can block our e-mails.
If you did not receive any answer on e-mail in 48 hours,
please do not panic and write to BitMsg (https://bitmsg.me) address:
BM-2cVgoJS8HPMkjzgDMVNAGg5TG3bb1TcfhN
or create topic on https://www.bleepingcomputer.com/ and we will find you there.
If someone else offers you files restoring, ask him for test decryption.
Only we can successfully decrypt your files; knowing this can protect you from fraud.
You will receive instructions of what to do next.
You MUST refer this ID in your message:
RECOVERI2#97B0C34050C1C00F7A2977CB25******
Also you MUST send all “.key.aes_ni_0day” files from C:\ProgramData if there are any.
=====# aes-ni ransomware #=====
*****************************

Source: id-ransomware-blogspot.bg

Remove .aes_ni_0day Virus and Get Your Data Back

Before removing the April 2017 special version of AES-NI ransomware, we advise you to backup the .key and .aes_ni_0day files.

Then for the removal process, we strongly recommend following the instructions below. They are carefully designed to help isolate the threat before removing it manually or automatically. In case you are experiencing difficulties in removing AES-NI ransomware manually, security experts always advise using an advanced anti-malware program which aims to ensure that the removal process is swift and effective and your computer is protected against future threats as well.

If you want to restore files, encrypted by the AES-NI ransomware virus, we strongly urge you to see the alternative methods for restoring your files, at least until free decryption software for the ransomware infection is developed. They are located in step “2. Restore files encrypted by AES-NI” below and you may recover at least some of the important files by giving them a try.

Ventsislav Krastev

Ventsislav is a cybersecurity expert at SensorsTechForum since 2015. He has been researching, covering, helping victims with the latest malware infections plus testing and reviewing software and the newest tech developments. Having graduated Marketing as well, Ventsislav also has passion for learning new shifts and innovations in cybersecurity that become game changers. After studying Value Chain Management, Network Administration and Computer Administration of System Applications, he found his true calling within the cybersecrurity industry and is a strong believer in the education of every user towards online safety and security.

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OFFER

REMOVE IT NOW (PC)
with Anti-Malware
We recommend you to download SpyHunter and run free scan to remove all virus files on your PC. This saves you hours of time and effort compared to doing the removal yourself.
SpyHunter 5 free remover allows you, subject to a 48-hour waiting period, one remediation and removal for results found. Read EULA and Privacy Policy

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

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.
remove ransomware in safe mode step 1


2. The "Run" Window will appear. In it, type "msconfig" and click OK.
remove ransomware in safe mode step 2


3. Go to the "Boot" tab. There select "Safe Boot" and then click "Apply" and "OK".
remove ransomware in safe mode step 3
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.
remove ransomware in safe mode step 4


5. You can recognise Safe Mode by the words written on the corners of your screen.
remove ransomware in safe mode step 5


Step 2: Uninstall AES-NI and related malware 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.
delete ransomware from windows step 1


2. In the field type in "appwiz.cpl" and press ENTER.
delete ransomware from windows step 2


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"
delete ransomware from windows step 3Follow the instructions above and you will successfully delete most unwanted and malicious programs.


Step 3: Clean any registries, created by AES-NI 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 AES-NI there. This can happen by following the steps underneath:

1. Open the Run Window again, type "regedit" and click OK.
delete ransomware virus registries step 1


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


3. You can remove the value of the virus by right-clicking on it and removing it.
delete ransomware virus registries step 3 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 AES-NI 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.

scan for and delete ransomware virus step 2


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

scan for and delete ransomware virus step 3


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.

scan for and delete ransomware virus step 4

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

Ransomware Automatic Removal - Video Guide

Step 5 (Optional): Try to Restore Files Encrypted by AES-NI.

Ransomware infections and AES-NI aim to encrypt your files using an encryption algorithm which may be very difficult to decrypt. This is why we have suggested a data recovery method that may help you go around direct decryption and try to restore your files. Bear in mind that this method may not be 100% effective but may also help you a little or a lot in different situations.

1. Download the recommended Data Recovery software by clicking on the link underneath:

Simply click on the link and on the website menus on the top, choose Data Recovery - Data Recovery Wizard for Windows or Mac (depending on your OS), and then download and run the tool.


AES-NI FAQ

    

What is AES-NI Ransomware?

AES-NI 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.

Can AES-NI Ransomware Damage My Computer?

Yes, ransomware can damage your computer. Ransomware is a malicious software that is designed to block access to your computer or files until a ransom is paid. It can encrypt your files and make them inaccessible, preventing you from using your computer or accessing your data. Ransomware can also damage your system, corrupt data and delete files, resulting in the permanent loss of important files.

Should I Ignore Ransomware, like AES-NI?

No, you should never ignore ransomware. Ransomware can encrypt your data and block access to your computer, making it impossible to access your files until you pay a ransom. Ignoring ransomware could lead to the permanent loss of your data, as well as the potential for the ransomware to spread to other computers on your network. Additionally, paying the ransom does not guarantee that your data will be recovered. The best way to protect yourself is to invest in robust cyber security measures, such as backup solutions and anti-malware software.

How Does AES-NI Ransomware Infect My Computer?

Via several ways.AES-NI 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. 

After you download and execute this attachment, a drive-by download occurs and your computer is infected with the ransomware virus.

Another way you may become a victim of AES-NI 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 .AES-NI files?

You can't. At this point, the .AES-NI files are encrypted. You can only open them once they are decrypted.

         

What to Do If Ransomware Decryptor Does Not Work?

Do not panic, and backup the files. If a decryptor did not decrypt your .AES-NI files successfully, then do not despair, because this virus is still new.

One way to restore files, encrypted by AES-NI ransomware is to use a decryptor for it. But since it's a new virus, be advised that the decryption keys for it may not be out yet and available to the public. We will update this article and keep you posted as soon as this decryptor is released.

Can I Restore ".AES-NI" Files (Other Methods)?

Yes, sometimes files can be restored. We have suggested several file recovery methods that could work if you want to restore .AES-NI 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 Do I Get Rid of AES-NI 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 AES-NI ransomware and then remove it without causing any additional harm to your important .AES-NI files.

Also, keep in mind that viruses like AES-NI ransomware also install Trojans and keyloggers that can steal your passwords and accounts. Scanning your computer with anti-malware software will make sure that all of these virus components are removed and your computer is protected in the future.

What to Do If I Cannot Recover Ransomware Encrypted Files?

There is still a lot you can do. If none of the above methods seem to work for you, then try these methods:

-Try to find a safe computer from where you can can login on your own line accounts like One Drive, iDrive, Google Drive and so on.
 
-Try to contact your friends, relatives and other people so that they can check if they have some of your important photos or documents just in case you sent them.

-Also, check if some of the files that were encrypted it can be re-downloaded from the web.

-Another clever way to get back some of your files is to find another old computer, a flash drive or even a CD or a DVD where you may have saved your older documents. You might be surprised what will turn up.

-You can also go to your email account to check if you can send any attachments to other people. Usually what is sent the email is saved on your account and you can re-download it. But most importantly, make sure that this is done from a safe computer and make sure to remove the virus first.

More tips you can find on our forums, where you can also asks any questions about your ransomware problem.

 

How to 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 Prevent AES-NI 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. In addition, it is also important to keep your passwords secure and to avoid visiting websites or downloading applications from untrusted sources. Finally, ensure you have adequate backup and recovery procedures in place to restore your system to its pre-attack state, should a ransomware attack occur.

Can AES-NI 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. In many cases, the malware authors or attackers will threaten to delete the data or publish it online unless the ransom is paid. This means that if a user is infected with ransomware, their data can be stolen and held for ransom. It is important to be aware of this threat and take precautions to protect yourself and your data.

Can Ransomware Affect WiFi?

Yes, ransomware can affect 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 to use them to commit cybercrimes. In some cases, they may even continue to demand additional ransom payments.

Why Is the Ransom Paid in Crypto?

Cryptocurrency is a secure and untraceable form of payment, making it the ideal choice for ransom payments. It is difficult to trace, and the transactions are almost instantaneous. This means it is nearly impossible for authorities to track the payment and recover the money.

Can Ransomware 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, 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 AES-NI Research

The content we publish on SensorsTechForum.com, this AES-NI 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.

Furthermore, the research behind the AES-NI ransomware threat is backed with VirusTotal and the NoMoreRansom project.

To better understand the ransomware threat, please refer to the following articles which provide knowledgeable details.

References

1. How to Recognize Spam Emails with Ransomware
2. How Does Ransomware Encryption Work?
3. How to Decrypt Ransomware Files
4. Ransomware Getting Greedier and Bigger, Attacks Increase by 40%
5. 1 in 5 Americans Victim of Ransomware


Attention! SensorsTechForum strongly recommends that all malware victims should look for assistance only by reputable sources. Many guides out there claim to offer free recovery and decryption for files encrypted by ransomware viruses. Be advised that some of them may only be after your money.

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.

How to recognize trustworthy sources:

  • Always check "About Us" web page.
  • Profile of the content creator.
  • Make sure that real people are behind the site and not fake names and profiles.
  • Verify Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter personal profiles.

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