A ransomware virus using .cryptocat as a file extension after it encodes the files of affected users with a strong RSA-2048 algorithm has been detected. The virus also leaves a ransom note in a “Your files are locked !.txt” file, asking victims to contact firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com in order to receive instructions on how to pay the hefty sum of 1.45 BTC to get the files back. To anyone who has been infected by this ransomware virus, researchers strongly advise not to make any payoff to the cyber-criminals and wait for a decryption solution to be released. In the meantime, we urge you to remove CryptoCat ransomware and try alternative methods to restore your files, like the ones in the instructions below.
|Short Description||The malware encrypts users files using RSA-2048 encryption which is military grade. It asks for the sum of 1.45 BTC for their decryption..|
|Symptoms||Cryptocat ads its distinctive .cryptocat file extension and leaves a Your files are locked !.txt file with instructions on how to pay the ransom.|
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|User Experience||Join our forum to Discuss CryptoCat Ransomware.|
|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.|
CryptoCat Ransomware – How It Spreads
For it to replicate, CryptoCat acts just like a real cat – it hunts and waits for it’s victims to open it’s malicious e-mail attachments or files. As soon as the user opens them, the malware may execute a drive-by-download of a malicious file and it’s may start it automatically on the user PC to begin encrypting files. Not only this, but the virus may also use a combination of tools that ensure a successful infection takes place:
- Malware obfuscators otherwise known as cryptors that hide the malicious file from real-time shields. Expensive to buy but worth it for crooks.
- Exploit kits that take advantage of Windows exploits to cause a successful infection.
SpamBots to quickly spread spam web links or malicious e-mail attachments.
The spam messages that may spread CryptoCat may be of various character. They usually aim to fool users that the URL or the attachment is important. Topics may include:
- “Confirmation letter for purchase.”
- “Add me in your LinkedIn network.”
Users should use e-mail services with advanced spam filters and always check the attachments and URLs if they believe they are suspicious before opening them.
CryptoCat Ransomware – More Information
When it has been executed on your computer, the CryptoCat virus may drop several files in the following Windows folders:
Since the virus is believed to be a variant of another ransomware project, called PClock, it may create the following files as well:
The files may have different names than Windsk. The virus may also create files on the %Desktop%, like the following:
This file may lead the user to a payment page for the ransom.
In addition to this, the CryptoCat virus may modify the following Windows key to make the malicious files of CryptoCat run on Windows startup:
The CryptoCat ransomware scans for files that are often used, but similar to PClock it may also be pre-programmed to encrypt files with the following file extensions:
→ .3fr, .accdb, .ai, .arw, .bay, .cdr, .cer, .cr2, .crt, .crw, .h, .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 Source:kb.wisc.edu
After file encryption, the CryptoCat ransomware may change the wallpaper of the user to a wallpaper with a cat and along it the ransom note of CryptoCat may appear, with instructions to open the .lnk file.
The CryptoCat virus also gives a deadline to pay the ransom money and if it is not met, the virus or the cyber-criminals may destroy the decryption keys permanently and make the decryption irreversible.
After encryption CryptoCat adds the following ransom note:
CryptoCat – Conclusion, Removal and File Restoration
CryptoCat is a virus that uses various ciphers to scamble your files. Given the fact that it also gives a deadline to pay the ransom makes it almost imperative to remove this virus straight away.
To remove CryptoCat ransomware, please do not hesitate to follow the removal instructions posted after this article. They will help you effectively delete this ransomware from your PC. In case you are having difficulties in deleting CryptoCat from your computer manually, the best method according to researchers is automatically scanning your computer using an advanced anti-malware program to delete the ransomware.
To restore your files, we advise you to back them up first and wait for a free decryptor to be released sooner or later. In the meantime you may want to try using the alternative methods of step “3. Restore files encrypted by CryptoCat.” Below.
Step 1: Boot Your PC In Safe Mode to isolate and remove CryptoCat
Step 2: Uninstall CryptoCat 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.
Step 3: Clean any registries, created by CryptoCat 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 CryptoCat there. This can happen by following the steps underneath:
Step 4: Scan for CryptoCat with SpyHunter Anti-Malware Tool
Ransomware Automatic Removal - Video Guide
Step 5 (Optional): Try to Restore Files Encrypted by CryptoCat.
Ransomware infections and CryptoCat 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.
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.
What is CryptoCat Ransomware?
CryptoCat 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 CryptoCat 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 CryptoCat?
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 CryptoCat Ransomware Infect My Computer?
Via several ways.CryptoCat 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 CryptoCat 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 .CryptoCat files?
You can't. At this point, the .CryptoCat 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 .CryptoCat files successfully, then do not despair, because this virus is still new.
One way to restore files, encrypted by CryptoCat 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 ".CryptoCat" Files (Other Methods)?
Yes, sometimes files can be restored. We have suggested several file recovery methods that could work if you want to restore .CryptoCat 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 CryptoCat 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 CryptoCat ransomware and then remove it without causing any additional harm to your important .CryptoCat files.
Also, keep in mind that viruses like CryptoCat 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 CryptoCat 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 CryptoCat 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 CryptoCat Research
The content we publish on SensorsTechForum.com, this CryptoCat 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.
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.