The CryptoGod virus is a new strain of the Hidden Tear ransomware family. The currently released samples of it are probably test versions that may be updated in further iterations. Refer to our in-depth article for a technical analysis and full removal instructions.
|Short Description||The ransomware encrypts sensitive information on your computer system with the .locked extensions and demands a ransom to be paid to allegedly recover them.|
|Symptoms||The ransomware will encrypt your files with a strong encryption algorithm.|
|Distribution Method||Spam Emails, Email Attachments|
|Detection Tool|| See If Your System Has Been Affected by CryptoGod |
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|User Experience||Join Our Forum to Discuss CryptoGod.|
|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.|
CryptoGod virus – Distribution Ways
The CryptoGod virus is being distributed using the most common delivery tactics. The ongoing attacks are relatively limited in size and scope. It is possible that the hacker behind it may use various techniques to spread the infection.
One of the primary ones is the use of email SPAM messages containing social engineering tactics. The CryptoGod virus is delivered using messages that pose as being sent by well-known companies or Internet services. The files can be either attached directly or hyperlinked in the body contents.
The criminals behind the virus can create fake download sites that mimic legitimate Internet portals by hijacking their design templates and web elements. Along with file sharing networks (for example BitTorrent) they areu used to deploy infected payloads to the target machines. There are two main types that are generally regarded as the most popular ones:
- Documents — The malicious code can be embedded in files of different types: text documents, spreadsheets, databases and presentations. When they are opened by the victims a messge will pop-up asking them to enable the built-in scripts (macros). When this is done the CryptoGod virus infection will begin.
- Application Installers — In a similar way the criminals can embed the malicious code into application installers. This is done by downloading the legitimate files from the vendors and manipulating them with the CryptoGod code. Computer hackers typically target popular software: system utilities, creativity suites and productivith applications.
Some CryptoGod strains can also be integrated in browser hijackers. They are dangerous browser plugins that are usually spread on the relevant extension repositories using fake developer credentials and user reviews.
CryptoGod virus – In-Depth Analysis
The CryptoGod virus is a new strain of the Hidden Tear ransomware family. The analysis reveals that it has been created by a hacker named Patrizio Napoli as his signature was found in the code. It is very possible that it has been created as a test version or a proof-of-concept virus. By all means its current iteration will probably not be used in large live attacks. The purpose of the ransomware seems to be testing the effectivity of the code. It is possible that this virus is connected to the .payforunlock ransomware strain which also features the “CryptoGod” string.
As such the CryptoGod virus does not feature modules apart from it’s basic ransomware engine. It is based on the Hidden Tear code base which means that it might include other additions. Having a detailed overview over most other similar threats we can construct a possible behaviour pattern that might be used in fuutre versions of it.
The attacks may begin with a data harvesting component that can be used to extract certain strings from the stored files and user input. The information can be classified into two main types:
- Attack Optimization Metrics — The engine can be programmed to harvest strings that can reveal information such as the installed hardware components and certain operating system values.
- Personal Data — The same mechanism can be used to instruct the harvesting engine into retrieving data that can be used to directly expose the victim user’s identity. The collected information includes their name, address, phone number, interests, location and passwords.
Once the collection of information has completed it can be forwarded to the stealth protection plugin. It is used to scan for signatures of applications and services that might interfere with the proper virus execution. This is done by bypassing the real-time scanners of anti-virus software and other similar applications — virtual machine hosts and debug environments.
The CryptoGod virus can then modify the infected computers in various ways. A list of the possible changes includes the following actions:
- Windows Registry Modification — The main malicious engine can disrupt the normal operations of the machines by modifying the Windows registry entries belonging both to the operating system and the user-installed applications.
- Persistent Installation — The CryptoGod virus can be installed as a persistent threat which hinders manual user removal. It is also capable of disabling access to the boot recovery menu.
- File Recovery Issues — The malicious engine is able to delete the Shadow Volume Copies and system restore information. This means that the affected data cannot be recovered easily without the use of a professional solution. Refer to our instructions below for more information on this.
- Trojan Module — The CryptoGod virus can connect to a hacker-controlled server that can invoke a Trojan-like behavior. This means that the hacker operators will be able to spy on the victims in real time, as well as overtake control of their machines.
The code analysis also reveals that it some of the code may be connected to the MoWare H.F.D ransomware.
CryptoGod virus — Encryption
Once all components have executed correctly the ransomware engine will be started. Practically all Hidden Tear ransomware variants, including the CryptoGod virus, utilize a built-in list of file type extensions that are encrypted with a strong cipher. The criminals usually define sensitive information that has a critical impact upon the victims, an example list might contain the following data:
The compromised files are encrypted and renamed with the .locked extension which is one of the generic Hidden Tear markers. Like other similar threats it creates a ransomware message. In this particular case a lockscreen instance is spawned which reads the following message:
I TUOI FILE PERSONALI STANNO PER ESSERE
CANCELLATI. LE TUE FOTO, VIDEO, DOCUMENTI
MA NON PREOCCUPARTI! SUCCEDERA SOLO SE
NON SEGUL LE REGOLE.
HO GIA CRIPTATO I TUOI FILE, IN MODO CHE TU
NON POSSA ACCEDRVI. OGNI ORA SELEZIONERO
UNO DI LORO E LO CANCELLERO IN MODO
PERMANENTE, DOPO 24 ORE LI CANCELLERO
TUTTI, QUENDI NEMMENO IO SARO PIU IN GRADO
SONO L’UNICO IN GRADO DI DECRIPTARE I TUOI
ORA, GUARDA I TUOI FILE, NON POTRAL
DECRTIPTARLI SENZA PAGARE.
LA CIFRA DA PAGARE PER RIAVERE I FILE E DID
300€ IN CODICI PAYSAFECARD.
PUOI INSERIRE DIRETTAMENTE QUI SOTTO I TUOI
CODICI PAYSAFECARD, IL NOME DEL TUO PC ED
UNA TUA E-MAIL PER INVIARLE IL CODICE DI
DECRIPTAZIONE DEI FILE.
An automated machine translation (via the Google Translate service) shows the following message:
YOUR PERSONAL FILES ARE TO BE
DELETED. YOUR PHOTOS, VIDEOS, DOCUMENTS
BUT DO NOT WORRY! SUCCEDERA ONLY IF
DO NOT SIDE THE RULES.
I HAVE CRYPTED YOUR FILES, SO THAT YOU
CAN NOT ACCEPT. EVERY HOUR SELECTED
ONE OF THEM AND CANCEL IT IN A WAY
PERMANENT, AFTER 24 HOURS CLEARLY
EVERYONE, I’M NOT EVEN MORE ABLE
TO RECOVER THEM.
I AM THE ONLY ABLE TO DECREASE YOURS
NOW, WATCH YOUR FILES, DO NOT MAKE IT
DECREASE WITHOUT PAYING.
THE NUMBERS TO BE PAID TO REACH THE FILES AND DID
€ 300 IN PAYSAFECARD CODES.
YOU CAN INSERT DIRECTLY HERE UNDER YOURS
CODES PAYSAFECARD, THE NAME OF YOUR PC ED
YOUR E-MAIL TO SEND THE CODE OF
The lockscreen instance blocks the user interaction with the computer until the threat has been removed completely.
Note! Your computer system may be affected by CryptoGod and other threats.
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