A new and improved variant of the CryptoWall ransomware has been infecting computers worldwide in the past few days. The new CryptoWall 3.0 uses a localized ransom message and passes traffic to a website where the victims can pay for the decryption key needed to unlock their files through Tor and I2P anonymous networks.
CryptoWall is a file-encrypting type of threat, which once activated on the infected machine encrypts certain files on it and demands a fine of $500 in order to provide the victim with the decryption key. The ransom is to be paid in Bitcoin digital currency in the first 168 hours.
|Short Description||The user’s files are encrypted and unusable.|
|Symptoms||A ransom note is displayed to the victim.|
|Distribution Method||Via malicious attachments.|
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|User Experience||Join our forum to discuss CryptoWall 3.0.|
The New Features of CryptoWall 3.0
New Tor to Web gateways are used by the new version of CryptoWall: torman2.com, torforall.com, torroadsters.com, and torwoman.com. Either one of them redirects the victim to the same web page containing the payment instructions, but the IDs for tracking the payments are unique.
The payment period is extended from five days to a whole week, after which the fee is raised to $1000.
The crooks have created additional files containing information about the payment and the restoring of the encrypted data:
- HELP_DECRYPT.HTML: uses your web browser to display information about the threat, encryption and payment methods
- HELP_DECRYPT.PNG: contains details about CryptoWall 3.0
- HELP_DECRYPT.TXT: the same as the previous one, but in plain text
- HELP_DECRYPT.URL: uses your current web browser to display the CryptoWall 3.0 Decrypt Service when Windows is loaded
What happened to your files?
All of your files were protected by a strong encryption with RSA-2048 using CryptoWall 3.0.
More information about the encryption keys using RSA-2048 can be found here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RSA_(cryptosystem)
What does this mean?
This means that the structure and data within your files have been irrevocably changed, you will not be able to work with them, read them or see them, it is the same thing as losing them forever, but with our help, you can restore them.
How did this happen?
Especially for you, on our server was generated the secret key pair RSA-2048 – public and private.
All your files were encrypted with the public key, which has been transferred to your computer via the Internet.
Decrypting of your files is only possible with the help of the private key and decrypt program, which is on our secret server.
What do I do?
Alas, if you do not take the necessary measures for the specified time then the conditions for obtaining the private key will be changed.
If you really value your data, then we suggest you do not waste valuable time searching for other solutions because they do not exist.
Once the file-encryption process is over, the original files are deleted. In case you do not have a backup of your files, you could use reliable software to restore them or part of them from the Windows shadow copies. Below you will find detailed instructions on how to do so.
Connection to I2P Fails
The new version of CryptoWall has been detected by security experts at Microsoft and the French researcher Kafeine, who has reported that the communication with the C&C (Command and Control) server is encoded with the RC4 algorithm and uses the I2P protocol.
As Kafeine tried to test the sample of the new threat, he received an error message every time he attempted to connect to the proxies. The notification, the researcher received, stated that the I2P website was not available due to various reasons – inability to connect to systems or congested network. The hackers seemed to be ready for cases like this one, because they have provided detailed instructions on how to gain access to the decryption service on the Tor network.
Cryptowall 3.0 New Distribution Methods (September 4, 2015)
How is Cryptowall 3.0 dropped onto the system?
Cryptowall ransomware has been around long enough for researchers to gather detailed information about its methods. The ransomware is distributed primarily via emails with .ZIP attachments. The latter contain executable files masqueraded as PDFs. The files in question can be any form of business communication such as:
- Purchase orders (POs)
Once the malicious PDF is launched, CryptoWall will be installed onto the system. The malicious files will be located in one of the two folders %AppData% or %Temp%. Then, the threat will start scanning the system’s drivers to find files to encrypt. All drive letters will be scanned, removal drives, network shares and DropBox mapping included. Any drive letter on the infected system will be checked for data files.
Here is a list of all the locations where CryptoWall 3.0 may be situated:
Can I Find the Files Encrypted by CryptoWall 3.0?
Files encrypted by CryptoWall 3.0 will be stored together with their paths in the Windows Registry. The subkey location is in the following format:
→HKCU\Software\[unique computer ID]\[random ID]
An actual example looks like that:
The process will be repeated for every encrypted file under the mentioned key.
ListCwall can be used as well. It is a tool created by Bleeping Computer to automate the finding and exporting of the encrypted files. The tool can also backup the locked files to another location, in case the user needs to archive them and reformat the PC.
Also, here is a list with file extensions which CryptoWall 3.0 seeks to encrypt:
→ .3dm, .3ds, .3fr, .mcmeta, .vfs0, .mpqge, .kdb, .db0, .dba, .rofl, .hkx, .bar, .upk, .das, .iwi, .litemod, .asset, .forge, .ltx, .bsa, .apk, .re4, .sav, .lbf, .slm, .bik, .epk, .rgss3a, .pak, .big, wallet, .wotreplay, .xxx, .desc, .py, .m3u, .flv, .js, .css, .rb, .png, .jpeg, .txt, .p7c, .p7b, .p12, .pfx, .pem, .crt, .cer, .der, .x3f, .srw, .pef, .ptx, .r3d, .rw2, .rwl, .raw, .raf, .orf, .nrw, .mrwref, .mef, .erf, .kdc, .dcr, .cr2, .crw, .bay, .sr2, .srf, .arw, .3fr, .dng, .3g2, .3gp, .3pr, .7z, .ab4, .accdb, .sql, .mp4, .7z, .rar, .m4a, .wma, .avi, .wmv, .csv, .d3dbsp, .zip, .sie, .sum, .ibank, .t13, .t12, .qdf, .gdb, .tax, .pkpass, .bc6, .bc7, .bkp, .qic, .bkf, .sidn, .sidd, .mddata, .itl, .itdb, .icxs, .hvpl, .hplg, .hkdb, .mdbackup, .syncdb, .gho, .cas, .svg, .map, .wmo, .itm, .sb, .fos, .mov, .vdf, .ztmp, .sis, .sid, .ncf, .menu, .layout, .dmp, .blob, .esm, .vcf, .vtf, .dazip, .fpk, .mlx, .kf, .iwd, .vpk, .tor, .psk, .rim, .w3x, .fsh, .ntl, .arch00, .lvl, .snx, .cfr, .ff, .vpp_pc, .lrf, .m2, .jpe, .jpg, .cdr, .indd, .ai, .eps, .pdf, .pdd, .psd, .dbf, .mdf, .wb2, .rtf, .wpd, .dxg, .xf, .dwg, .pst, .accdb, .mdb, .pptm, .pptx, .ppt, .xlk, .xlsb, .xlsm, .xlsx, .xls, .wps, .docm, .docx, .doc, .odb, .odc, .odm, .odp, .ods, .odt, .accde, .accdr, .accdt, .ach, .acr, .act, .adb
User Behavior and Ransomware. Phishing Scams
What we described about the distribution methods so far can mean only one thing – the cyber criminals solely rely on the user’s interaction with malicious spam. The method is known as phishing – a form of social engineering often deployed to spread malware or collect user credentials. This is an exemplary email of how the scam may appear to users:
Image Source: Symantec
Cryptowall Precautionary Tips
To bypass malicious infections, avoid downloading archive files such as .zip, .jar, .tar, .7z, .msi, and executable/script files such as .com, .exe, .scr, .bat, .js, .jse, .vb, .vbe, .wsf, .wsh, .cmd. Always bear in mind that real companies would avoid sending such types of files, unless you had a previous arrangement set.
Additionally, you can use online website rating services such as Norton Safe Web to determine if a website is safe or unsafe to visit. With file-encrypting threats, the best precautionary advice is a very simple one. Back-up your files. Aways think of this, especially when your data is valuable and you keep a lot of business documents on your PC.
You can also check out the general precautionary tips we have on our forum about ransomware, which come full force for CryptoWall 3.0 as well.
CryptoWall 3.0 can encrypt files on a network share in case it is mapped as a drive letter. If the network share is not mapped as such, CryptoWall 3.0 will not affect the files located there. To secure open shares, users can allow only writable access to the needed user groups or authorized users. The tip is quite important when it comes to threats such as CryptoWall.
Remove CryptoWall 3.0 and Restore the Encrypted Files
Follow the instructions provided below to remove all traces of this ransomware. Keep in mind that the best and most secure way to do that is by using a strong anti-malware program.
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.
- Guide 1: How to Remove CryptoWall 3.0 from Windows.
- Guide 2: Get rid of CryptoWall 3.0 from Mac OS X.
How to Remove CryptoWall 3.0 from Windows.
Step 1: Boot Your PC In Safe Mode to isolate and remove CryptoWall 3.0
Step 2: Uninstall CryptoWall 3.0 and related software 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 CryptoWall 3.0 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 CryptoWall 3.0 there. This can happen by following the steps underneath:
Step 4: Scan for CryptoWall 3.0 with SpyHunter Anti-Malware Tool
Step 5 (Optional): Try to Restore Files Encrypted by CryptoWall 3.0.
Ransomware infections and CryptoWall 3.0 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 top, choose Data Recovery - Data Recovery Wizard for Windows or Mac (depending on your OS), and then download and run the tool.
Get rid of CryptoWall 3.0 from Mac OS X.
Step 1: Uninstall CryptoWall 3.0 and remove related files and objects
1. Hit the ⇧+⌘+U keys to open Utilities. Another way is to click on “Go” and then click “Utilities”, like the image below shows:
- Go to Finder.
- In the search bar type the name of the app that you want to remove.
- Above the search bar change the two drop down menus to “System Files” and “Are Included” so that you can see all of the files associated with the application you want to remove. Bear in mind that some of the files may not be related to the app so be very careful which files you delete.
- If all of the files are related, hold the ⌘+A buttons to select them and then drive them to “Trash”.
In case you cannot remove CryptoWall 3.0 via Step 1 above:
In case you cannot find the virus files and objects in your Applications or other places we have shown above, you can manually look for them in the Libraries of your Mac. But before doing this, please read the disclaimer below:
You can repeat the same procedure with the following other Library directories:
Tip: ~ is there on purpose, because it leads to more LaunchAgents.
Step 2: Scan for and remove malware from your Mac
When you are facing problems on your Mac as a result of unwanted scripts, programs and malware, the recommended way of eliminating the threat is by using an anti-malware program. Combo Cleaner offers advanced security features along with other modules that will improve your Mac’s security and protect it in the future.
Step 3 (Optional): Try to Restore Files Encrypted by CryptoWall 3.0 on your Mac.
Ransomware for Mac CryptoWall 3.0 aims to encode all your files using an encryption algorithm which may be very difficult to decode, unless you pay money.
This is why we have suggested a data recovery method that may help you go around direct decryption and try to restore your files, but only in some cases. Bear in mind that this method may not be 100% effective but may also help you a little or a lot in different situations.
CryptoWall 3.0 FAQ
What is CryptoWall 3.0 ransomware and how does it work?
CryptoWall 3.0 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 algorithm how 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.
How does CryptoWall 3.0 ransomware infect my computer?
Via several ways.CryptoWall 3.0 Ransomware infects computers by being sent via phishing e-mails, 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 CryptoWall 3.0 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 .CryptoWall 3.0 files?
You can't. At this point the .CryptoWall 3.0 files are encrypted. You can only open them once they are decrypted.
Decryptor did not decrypt my data. What now?
Do not panic and backup the files. If a decryptor did not decrypt your .CryptoWall 3.0 files successfully, then do not despair, because this virus is still new.
One way to restore files, encrypted by CryptoWall 3.0 ransomware is to use a decryptor for it. But since it's a new virus, 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.
How Do I restore ".CryptoWall 3.0" files (Other Methods)?
Yes, sometimes files can be restored. We have suggested several file recovery methods that could work if you want to restore .CryptoWall 3.0 files.
These methods are in no way 100% guarantee 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 CryptoWall 3.0 ransomware virus?
The safest way and the most efficient one for the removal of this ransomware infection is the use a professional anti malware software. It will scan for and locate CryptoWall 3.0 ransomware and then remove it without causing any additional harm to your important .CryptoWall 3.0 files.
Also, keep in mind that viruses like CryptoWall 3.0 ransomware also install Trojans and keyloggers that can steal your passwords and accounts. Scanning your computer with an 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 nothing works?
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.