Ransowmare virus, going by the name CryptoWire has been reported to cause infections and encrypt files of affected comptuers by appending the .encrypted file extension after that. The virus uses AES encryption algorithm to encipher the files of its victims rendering them no longer openable. It also leaves a lockscreen in addition to the encryption where the demands are to pay approximately 0.29 BTC in ransom by buying decryption keys via pressing a button. Anyone who has become victim of the CrytoWire ransomware are strongly advised to not pay the ransom and follow the information in this article to help you learn more about the virus, remove it and hopefully restore your files.
|Short Description||The ransomware encrypts files with the AES ciphers and asks a ransom payoff for decryption.|
|Symptoms||Files are encrypted and become inaccessible. A ransom note with instructions for paying the ransom shows as a lockscreen.|
|Distribution Method||Spam Emails, Email Attachments, File Sharing Networks.|
|Detection Tool|| See If Your System Has Been Affected by malware |
Malware Removal Tool
|User Experience||Join our forum to Discuss CryptoWire 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.|
CryptoWire Ransom Virus – Distribution Vectors
Similar to other crypto-viruses, the CryptoWire threat could use the following tools to help it cause successful infections:
- Malicious HTML files (.html, .htm, .hta and others)
- Malware obfuscators that hide the malware from any security software on the victim computer.
- File Joiners that may combine the virus with legitimate documents, such as Microsoft Office documents or Adobe documents containing malicious macros.
- Malicious servers (for command and control and the download of the payload).
- Tools used to help the virus spread via different spam, also known as spam bots.
- External spamming services of other cyber-crooks as a form of collaboration.
These tools may successfully spread CryptoWire on your e-mail, your social media accounts and even as comments on forums, like reddit and others. Sometimes spam bots may be used to take over Facebook accounts , create duplicate accounts or other devious activities and spam the virus via posts or messages this way. Whatever the case may be, once you open CryptoWire’s malicious payload, you become “cryptowired” and so far there seems to be no turning back.
CryptoWire Ransomware – Technical Analysis
The virus interestingly enough uses a combination of lockscreen techniques as well as techniques that directly cause file encryption via the AES encryption algorithm which is one of the strongest publicly available. The encryption is originally designed for military defensive purposes when it comes down to classified files and depending on how strong it is lies the outcome of the decryption of your data.
After infection by CryptoWire, the virus may download it’s payload via several different names, but most researchers who detected it know its malicious file to be named completely randomly with the following technical information about it:
The malicious files belonging to CryptoWire may be located In several key Windows folders:
After executed, the malicious file of CryptWire immediately begins malicious process injection in key Windows processes:
It may use those key Windows modules for different malicious activities:
- To communicate online with the C&C(Command and Control) servers of the cyber-criminals.
- To execute the privileged vssadmin command in “/quiet” mode and delete all shadow volume copies of the infected computer.
- To heavily modify subkeys and add custom values in the Windows Registry Editor. These may be used to lock the screen and run on system startup before any protection software blocks it while it encrypts user data.
After the module which is responsible for encrypting files is ran, it may immediately attack types of files that are used very often, like videos, images, audio files, databases and others. We have summed up commonly used file extensions to give you a vague overview of what file extensions this virus may be pre-programmed to encipher:
After the encryption process by CryptWire has completed, the virus begins to immediately lock the screen of the user PC and display it’s unique message:
The virus even has a button that leads directly to a Bitcoin trading platform where victims will be able to buy BTC, making it more convenient.
The worse news about CryptoWire, however are not related either to the AES-256 algorithm It uses neither to the fact that it uses lockscreen messages. They are related to the fact that the virus has been uploaded directly for free with all of it’s “features” advertised in GitHub which may be an opportunity for coders who want to create their own variant of CryptoWire. Here are some of the extras being advertised:
- Encrypts files on stored USB drives, other external drives, OneDrive, Dropbox, Google Drive (cloud services), Google Games(Steam), Network shares.
- Not specifically extension based, encrypts all files besides critical Windows files that are maximum 30 MB in size.
- Deletes shadow volume copies.
- Overwrites old versions of the files which are non-encrypted several times, 10 to be prices to make them permanently deleted and unable to be recovered by any type of data recovery software.
- Avoids heuristic scans using custom algorithms.
- Runs on startup.
- Checks the domain of the victim PC and if the computer is an eneterprise machine belonging to a business network the ransom payoff amount significantly rises ten times.
April 2018 New CryptoWire Release
Even though the CryptoWire ransomware family is not among the most advanced ones it is frequently used by beginner malware actors against users worldwide. A recent active attack campaign bearing its signatures was detected in April 2018, the analysis reveals that the virus payload is a customized version of the main version. The strain is compiled on April 10 2018 and shortly after that we have received reports of infected users.
By following the already established behavior patterns the virus engine proceeds into certain system modifications that make it more difficult to restore the affected system and data:
- Shadow Volume Copies Removal — The malware engine has the ability to remove all found shadow volume copies of the victim data. The impacted files can be restored with a quality recovery software. Refer to our instructions below.
- Boot Options Modification — The CryptoWire malware engine modifies the boot options thereby removing the possibility to boot into the recovery menu.
- Persistent State of Execution — CryptoWire creates a scheduled task that executes the virus every time the computer boots.
The captured samples have been found to affect the following file type extensions:
3fr, 7z, EPS, M3U, M4A, PEM, PSD, WPS, XLSX, abw, accdb, afsnit, ai, aif, arc, arw, as, asc, asd, asf,
ashdisc, asm, asp, aspx, asx, aup, avi, bay, bbb, bdb, bibtex, bkf, bmp, bmp, bpn, btd, bz2, c, cdi, cdr,
cer, cert, cfm, cgi, cpio, cpp, cr2, crt, crw, csr, cue, dbf, dcr, dds, dem, der, dmg, dng, doc, docm, docx, dsb,
dwg, dxf, dxg, eddx, edoc, eml, emlx, eps, epub, erf, fdf, ffu, flv, gam, gcode, gho, gpx, gz, h, hbk, hdd, hds,
himmel, hpp, ics, idml, iff, img, indd, ipd, iso, isz, iwa, j2k, jp2, jpeg, jpf, jpg, jpm, jpx, jsp, jspa, jspx,
jst, kdc, key, keynote, kml, kmz, lic, lwp, lzma, m4v, max, mbox, md2, mdb, mdbackup, mddata, mdf, mdinfo, mds,
mef, mid, mov, mp3, mp4, mpa, mpb, mpeg, mpg, mpj, mpp, mrw, msg, mso, nba, nbf, nbi, nbu, nbz, nco, nef, nes,
note, nrg, nri, nrw, odb, odc, odm, odp, ods, odt, ogg, one, orf, ova, ovf, oxps, p12, p2i, p65, p7, p7b, p7c,
pages, pct, pdd, pdf, pef, pem, pfx, php, php3, php4, php5, phps, phpx, phpxx, phtm, phtml, pl, plist, pmd, pmx,
png, ppdf, pps, ppsm, ppsx, ppt, pptm, pptx, ps, psd, pspimage, pst, ptx, pub, pvm, qcn, qcow, qcow2, qt, r3d, ra,
raf, rar, raw, rm, rtf, rtf, rw2, rwl, s, sbf, set, skb, slf, sme, smm, snp, spb, sql, sr2, srf, srt, srw, ssc, ssi,
stg, stl, svg, swf, sxw, syncdb, tager, tc, tex, tga, thm, tif, tiff, til, toast, torrent, txt, vbk, vcard, vcd, vcf,
vdi, vfs4, vhd, vhdx, vmdk, vob, vsdx, wav, wb2, wbk, wbverify, webm, wmb, wpb, wpd, wps, x3f, xdw, xlk, xlr, xls, xlsb,
xlsm, xlsx, xz, yuv, zip, zipx
As a consequence all affected data is renamed with the .encrypted extension. Like some of its previous versions this particular sample launches an application-based lockscreen with the “CryptoWire” title. It reads the following message:
The only way you can recover your files is to buy a decryption key
The payment method is: Bitcoins. The price is: $1000 = Bitcoins
When you are ready, send a message by email to firstname.lastname@example.org
We will send you our BTC wallet for the transfer
After confirmation we will send you the decryption key
Click on the ‘Buy decryption key’ button.
CryptoWire Ransomware – The Bottom Line, Removal and How to Restore the Files
In conclusion, this is a very ambitious ransomware project, that not only has evasive techniques but may also prove to be well coded as well. With the source code being released into the open on GitHub, many opportunist blackhats may take advantage of the malware and begin infecting users with their own variants of it. Malware researchers, however are also aware of the virus and are working on methods to decrypt it by reverse engineering it’s code. This is the primary reason we recommend not paying the ransoma and focusing on removing the ransomware yourself while waiting for a decryptor for your files.
In case you feel convinced that CryptoWire malware must go(recommended), we advise you to follow the instructions below and hunt for it’s malicious files and other objects in Windows Safe Mode. Security experts always advise that the best method to fully remove viruses like CryptoWire is to use an advanced anti-malware program, instructions for which we have posted below as well. This will allow for the automatic detection off all the CryptoWire objects and other malware it may have slithered onto your system as well.
Furthermore, even though restoring files encriphered by CryptoWire may not be easy, we still advise you to try the alternative methods in step “2. Restore files encrypted by CryptoWire” below. They are not guarantee of successful file reversing but they are the best temporary alternative to choose from while a free decryptor is released. When free decryptor is released, we will post instructions on our blog and post a web link in this article for you to see and recover your files for free.
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.
How to Remove CryptoWire from Windows.
Step 1: Boot Your PC In Safe Mode to isolate and remove CryptoWire
Step 2: Uninstall CryptoWire 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 CryptoWire 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 CryptoWire there. This can happen by following the steps underneath:
Step 4: Scan for CryptoWire with SpyHunter Anti-Malware Tool
Step 5 (Optional): Try to Restore Files Encrypted by CryptoWire.
Ransomware infections and CryptoWire 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 CryptoWire from Mac OS X.
Step 1: Uninstall CryptoWire 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 CryptoWire 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 CryptoWire on your Mac.
Ransomware for Mac CryptoWire 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.
What is CryptoWire ransomware and how does it work?
CryptoWire 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 CryptoWire ransomware infect my computer?
Via several ways.CryptoWire 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 CryptoWire 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 .CryptoWire files?
You can't. At this point the .CryptoWire 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 .CryptoWire files successfully, then do not despair, because this virus is still new.
One way to restore files, encrypted by CryptoWire 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 ".CryptoWire" files (Other Methods)?
Yes, sometimes files can be restored. We have suggested several file recovery methods that could work if you want to restore .CryptoWire 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 CryptoWire 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 CryptoWire ransomware and then remove it without causing any additional harm to your important .CryptoWire files.
Also, keep in mind that viruses like CryptoWire 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.