Remove GoldenEye Ransomware Virus and Decrypt Encrypted Hard Disks

goldeneye-ransomware-logo-sensorstechforum-malwareNew variant of Petya and Mischa ransomware has popped out in the open, called GoldenEye ransomware. The virus encrypts hard drives, just like the previous variants did. Many believe it is an improved version of Mischa and Petya ransomware since both viruses were decrypted back In August. We have decided to take a look at how GoldenEye Ransomware performs an attack on a hard drive and explain a possible solution to the decryption of drives encrypted by this virus. In case your HDD or SSD have been encrypted by the GoldenEye ransowmare, we strongly suggest that you read the following article and learn more about it and methods to get access back to your hard drive.

Update July 2017: A new GoldenEye Petya ransomware variant has been detected to be associated with the latest June ransomware outbreak. The virus has little modifications from the original one. More information can be found on this web link.

Threat Summary

NameGoldenEye
TypeRansomware
Short DescriptionMischa ransomware encrypts the MBR. If that fails, GoldenEye ransomware may encrypt the files on the compromised device’s drive.
SymptomsThe ransomware displays a note begging with “You became victim of the GOLDENEYE RANSOMWARE!”.
Distribution MethodSpam Emails, Email Attachments, Executable Files
Detection Tool See If Your System Has Been Affected by GoldenEye

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Malware Removal Tool

User ExperienceJoin Our Forum to Discuss GoldenEye.
Data Recovery ToolWindows 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.

GoldenEye Ransomware – Technical Analysis

Similar to Petya and Mischa viruses, this one is also from the ransomware kind, meaning that it extorts victims to conduct an online payment in return for which cyber-criminals will grant access to the computer. In order for this to be accomplished, exploit kits and .JS (javascript source code) may be used in an obfuscated manner. These scripts will make sure that the computer attacked is infected successfully. Here is one example of a phishing e-mail replicating such malicious script as a form of attachment:

stf-goldeneye-ransomware-virus-hdd-encrypted-file-extension-spam-email-amazon-spoof-zip-js-payload-script-file-attached

As soon as the user opens the attachment, the ransomware may immediately cause a system restart by killing vital tasks. In the same time it may modify registry entries, more specifically firmware settings, so that it boots itself on system startup. As soon as the virus has booted, it pretends to be a hard drive repair sequence, providing this fake screen:

ransomware-repair-disk-sensorstechforum

What the GoldenEye Ransomware actually does in this situation is that it performs encryption on the MBR of the drive and after it is complete it sets it’s conventional lockscreen with the “Press Any Key” function similar to the Petya and Mischa viruses:

goldeneye-ransowmare-locked-hdd-sensorstechforum

If the user presses any key he is led to a screen that has the ransom note of GoldenEye Ransomware, which is the following:

goldeneye-ransowmare-sensorstechforum

Rasnom note screen's text:

After the victim opens the web links provided, he is led to GoldenEye ransomware’s personal web page, which has instructions to enter a personal decryption key provided previously in the lockscreen for identification:

goldeneye-ransowmare-payment-page-sensorstechforum

Step 1 page's text:

After this, the ransomware requests from the user to pay in Bitcoin, providing additional payment instructions in a “Step 2” page:

goldeneye-ransowmare-demand-1-btc-sensorstechforum

Step 2 page's text:

After this has been performed, the GoldenEye ransomware provides a BitCoin address for payment.

bitcoin-transaction-petya-ransomware-goldeneye-sensorstechforum-com

Step 3 page's text:

The cyber-criminals go as far as having a “customer support” for the victims of the virus:

goldeneye-petya-mischa-ransomware-payment-page-customer-support

So, overall and all, the virus is now updated and besides fixes in the malware, the crooks may have also fixed the encryption algorithm, making it more difficult to recover drives. Not only this, but GoldenEye ransomware even has captcha identification on their website, suggesting that this is a very well organized virus by several individuals. Whatever the case may be, we urge you not to pay any ransom to the cyber-criminals behind GoldenEye Ransomware and to focus on restoring your drive yourself. One method that can help you with cleaning your computer and decrypting your hard drive is to try and use the instructions below. They are not 100% guarantee your drive will be encrypted, but since GoldenEye is a variant of Petya and Mischa, they just might work. Also, bear in mind that if you will try a third-party decryptor if you follow the instructions below and the procedure may be a risk for your files so attempt them at your own responsibility. Good Luck and give us a feedback in the comment section below if you succeeded!

GoldenEye Ransomware – Alternative Decryption Instructions

Preparation Phase

To try decrypting drives by GoldenEye ransomware, you will need the tools to work with first:

  • A screwdriver, corresponding to your desktop/laptop.
  • A secure computer that is scanned for malware and cleaned and has a proper ransomware protection.
  • Patience.

First of all, you should choose a safe computer from which to scan your files to be a powerful Windows machine which is also secured. If you are not sure that a computer you will be using is secured enough or not we recommend following these steps to secure it:

1. Download an advanced malware protection program.

Spy Hunter scanner will only detect the threat. If you want the threat to be automatically removed, you need to purchase the full version of the anti-malware tool.Find Out More About SpyHunter Anti-Malware Tool / How to Uninstall SpyHunter
2. Download a relevant ransomware protection program.
3. Download a relevant cloud backup program that backups copies of your files on a secure server and even if your computer is affected you will stay protected. For more information you can also check another methods to safely store your data here.

After securing the test PC, you should prepare it for the decryption process which will most likely be lengthy. This is why we recommend changing the power settings so that your decryption computer does not automatically hibernate or sleep while left decrypting the drive.

Step 1: Click on the battery icon in your system tray (next to the digital clock) in Windows and then click on More Power Options.
Step 2:The mighty Power options menu will appear. In your power plan click on Change Plan Settings.
Step 3: In your plan’s settings make sure you set “Turn off the display” and “Put computer to sleep” to “Never” from the drop down minutes menu.
Step 4: Click on Save Changes and close it.
Decryption Phase

For the decryption process, we have outlined several often-met drive migration scenarios which can be possible between different computers:

  • From Laptop to Laptop with no extra components.
  • From Desktop to Desktop with no extra components.
  • From Laptop to Desktop with a SATA cable if the Desktop has an outdated chipset.
  • From Desktop to Laptop with a SATA cable if the Laptop has a newer chipset.

To simplify the process, we recommend you to choose machines that do not require any extra cables or components for the drive to run on them. In case you do not have such possibility, we recommend using an external SATA-USB adapter. Let’s begin!

Decryption Phase

Step 1: Remove battery and power from your laptop. For desktop computers, please remove eliminate the power from the contact.

Step 2: Using the screwdriver, unscrew the case which carries the hard drive. For laptops, you should follow these steps:

sensorstechforum-laptop-remove-bolts-sensorstechforum

Step 3: Remove the hard drive again with the screwdriver. It will look similar to the one on the picture below:

hard-drive-removal-sensorstechforum

Step 4: Plug-in the hard drive on a secure computer which has an internet connection and Windows installed and screw it in firmly. If connected directly, the hard drive should be detected by the OS as a separate partition, similar to the picture below:

1-hard-drive-detected-sensorstechforum-petya-ransowmare

Step 5: Download and open the archive of Petya Sector Extractor by Fabian Wosar by clicking on the button below:


2-petya-extractor-open-sensorstechforum

Step 6: Open Petya Sector Extractor’s archive and extract it on your desktop or anywhere you find comfortable to use it:

3-petya-extractor-extract-petya-ransowmare-sensorstechforum

Step 7: Open Petya Sector Extractor as an administrator. You should see similar to the following interface, but with a detected drive if you connected it successfully:

4-petya-sector-extractor-infected-drives-sensorstechforum

Step 8: In case the Petya Sector Extractor automatically detects a drive, you will see the picture below. From it, click on the “Copy Sector” button.

petya-extractor-found-drive-sensorstechforum

Step 9: After copying the sector go to the following website:

Petya-pay-no-ransom

From there, paste the sector in the field marked in red square in the picture below (It should say “Base64 encoded 512 bytes verification data”):

5-copy-one-goes-here-senosrstechforum

Step 10: Repeat the same process by clicking on the button “Copy Nonce” next to it and paste it in the field marked in red below:

6-copy-two-nonce-goes-here-sensorstechforum

Step 11: After you have copied and pasted both codes, click on the Submit button. The process of generating a password may take some time but will drop a decryption key at the bottom:

ransomware-password-petya-key-decrypted-sensorstechforumScreenshot Source: Bleeping Computer

Final Step 12: Now all you have to do is copy the key(password), insert the encrypted drive back into the infected computer and when you see Petya’s lock screen, press any key and in the screen that will appear after that (in the picture below), enter the password for decryption(in the green square of the picture below). After this, everything should be decoded.

goldeneye-ransowmare-sensorstechforum-recovered

GoldenEye Ransomware – Conclusion

This tutorial may not be successful for Petya’s younger sisters Mischa and GoldenEye. But it is important to still attempt ant try using those instructions, after which leaving us a comment below if this has worked out for you. But under any circumstances we advise you NOT to pay any BitCoins to the creators of these viruses, because they will make them even more difficult to be decrypted next time they infect users. White waiting for a decryptor which if released will be linked in this article, you may want to read the following pieces on how to protect yourself from ransomware viruses:

How to Properly Open .JS Files (JavaScript Hidden Virus)
Sensorstechforum’s Ransomware Protection Tips
Safely Securing Your Data in The Future

Vencislav Krustev

A network administrator and malware researcher at SensorsTechForum with passion for discovery of new shifts and innovations in cyber security. Strong believer in basic education of every user towards online safety.

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  • manu_e67

    hello are you idea if the disk is a disk of NAS ?
    Notebook has infected NAS, you think notebook is master of NAS ?
    with you method , i ve test NAS but software no disk infected…
    thanks a lot

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