This article explains the issues that occur when .vaca files virus infects a target system. It also provides a step-by-step guide on how to remove malicious files and how to potentially recover files encrypted by this ransomware.
The .vaca files virus is data locker ransomware identified as a strain of Xorist threat family. The purpose of this threat is to contaminate essential computer settings that will enable it to encode target types of files with the help of a sophisticated cipher algorithm. Once it encrypts these files, the ransomware appends the extension .vaca to their names and leaves them completely inaccessible. As a consequence hackers attempt to extort a ransom payment.
|.vaca Files Virus
|The threat encrypts target files stored on your computer, marks them with the .vaca extension and extorts a ransom by displaying a ransom message.
|Important files are encoded and renamed with .vaca extension. You cannot open them. Hackers demand a ransom payment.
|Spam Emails, Email Attachments
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.vaca Files Virus – Distribution
Security researchers’ reports indicate that this .vaca Xorist ransomware is currently circling around the net in active attack campaigns. Attack campaigns could be set against users worldwide.
The most probable spread channel is malspam. Malspam is a technique that enables hackers to deliver their malicious code on users’ devices with the help of specially crafted emails. Such emails usually contain one or more of the following components:
- A link to compromised web page that is set to download and execute infection files directly on the PC. The URL address to this page may be presented in the form of an in-text link, banner, image, button, or full URL address.
- A malicious file attachment that is presented as legitimate document by the text message. It could be uploaded in a .rar or .zip archive. Such a file could be set to evade active security measures and trick you into running the ransomware on your PC.
Other channels that may be part of the distribution strategy for .vaca files virus are malvertising, freeware installers, corrupted web pages, fake software updates, compromised software setups, files shared on forums, and others.
.vaca Files Virus – Overview
The infection process with .vaca files virus is triggered by the execution of its payload file on the system. Since this file alone could not fulfill the attack to its very end, .vaca cryptovirus establishes several other malicious files in some of the following folders:
In order to establish these malicious files on the system, .vaca files virus may need to connect a remote command and control server so it can download the files from it. It could also be configured to create them directly on the system. When the threat establishes all needed infection files, it starts executing them in a strictly defined order.
As a result, the settings of various essential system components could be infected. One of these components is likely to be the Registry Editor. To be more precise it’s the registry keys Run and RunOnce that are likely to be infected by .vaca Xorist ransomware. So here are the exact registry locations that should be checked for malicious entries:
The reason for the contamination of these keys is their ability to execute automatically various system processes as well as processes associated with installed apps So once .vaca ransomware has its malicious entries there, it becomes one of the first things that load on your system every time you start it.
Another reason is the possibility to load its ransom note on the screen at the end of the infection. As of the note, it is dropped in a file called HOW TO DECRYPT FILES.txt. What you could read when you open this file is the following:
Attention! All your files are encrypted!
To restore your files and access them,
please send an SMS with the text [ID number] to [hackers’ number].
You have N attempts to enter the code.
When that number has been exceeded,
all the data irreversibly is destroyed.
Be careful when you enter the code!
Apparently, the purpose of this file is to blackmail you into contacting hackers in order to receive further instructions on ransom payment by them. What we could advise you is to avoid what this message states and attempt to cope with ransomware impacts with the help of secure methods that won’t expose your system, privacy, and money at the risk of further abuses.
.vaca Files Virus – Encryption Process
Previous iterations of Xorist ransomware were reported to encrypt target files by using the XOR or TEA cipher algorithm. However, at this point, it is confirmed whether .vaca cryptovirus encodes files with the same ciphers or set to use other like RSA and AES.
However, like its predecessors .vaca is likely to scan infected systems for all files that have one of following extensions. Whenever a match is available it encodes the file by transforming parts of its original code:
→.zip, .rar, .7z, .tar, .gzip, .jpg, .jpeg, .psd, .cdr, .dwg, .max, .bmp, .gif, .png, .doc, .docx, .xls, .xlsx, .ppt, .pptx, .txt, .pdf, .djvu, .htm, .html, .mdb, .cer, .p12, .pfx, .kwm, .pwm, .1cd, .md, .mdf, .dbf, .odt, .vob, .ifo, .lnk, .torrent, .mov, .m2v, .3gp, .mpeg, .mpg, .flv, .avi, .mp4, .wmv, .divx, .mkv, .mp3, .wav, .flac, .ape, .wma, .ac3
This ransomware marks all corrupted files with an extension of the same name .vaca. The appearance of this extension in the name of a file is a sure sign that you won’t be able to open this file. The good news is that specialists from Kaspersky team have released a decryptor for the previous Xorist version that is likely to be working for .vaca files recovery tool. Check the guide below for this tool.
Remove .vaca Files Virus and Restore Data
The Xorist ransomware strain associated with .vaca extension is a threat with highly complex code that plagues not only your files but your whole system. So you should properly clean and secure your infected system before you could use it regularly again. Below you could find a step-by-step removal guide that may be helpful in attempting to remove this ransomware. Choose the manual removal approach if you have previous experience with malware files. If you don’t feel comfortable with the manual steps select the automatic section from the guide. Steps there enable you to check the infected system for ransomware files and remove them with a few mouse clicks.
In order to keep your system safe from ransomware and other types of malware in the future, you should consider the installation of a reliable anti-malware program. As an additional security layer that could prevent the occurrence of ransomware attacks you could install an [wplinkpreview url=”https://sensorstechforum.com/the-most-popular-free-anti-ransomware-tools/”]anti-ransomware tool.
If you want to understand how to potentially fix encrypted files with the help of alternative data recovery approaches, make sure to read carefully all details mentioned in the step “Restore files”. We remind you that before you begin with the data recovery process, you should back up all encrypted files to an external drive as this will help you to prevent their irreversible loss.
.vaca Files Virus-FAQ
What is .vaca Files Virus Ransomware?
.vaca Files Virus 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.
What Does .vaca Files Virus Ransomware Do?
Ransomware in general is a malicious software that is designed to block access to your computer or files until a ransom is paid.
Ransomware viruses can also damage your system, corrupt data and delete files, resulting in the permanent loss of important files.
How Does .vaca Files Virus Infect?
Via several ways..vaca Files Virus 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.
Another way you may become a victim of .vaca Files Virus 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 ..vaca Files Virus files?
You can't without a decryptor. At this point, the ..vaca Files Virus files are encrypted. You can only open them once they are decrypted using a specific decryption key for the particular algorithm.
What to Do If a Decryptor Does Not Work?
Do not panic, and backup the files. If a decryptor did not decrypt your ..vaca Files Virus files successfully, then do not despair, because this virus is still new.
Can I Restore "..vaca Files Virus" Files?
Yes, sometimes files can be restored. We have suggested several file recovery methods that could work if you want to restore ..vaca Files Virus 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 To Get Rid of .vaca Files Virus 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 .vaca Files Virus ransomware and then remove it without causing any additional harm to your important ..vaca Files Virus files.
Can I 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 Stop 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.
Can .vaca Files Virus 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.
Can Ransomware Infect WiFi?
Yes, ransomware can infect 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 use them to commit cybercrimes. In some cases, they may even continue to demand additional ransom payments.
Can a Ransomware Attack 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, Interpol and others 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 .vaca Files Virus Research
The content we publish on SensorsTechForum.com, this .vaca Files Virus 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.
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.
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