.vaca Files Virus (Xorist) - Remove It
THREAT REMOVAL

.vaca Files Virus (Xorist) – Remove It

remove vaca files virus xorist ransomware sensorstechforum guide

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 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.

Threat Summary

Name.vaca Files Virus
TypeRansomware, Cryptovirus
Short DescriptionThe threat encrypts target files stored on your computer, marks them with the .vaca extension and extorts a ransom by displaying a ransom message.
SymptomsImportant files are encoded and renamed with .vaca extension. You cannot open them. Hackers demand a ransom payment.
Distribution MethodSpam Emails, Email Attachments
Detection Tool See If Your System Has Been Affected by .vaca Files Virus

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Malware Removal Tool

User ExperienceJoin Our Forum to Discuss .vaca Files Virus.
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.

.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 other.

.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:

  • %AppData%
  • %Local%
  • %LocalLow%
  • %Roaming%
  • %Temp%

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:

→ HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\RunOnce
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\RunOnce

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!

how to decrypt files txt vaca files virus ransom note sensorstechforum guide

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 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 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

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.

Gergana Ivanova

Gergana Ivanova

Gergana has a bachelor's degree in Marketing. She has been with the STF team for five years, researching malware, reporting on the latest computer infections, and following digital marketing trends.

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Windows Mac OS X

How to Remove .vaca Files Virus from Windows.


Step 1: Boot Your PC In Safe Mode to isolate and remove .vaca Files Virus

OFFER

Manual Removal Usually Takes Time and You Risk Damaging Your Files If Not Careful!
We Recommend To Scan Your PC with SpyHunter

Keep in mind, that SpyHunter’s scanner is only for malware detection. If SpyHunter detects malware on your PC, you will need to purchase SpyHunter's malware removal tool to remove the malware threats. Read our SpyHunter 5 review. Click on the corresponding links to check SpyHunter's EULA, Privacy Policy and Threat Assessment Criteria

1. Hold Windows key() + R


2. The "Run" Window will appear. In it, type "msconfig" and click OK.


3. Go to the "Boot" tab. There select "Safe Boot" and then click "Apply" and "OK".
Tip: Make sure to reverse those changes by unticking Safe Boot after that, because your system will always boot in Safe Boot from now on.


4. When prompted, click on "Restart" to go into Safe Mode.


5. You can recognise Safe Mode by the words written on the corners of your screen.


Step 2: Uninstall .vaca Files Virus 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. To do that:


1. Hold the Windows Logo Button and "R" on your keyboard. A Pop-up window will appear.


2. In the field type in "appwiz.cpl" and press ENTER.


3. This will open a window with all the programs installed on the PC. Select the program that you want to remove, and press "Uninstall"
Follow the instructions above and you will successfully uninstall most programs.


Step 3: Clean any registries, created by .vaca Files Virus on your computer.

The usually targeted registries of Windows machines are the following:

  • HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run
  • HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run
  • HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\RunOnce
  • HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\RunOnce

You can access them by opening the Windows registry editor and deleting any values, created by .vaca Files Virus there. This can happen by following the steps underneath:

1. Open the Run Window again, type "regedit" and click OK.


2. When you open it, you can freely navigate to the Run and RunOnce keys, whose locations are shown above.


3. You can remove the value of the virus by right-clicking on it and removing it.
Tip: To find a virus-created value, you can right-click on it and click "Modify" to see which file it is set to run. If this is the virus file location, remove the value.

IMPORTANT!
Before starting "Step 4", please boot back into Normal mode, in case you are currently in Safe Mode.
This will enable you to install and use SpyHunter 5 successfully.

Step 4: Scan for .vaca Files Virus with SpyHunter Anti-Malware Tool

1. Click on the "Download" button to proceed to SpyHunter's download page.


It is recommended to run a scan before purchasing the full version of the software to make sure that the current version of the malware can be detected by SpyHunter. Click on the corresponding links to check SpyHunter's EULA, Privacy Policy and Threat Assessment Criteria.


2. After you have installed SpyHunter, wait for it to update automatically.

SpyHunter5-update-2018


3. After the update process has finished, click on the 'Malware/PC Scan' tab. A new window will appear. Click on 'Start Scan'.

SpyHunter5-Free-Scan-2018


4. After SpyHunter has finished scanning your PC for any files of the associated threat and found them, you can try to get them removed automatically and permanently by clicking on the 'Next' button.

SpyHunter-5-Free-Scan-Next-2018

If any threats have been removed, it is highly recommended to restart your PC.

Step 5 (Optional): Try to Restore Files Encrypted by .vaca Files Virus.

Ransomware infections and .vaca Files Virus 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.

1. Download the reccomended Data Recovery software by clicking on the link underneath:

If the above link does not work for you and your region, try the other two links below, that lead to the same product:

and

2. On the download page, click on the "Download" button:

3. Click on "Save File" button:

4. Accept all agreements and click "Next":

5. After all the "Next" steps, click on "Install" and then wait for the installation to complete:

6. Run the software. Click on the location to scan for missing or deleted files and click on "Scan":

7. Wait for the scan to complete, it may take some time. Be advised that this scan is not 100% guaranteed to recover all files, but it does have some chance to get your data back:


Windows Mac OS X

Get rid of .vaca Files Virus from Mac OS X.


Step 1: Uninstall .vaca Files Virus and remove related files and objects

OFFER
Manual Removal Usually Takes Time and You Risk Damaging Your Files If Not Careful!
We Recommend To Scan Your Mac with SpyHunter for Mac
Keep in mind, that SpyHunter for Mac needs to purchased to remove the malware threats. Click on the corresponding links to check SpyHunter’s EULA and Privacy Policy


1. Hit the ⇧+⌘+U keys to open Utilities. Another way is to click on “Go” and then click “Utilities”, like the image below shows:


2. Find Activity Monitor and double-click it:


3. In the Activity Monitor look for any suspicious processes, belonging or related to .vaca Files Virus:

Tip: To quit a process completely, choose the “Force Quit” option.


4. Click on the "Go" button again, but this time select Applications. Another way is with the ⇧+⌘+A buttons.


5. In the Applications menu, look for any suspicious app or an app with a name, similar or identical to .vaca Files Virus. If you find it, right-click on the app and select “Move to Trash”.


6: Select Accounts, after which click on the Login Items preference. Your Mac will then show you a list of items that start automatically when you log in. Look for any suspicious apps identical or similar to .vaca Files Virus. Check the app you want to stop from running automatically and then select on the Minus (“-“) icon to hide it.


7: Remove any left-over files that might be related to this threat manually by following the sub-steps below:

  • 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 .vaca Files Virus 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:

Disclaimer! If you are about to tamper with Library files on Mac, be sure to know the name of the virus file, because if you delete the wrong file, it may cause irreversible damage to your MacOS. Continue on your own responsibility!

1: Click on "Go" and Then "Go to Folder" as shown underneath:

2: Type in "/Library/LauchAgents/" and click Ok:

3: Delete all of the virus files that have similar or the same name as .vaca Files Virus. If you believe there is no such file, do not delete anything.

You can repeat the same procedure with the following other Library directories:

→ ~/Library/LaunchAgents
/Library/LaunchDaemons

Tip: ~ is there on purpose, because it leads to more LaunchAgents.


Step 2: Scan for and remove .vaca Files Virus files from your Mac

When you are facing problems on your Mac as a result of unwanted scripts and programs such as .vaca Files Virus, 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 .vaca Files Virus on your Mac.

Ransomware for Mac .vaca Files Virus 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.

1. Download the recommended Data Recovery Mac app by clicking on the link underneath:

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