The XiaoBa virus is a newly discovered sample of the malware family. The security analysis shows that the new customized version uses a new ransomware extension — .Encrypted[BaYuCheng@yeah.net].XiaBa.
|Short Description||The main goal of the XiaoBa Virus is to encrypt sensitive user files and extort the victims for a ransom fee payment.|
|Symptoms||The XiaoBa Virus component processes target files and renames them with the .XiaBa extension.|
|Distribution Method||Spam Emails, Email Attachments, Executable files|
|Detection Tool|| See If Your System Has Been Affected by XiaoBa |
Malware Removal Tool
|User Experience||Join Our Forum to Discuss XiaoBa.|
|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.|
XiaoBa Virus – Infection Process
The new samples originating from the XiaoBa ransomware family are delivered using the same mechanics as the original threat. The hackers behind the active attack campaigns may be leveraging different strategies at once in order to increase the infections ratio.
Some of the primary methods used by the hackers depend on the sending of email messages that contain social engineering tricks. They attempt to coerce the target users into interacting with the malware element either by embedding them as file attachments or inserting malware hyperlinks. The malware samples are usually disguised as files of user interest and the hackers can utilize various tactics that emulate legitimate user activities. An example is the archiving of files in password-protected data. The passwords are often listed in the body contents of the messages themselves.
Two other methods used by the criminals in connection with these strategies include the use of infected documents as payload delivery mechanisms. The hackers behind the XiaoBa virus can create documents of various types which includes the malware code: presentations, spreadsheets and rich text documents. Once they are opened by the victims a notification prompt is spawned which asks the users to enable the built-in scripts (macros). If this is done then the virus is downloaded from a hacker-controlled site and downloaded onto the target machine.
Another tactic relies on the creation and spread of malware software installers. They are made by taking the legitimate installers and modifying them to include the dangerous XiaoBa ransomware. The usual suspects are popular free and trial versions of software that are likely to be wanted by the computer users. The criminals can also make use of browser hijackers that represent malware browser plugins that are usually spread on the browser extension repositories. The dangerous code is usually made compatible with the most popular web browsers: Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome, Internet Explorer, Safari, Microsoft Edge and Safari. Once installed they change important parameters to redirect the victims to a hacker-controlled page and also infect the target users with the virus code.
As usual viruses like the XiaoBa ransomware can also be distributed on hacker-controlled download sites and file sharing networks like BitTorrent.
XiaoBa Virus – Analysis and Activity
The new strains associated with the XiaoBa virus family continue to follow the basic infection patterns. One of the most important aspects of the malware family is the fact that it includes a stealth protection module that can actively hide itself from security software and analysis. Advanced virus strains can scan the compromised machines for running instances of programs that can interfere with its execution and bypass or altogether stop them. The list includes anti-virus products, sandbox and debugging environments and virtual machine hosts.
Using the information gathering built-in module the criminals can also harvest all kinds of data from the compromised machines. The information is usually classified into two main groups:
- Anonymous Data — The gathered data is made up of information regarding the hardware components and certain operating system settings.
- Sensitive Private Data — This type of information is made up of harvested data about the victims itself that can directly expose their identity: name, address, telephone number, preferences and account credentials.
Any follow-up steps can include various system changes that can negatively impact the compromised computer. They can impact the boot options which in turn can prevent access to the recovery menu used by the victims to amend their machines. Changes to the Windows Registry can impact important operating system services and user applications. Such actions can be connected to the persistent type of installation performed by the malware engine. This makes it very difficult for the users to remove it using manual methods.
The XiaoBa virus has also been found to infiltrate the target devices with the CoinHive miner. This is a dangerous malware that is loaded into memory and uses the available hardware resources for complex operations called “mining” that result in income generation for the hacker operators. This particular version uses a Monero-based instance which is loaded into all files with the HTML and HTM file type extensions. Once they are opened by the users the dangerous code will be automatically launched. Follow-up strains can also include other related cryptocurrency miners with both 32 and 64-bit versions. The correct payload is chosen automatically by the malware engine based on the harvested machine information.
Its important to note that any network connections made with the hacker-controlled servers can be used to harvest the gathered information. The criminals can also opt to use it to send additional malware to the victim hosts. Such connections can also be used to institute control of the victim computers in a manner similar to Trojan viruses.
XiaoBa Virus — Encryption Process
Once all components have finished execution the ransomware component is started. The XiaoBa virus uses a list of target built-in extensions. Previous samples targeted the following data:
.3gp, .7z, .apk, .avi, .bmp, .cdr, .cer, .chm, .conf, .css, .csv, .dat, .db, .dbf, .djvu, .dbx,
.docm, ,doc, .epub, .docx .fb2, .flv, .gif, .gz, .iso .ibooks,.jpeg, .jpg, .key, .mdb .md2, .mdf,
.mht, .mobi .mhtm, .mkv, .mov, .mp3, .mp4, .mpg .mpeg, .pict, .pdf, .pps, .pkg, .png, .ppt .pptx,
.ppsx, .psd, .rar, .rtf, .scr, .swf, .sav, .tiff, .tif, .tbl, .torrent, .txt, .vsd, .wmv, .xls, .xlsx,
.xps, .xml, .ckp, .zip, .java, .py, .asm, .c, .cpp, .cs, .js, .php, .dacpac, .rbw, .rb, .mrg, .dcx,
.db3, .sql, .sqlite3, .sqlite, .sqlitedb, .psd, .psp, .pdb, .dxf, .dwg, .drw, .casb, .ccp, .cal, .cmx,
All affected data is renamed with a new and rather long extension — .Encrypted[BaYuCheng@yeah.net].XiaBa.
The ransom note is produced in an application frame that is similar to the lockscreens used by many similar malware families. The window is titled “BaYuCheng@yeah.net” and reads the following message:
All your files have been encrypted!
All your fles have been encrypted due to a security problem with your PC. If you want to restore them, write us to the e-mail BaYiCheng@yeah.net
You have to pay for decryption in Bitcoins. The price depends on how fast you write to us. After payment we will send you the decryption tool that will decrypt all your files.
Free decryption as guarantee
Before paying you can send us up to 5 files for free decryption. The total size of files must be less than 10 Mb (non-archived), and files should not contain valuable information. (databases, backups, large excel sheets, etc.)
How to obtain Bitcoins:
The easiest way to buy bitcoins is LocalBitcoins site. You have to register, click ‘Buy bitcoins’, ans select the seller by payment method and price.
Also you can find other places to buy Bitcoins and beginners guide here:
The analysts note that a script also plays an automated voice over of the ransom note to further pressure the victims.
How to Remove XiaoBa Virus and Restore .XiaBa Encrypted Files
In order to make sure that this malware is permanently gone from your computer, you should follow the manual or automatic removal instructions down below. If you have the experience in removing ransomware manually, we advise you to focus on the first 2 steps from the manual removal and to look for the registry files which we have explained in the analysis part above. Otherwise, if you want a more automatic and faster solution and lack the expertise in malware removal, we urge you to download an advanced anti-malware program, which aims to automatically perform the removal operation of XiaoBa ransomware and secures your computer against future infections in real-time.
If you want to restore files that have been encrypted by this ransomware infection, we advise you to try out the alternative tools for file recovery down below in step “2. Restore files encrypted by .XiaBa Files Virus”. They may not guarantee fully that you will recover all of the files, but if you haven’t reinstalled your OS already, there is a good chance that you might just restore them.