“!HELP_SOS.hta” is the file which users see on every folder with important files encrypted by the latest version of Sage ransomware. This virus is from the file encryption type, meaning that it renders the files on the computers it infects unable to be opened. Sage has lately seen more popularity primarily because of the fact that the virus was reported to be spread via a very massive spam campaign of e-mail spam messages, carrying .zip archives with malicious documents or .js scripts in them. In case you have become a victim of the Sage 2.2 ransomware virus, we recommend you to read this article and learn how to remove Sage 2.2 and restore files encrypted with the .sage file extension.
SensorsTechForum team is actively investigating the 2.2 version of Sage. More information will be available in the hours to come.
|Short Description||This ransomware infection is an updated version of the Sage 2.0 ransomware. Encrypts files on the compromised computer and asks the user to visit a TOR-based web page for further instructions.|
|Symptoms||The user may witness ransom note, named !HELP_SOS.hta and the important files on the computer may be encrypted with an added padlock icon on them.|
|Detection Tool|| See If Your System Has Been Affected by Sage 2.2 |
Malware Removal Tool
|User Experience||Join our forum to Discuss Sage 2.2.|
|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.|
Sage 2.2 Ransomware – How Does It Infect a PC
For the infection process, this version of Sage ransomware may use malicious e-mail spam that contains deceptive messages. The messages may be of various types and aim to convince potential victims into opening malicious .zip file attachments to those e-mails. Examples of deceptive topics that could be used to infect with Sage 2.2 are:
- “Your PayPal transaction is complete.”
- “Suspicious activity on your online bank account. (Bank Name)”.
- “Your Invoice.”
There may be many other e-mails sent out infecting with Sage ransomware and they all may carry archives as file attachments. The archives may be randomly named, like “6207_ZIP.zip”, for example. In the .zip file, there are two types of files which cause an infection:
- A Microsoft Office document .doc file which causes an infection when you click on Enable Content button to enable macros. These macros have malicious script in them.
Sage 2.2 Ransomware – What Happens After Infection
After the moment the user PC has been infected by the Sage 2.2 virus, an unsecured port may be used to connect to the cyber-criminals distribution sites and download the payload on the infected computer.
The payload of Sage 2.2 ransomware consists of multiple executable and temporary files, it may contain a .dll type of modules and it also contains the Wallapaper of Sage 2.2 ransomware and it’s “Decryption Instructions” ransom note. This ransom note is also named “!HELP_SOS.hta” and when opened, displays the following message to the victim:
“File recovery instructions
You probably noticed that you can not open your files and that some software stopped working correctly.
This is expected. Your files content is still there, but it was encrypted by “Sage 2.2 Ransomware”.
Your files are not lost, it is possible to revert them back to normal state by decrypting.
The only ay you can do that is by getting “SAGE Decrypter” software and your personal decryption key.
Using any other software which claims to be able to restore your files will result in files being damaged or destroyed.
You can purchase “SAGE Decrypter” software and your decryption key at your personal page you can access by following links.”
The ransom note of the virus also has a web link which of course leads to Sage ransomware’s decryption page, which has not changed much. The web page is still well-developed, like in the Sage 2.0 version.
Sage 2.2 Ransomware – Encryption Analysis
Regarding the encryption of the files, Sage 2.2 ransomware uses a strong encryption algorithm. This cipher renders files on the compromised computers no longer openable. The virus attacks
“PNG .PSD .PSPIMAGE .TGA .THM .TIF .TIFF .YUV .AI .EPS .PS .SVG .INDD .PCT .PDF .XLR .XLS .XLSX .ACCDB .DB .DBF .MDB .PDB .SQL .APK .APP .BAT .CGI .COM .EXE .GADGET .JAR .PIF .WSF .DEM .GAM .NES .ROM .SAV CAD Files .DWG .DXF GIS Files .GPX .KML .KMZ .ASP .ASPX .CER .CFM .CSR .CSS .HTM .HTML .JS .JSP .PHP .RSS .XHTML. DOC .DOCX .LOG .MSG .ODT .PAGES .RTF .TEX .TXT .WPD .WPS .CSV .DAT .GED .KEY .KEYCHAIN .PPS .PPT .PPTX ..INI .PRF Encoded Files .HQX .MIM .UUE .7Z .CBR .DEB .GZ .PKG .RAR .RPM .SITX .TAR.GZ .ZIP .ZIPX .BIN .CUE .DMG .ISO .MDF .TOAST .VCD SDF .TAR .TAX2014 .TAX2015 .VCF .XML Audio Files .AIF .IFF .M3U .M4A .MID .MP3 .MPA .WAV .WMA Video Files .3G2 .3GP .ASF .AVI .FLV .M4V .MOV .MP4 .MPG .RM .SRT .SWF .VOB .WMV 3D .3DM .3DS .MAX .OBJ R.BMP .DDS .GIF .JPG ..CRX .PLUGIN .FNT .FON .OTF .TTF .CAB .CPL .CUR .DESKTHEMEPACK .DLL .DMP .DRV .ICNS .ICO .LNK .SYS .CFG”Source:fileinfo.com
Once the Sage 2.2 virus detects that there are such types of files on the computers that have been infected, it immediately renders them no longer able to be opened and adds the .sage file extension to the files. The files appear like the image below:
The Sage Ransomware virus also may delete the shadow volume copies of the infected computer, in addition to the encryption of the files. This is performed to destroy any possibilities of recovering them via an administrative command, called vssadmin:
Remove Sage 2.2 Ransomware and Try Restoring .sage Encrypted Files
Before performing the removal process of Sage ransomware, recommendations are to focus on performing a back up of the encrypted files on a removable drive or in the cloud.
Then, we recommend following the removal instructions below. They are created with the one and only purpose of assisting you isolating the virus in Safe Mode and then locating the malicious files of Sage 2.2 ransomware. For maximum effectiveness during the removal process of Sage 2.2 ransomware, researchers recommend using the automatic approach and scanning for the virus by downloading an advanced anti-malware program.
After having removed Sage 2.2 ransomware, it is strongy advisable to try and recover the encrypted files using some alternative methods, since at the present moment direct solution for free is not available. We have suggested some of those tools in step “2. Restore files encrypted by Sage 2.2” but we recommend you to use them on your own risk.