THREAT REMOVAL

SF Subway Hit by Cryptom HDDCryptor Ransomware – Passengers Ride for Free

san-francisco-subway-hit-by-ransomware-sensorstechforumWhat researchers believe to be a variant of the notorious HDDCryptor malware family has hit the Muni subway system of San Francisco. The hack resulted in over 2,000 systems to become compromised and their hard drives to be encrypted. The ransomware displayed a short message on boot screen, linking to the e-mail cryptom73@yandex.com. Then, the cyber-criminals demanded over 73 thousand dollars to be paid as a ransom to restore access to the systems on the subway. This is yet another case of how IoT (Internet of Things) can impact our daily lives.

Threat Summary

Name

Cryptom

TypeRansomware
Short DescriptionThe malware encrypts the hard drive of the user with a custom password, denying all access to it. It asks for 100 BTC ransom payment to send a password for encryption.
SymptomsOn system boot displays the following ransom note – “You Hacked, ALL Data Encrypted, Contact For Key (cryptom27@yandex.com) ID:”
Distribution MethodVia an Exploit kit, Dll file attack, malicious JavaScript or a drive-by download of the malware itself in an obfuscated manner. Malicious executables may be the initial infection but is reported to further spread using worm-spreading features (automatic)..
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User ExperienceJoin our forum to Discuss Cryptom Ransomware.
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.

The Cryptom Ransomware Attacked Different Systems

Not only systems within the Municipal Transport Agency of San Francisco’s subway were infected. The ransomware managed to impact many other related systems as well, such as administrative computers, systems for payment, SQL database computers, terminals and kiosks. The malware has most likely been coded by someone with experience because it had a worm-like capability to spread across different types of devices, suggesting the sophistication behind it. Not only this but other computers, even including Macs and other PC’s were also hit, rising the number of infected devices to roughly 8,500.

What Does Cryptom Ransowmare Do

The goal of Cryptom is to generate profit at the user’s expense. The attack by the virus may portray a worm-like behavior, which means it spreads from an infected device to an infected device, raising some serious security issues in various IoT devices.

After infecting a given machine, the ransomware does not just encrypt the files on the compromised device. Instead, it focuses on performing various tasks oriented with attacking the MBR (Master Boot Record) which if overridden, allows it to directly encrypt the SSD or HDD on the compromised device.

After this encryption process is complete, the ransomware generates a unique unlock key via it’s encryption mechanism which will allow for the successful deciphering of the encrypted data. And Cryptom finally generates a boot message saying the drive is encrypted:

ransom-note-cryptom-ransomware-sensorstechforum

The Origins of HDDCryptor

Similar to other HDDCryptor variant, Mamba Ransomware, Cryptom may exhibit the same behavior. The sole idea for this specific file encryption malware is using coding skills to generate a sophisticated ransomware virus by taking the source code from open source program, known as DiskCryptor which is originally used for protection of hard drives.

It is believed that not only the ransomware creates multiple files on the main logical drive of the infected computer, but it also uses those files to obtain administrative privileges. This is used most likely for Cryptom to create a new user on the compromised device and then most likely use the following ciphers to encrypt the hard drive:

  • AES-512 encryption algorithm
  • XTS encryption mode

What is The Impact

Thousands of devices in the SF subway and bus network were rebooted with the ransom message on them. Upon contacting the e-mail address the cyber-criminals responded that their software infects automatically and they did not expect any ransom to be paid. But either way they demanded the insane ransom amount of approximately 100 BTC for the payoff.

The impact of this infection is that the SF public transport organization was pushed into opening the gates for access to the subway, allowing everyone to ride for free.

Cryptom Ransomware – Predictions, Protection and Removal

Given in consideration that cities, like San Francisco’s transport system is interconnected, this is what allowed for the Cryptom virus to spread so quickly. Even the cyber-criminals have admitted that this was not their initial target. However, we could be seeing more and more ransomware attacks on interconnected devices impacting our daily life, like ATM’s, security cameras, parking meters and every other device with an OS and a screen belonging to the same network.

In case you have been infected by this ransomware virus, we urge you to be extremely careful in what you are doing. HDD encryptors have been around for quite some time and viruses, like “Petya” and “Mischa” have proven that they work. As soon as you see the ransom note, the first step we advise you to take is to unplug your HDD from the device immediately. To learn how to do this, you can follow our instructions (step 1 to step 3 in the “Decryption Phase”) in the article below:

After extracting the hard drive, it is recommended to not tamper with it in any way and wait until malware researchers come up with a solution, immediately after which we will update this article with a web link to the solution itself.

In the mean-time the best thing you can do to increase protection is to make a system consisting of protection tools and a security oriented behavior. Here is what we suggest you to do:

1. Read our ransomware protection tips.
2. Read our research on how to safely store your files to protect them from ransomware viruses in general.
3. Download an advanced anti-malware tool that will help increase general malware and exploit protection:


See If Your System Has Been Affected by malware

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4. Download the Talos’s tool which aims to protect the MBR from ransomwareand other viruses.

Avatar

Ventsislav Krastev

Ventsislav is a cybersecurity expert at SensorsTechForum since 2015. He has been researching, covering, helping victims with the latest malware infections plus testing and reviewing software and the newest tech developments. Having graduated Marketing as well, Ventsislav also has passion for learning new shifts and innovations in cybersecurity that become game changers. After studying Value Chain Management, Network Administration and Computer Administration of System Applications, he found his true calling within the cybersecrurity industry and is a strong believer in the education of every user towards online safety and security.

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Windows Mac OS X Google Chrome Mozilla Firefox Microsoft Edge Safari Internet Explorer

How to Remove Cryptom from Windows.


Step 1: Boot Your PC In Safe Mode to isolate and remove Cryptom

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 Cryptom 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 Cryptom 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 Cryptom 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 Cryptom 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.


Windows Mac OS X Google Chrome Mozilla Firefox Microsoft Edge Safari Internet Explorer

Get rid of Cryptom from Mac OS X.


Step 1: Uninstall Cryptom 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 Cryptom:

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 Cryptom. 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 Cryptom. 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 Cryptom 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 Cryptom. 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 malware from your Mac

When you are facing problems on your Mac as a result of unwanted scripts, programs and malware, 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.



Windows Mac OS X Google Chrome Mozilla Firefox Microsoft Edge Safari Internet Explorer


Remove Cryptom from Google Chrome.


Step 1: Start Google Chrome and open the drop menu


Step 2: Move the cursor over "Tools" and then from the extended menu choose "Extensions"


Step 3: From the opened "Extensions" menu locate the unwanted extension and click on its "Remove" button.


Step 4: After the extension is removed, restart Google Chrome by closing it from the red "X" button at the top right corner and start it again.


Windows Mac OS X Google Chrome Mozilla Firefox Microsoft Edge Safari Internet Explorer


Erase Cryptom from Mozilla Firefox.

Step 1: Start Mozilla Firefox. Open the menu window


Step 2: Select the "Add-ons" icon from the menu.


Step 3: Select the unwanted extension and click "Remove"


Step 4: After the extension is removed, restart Mozilla Firefox by closing it from the red "X" button at the top right corner and start it again.



Windows Mac OS X Google Chrome Mozilla Firefox Microsoft Edge Safari Internet Explorer


Uninstall Cryptom from Microsoft Edge.


Step 1: Start Edge browser.


Step 2: Open the drop menu by clicking on the icon at the top right corner.


Step 3: From the drop menu select "Extensions".


Step 4: Choose the suspected malicious extension you want to remove and then click on the gear icon.


Step 5: Remove the malicious extension by scrolling down and then clicking on Uninstall.



Windows Mac OS X Google Chrome Mozilla Firefox Microsoft Edge Safari Internet Explorer


Remove Cryptom from Safari.


Step 1: Start the Safari app.


Step 2: After hovering your mouse cursor to the top of the screen, click on the Safari text to open its drop down menu.


Step 3: From the menu, click on "Preferences".

stf-safari preferences


Step 4: After that, select the 'Extensions' Tab.

stf-safari-extensions


Step 5: Click once on the extension you want to remove.


Step 6: Click 'Uninstall'.

stf-safari uninstall

A pop-up window will appear asking for confirmation to uninstall the extension. Select 'Uninstall' again, and the Cryptom will be removed.


How to Reset Safari
IMPORTANT: Before resetting Safari make sure you back up all your saved passwords within the browser in case you forget them.

Start Safari and then click on the gear leaver icon.

Click the Reset Safari button and you will reset the browser.


Windows Mac OS X Google Chrome Mozilla Firefox Microsoft Edge Safari Internet Explorer


Eliminate Cryptom from Internet Explorer.


Step 1: Start Internet Explorer.


Step 2: Click on the gear icon labeled 'Tools' to open the drop menu and select 'Manage Add-ons'


Step 3: In the 'Manage Add-ons' window.


Step 4: Select the extension you want to remove and then click 'Disable'. A pop-up window will appear to inform you that you are about to disable the selected extension, and some more add-ons might be disabled as well. Leave all the boxes checked, and click 'Disable'.


Step 5: After the unwanted extension has been removed, restart Internet Explorer by closing it from the red 'X' button located at the top right corner and start it again.


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