A ransomware virus discovered in the beginning of January has been reported to use AES encryption algorithm to render the files on the computers it infects no longer openable. The virus aims to perform numerous activities on the victim’s computer, amongst which are to leave a ransom note and modify different components of it, to make it run on system startup. Despite that X3M ransomware demands “Cerber Decryptor”, the virus may have nothing to do with the original Cerber ransomware. The malware also demands 700 dollars payment to restore encrypted files, which is highly inadvisable. Instead we advise you to read the following article and learn how to remove X3M Cerber Decryptor virus and try to restore your files.
|Short Description||This virus imitates Cerber Ransomware and encrypts the files with an AES encryption algorithm to demand 700 dollars for decryption.|
|Symptoms||Changed wallpaper to a ransom note. Advertises <|
|Detection Tool|| See If Your System Has Been Affected by malware |
Malware Removal Tool
|User Experience||Join our forum to Discuss X3M.|
|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.|
How X3M Cerber Decryptor Infects
Similar to other ransomware viruses, such as the original Cerber ransomware, this virus uses quite the combination of tools and tricks up it’s sleeve that aim to ensure successful infection. One of those tools is software that ensures open ports on which to spam a given message and hence use it to deliver, extract and upload various shells. Another tool ensures fake database of web mails and e-mail accounts that have been tested before against spam defenses and filters. Furthermore, cyber-criminals may also use a pre-defined web list of victim accounts that are to be spammed. Usually more attractive are enterprise accounts because of the value of information in them. The cyber-criminals also have servers from which they control the infections and numerous pre-written phishing e-mails that make it look like they were send from legitimate services such as:
X3M Cerber Decryptor Virus – Post-Infection Activity
After the user becomes infected, the infection malware may connect to the server of the cyber-criminals and download different types of executable modules in various Windows key directories, such as:
After the files are downloaded, the X3M Cerber Decryptor ransomware may modify the Run and RunOnce registry entries in Windows to set the location of the malicious file that encrypts data. It will also make sure to modify the registry value of the Wallpaper.
To encrypt files, the X3M Cerber Decryptor threat uses an AES (Advanced Encryption Standard) cipher, which alters bits of those files’ code into symbols from the encryption cipher. After this, the virus may add one of the following file extensions – _x3m, _r9oj, _locked. The encrypted files may appear like the following:
After encryption, researcher at id-ransowmare.blogspot.bg reports that the virus changes the wallpaper with the following note to the victim, in order to make it’s presence known:
“ALL YOUR IMPORTANT FILES ARE ENCRYPTED
Your documents, photos, databases and other important files have been encrypted! To decrypt your files you need to buy the special software – «Cerber decryptor»
Data recovery requires decoder.
To obtain decryptor, please, contact me by email: email@example.com
The cost of the decoder: ~700 USD
Payment only Bitcoin.
Your personal identification ID: id-2650322560
ALL YOUR IMPORTANT FILES ARE ENCRYPTED
Your documents, photos, databases and other important files have been encrypted! To decrypt your files you need to buy the special software – «x3m decryptor»
To obtain decryptor, please, contact me by email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Your personal identification ID:”
There is also a backup e-mail used by one of the variants of this virus in the note and It is email@example.com.
Remove X3M Cerber Decryptor Virus and Restore the Files
In conclusion this is a Cerber ransomware copycat, most likely a low-quality one. Nonetheless, in case you have been infected by this virus, there are numerous options for you to do, instead of choosing to pay 700 dollars to the crooks who made it.
First, malware researchers recommend removing X3M Cerber Decryptor immediately from your computer. This will create a safe environment if you want to try and restore the file. For the removal, we suggest to follow the instructions below. In case you lack experience in removing ransomware, experts also advise to use an advanced anti-malware program which will ensure automatic detection and removal of X3M.
After removing the malware, advices are to follow the instructions in step “2.Restore files encrypted by X3M” below. They include multiple methods to restore the files, some of which may damage them , if the virus has a CBC-mode enabled. This is why, we advise you to backup the encrypted files before begging to employ those tools.
Attention! SensorsTechForum strongly recommends that all malware victims should look for assistance only by reputable sources. Many guides out there claim to offer free recovery and decryption for files encrypted by ransomware viruses. Be advised that some of them may only be after your money.
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.
How to recognize trustworthy sources:
- Always check "About Us" web page.
- Profile of the content creator.
- Make sure that real people are behind the site and not fake names and profiles.
- Verify Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter personal profiles.
How to Remove X3M from Windows.
Step 1: Boot Your PC In Safe Mode to isolate and remove X3M
Step 2: Uninstall X3M 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.
Step 3: Clean any registries, created by X3M on your computer.
The usually targeted registries of Windows machines are the following:
You can access them by opening the Windows registry editor and deleting any values, created by X3M there. This can happen by following the steps underneath:
Step 4: Scan for X3M with SpyHunter Anti-Malware Tool
Step 5 (Optional): Try to Restore Files Encrypted by X3M.
Ransomware infections and X3M 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.
Simply click on the link and on the website menus on top, choose Data Recovery - Data Recovery Wizard for Windows or Mac (depending on your OS), and then download and run the tool.
Get rid of X3M from Mac OS X.
Step 1: Uninstall X3M and remove related files and objects
1. Hit the ⇧+⌘+U keys to open Utilities. Another way is to click on “Go” and then click “Utilities”, like the image below shows:
- 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 X3M 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:
You can repeat the same procedure with the following other Library directories:
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.
Step 3 (Optional): Try to Restore Files Encrypted by X3M on your Mac.
Ransomware for Mac X3M 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.
What is X3M ransomware and how does it work?
X3M 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 algorithm how 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.
How does X3M ransomware infect my computer?
Via several ways.X3M Ransomware infects computers by being sent via phishing e-mails, 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.
After you download and execute this attachment, a drive-by download occurs and your computer is infected with the ransomware virus.
Another way, you may become a victim of X3M 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 .X3M files?
You can't. At this point the .X3M files are encrypted. You can only open them once they are decrypted.
Decryptor did not decrypt my data. What now?
Do not panic and backup the files. If a decryptor did not decrypt your .X3M files successfully, then do not despair, because this virus is still new.
One way to restore files, encrypted by X3M ransomware is to use a decryptor for it. But since it's a new virus, advised that the decryption keys for it may not be out yet and available to the public. We will update this article and keep you posted as soon as this decryptor is released.
How Do I restore ".X3M" files (Other Methods)?
Yes, sometimes files can be restored. We have suggested several file recovery methods that could work if you want to restore .X3M files.
These methods are in no way 100% guarantee that you will be able to get your files back. But if you have a backup, your chances of success are much greater.
How do I get rid of X3M ransomware virus?
The safest way and the most efficient one for the removal of this ransomware infection is the use a professional anti malware software. It will scan for and locate X3M ransomware and then remove it without causing any additional harm to your important .X3M files.
Also, keep in mind that viruses like X3M ransomware also install Trojans and keyloggers that can steal your passwords and accounts. Scanning your computer with an anti-malware software will make sure that all of these virus components are removed and your computer is protected in the future.
What to Do If nothing works?
There is still a lot you can do. If none of the above methods seem to work for you, then try these methods:
- Try to find a safe computer from where you can can login on your own line accounts like One Drive, iDrive, Google Drive and so on.
- Try to contact your friends, relatives and other people so that they can check if they have some of your important photos or documents just in case you sent them.
- Also, check if some of the files that were encrypted it can be re-downloaded from the web.
- Another clever way to get back some of your files is to find another old computer, a flash drive or even a CD or a DVD where you may have saved your older documents. You might be surprised what will turn up.
- You can also go to your email account to check if you can send any attachments to other people. Usually what is sent the email is saved on your account and you can re-download it. But most importantly, make sure that this is done from a safe computer and make sure to remove the virus first.
More tips you can find on our forums, where you can also asks any questions about your ransomware problem.