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 X3M |
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: firstname.lastname@example.org
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: email@example.com
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.