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 <
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|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.
What is X3M Ransomware?
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 algorithms 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.
Can X3M Ransomware Cayse Damage?
Yes, ransomware can damage your computer. Ransomware is a malicious software that is designed to block access to your computer or files until a ransom is paid.
Ransomware can also damage your system, corrupt data and delete files, resulting in the permanent loss of important files.
Should I Ignore Viruses, Like X3M?
No, you should never ignore ransomware. It can encrypt your data and block access to your computer, making it impossible to access your files until you pay a ransom.
Ignoring ransomware could lead to the permanent loss of your data, as well as the potential for the ransomware to spread to other computers on your network. Additionally, paying the ransom does not guarantee that your data will be recovered.
How Does X3M Infect?
Via several ways.X3M Ransomware infects computers by being sent via phishing emails, 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 using a specific decryptionkey for the particular algorithm.
What to Do If a Decryptor Does Not Work?
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.
Can I Restore ".X3M" Files?
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% guaranteed that you will be able to get your files back. But if you have a backup, your chances of success are much greater.
How To Get Rid of X3M Virus?
The safest way and the most efficient one for the removal of this ransomware infection is the use a professional anti-malware program.
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.
What to Do If I Cant Get The Files Back?
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 can be re-downloaded from the web.
- Another clever way 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.
How to Report Ransomware to Authorities?
In case your computer got infected with a ransomware infection, you can report it to the local Police departments. It can help authorities worldwide track and determine the perpetrators behind the virus that has infected your computer.
Below, we have prepared a list with government websites, where you can file a report in case you are a victim of a cybercrime:
Cyber-security authorities, responsible for handling ransomware attack reports in different regions all over the world:
Germany - Offizielles Portal der deutschen Polizei
United States - IC3 Internet Crime Complaint Centre
United Kingdom - Action Fraud Police
France - Ministère de l'Intérieur
Italy - Polizia Di Stato
Spain - Policía Nacional
Netherlands - Politie
Poland - Policja
Portugal - Polícia Judiciária
Greece - Cyber Crime Unit (Hellenic Police)
India - Mumbai Police - CyberCrime Investigation Cell
Australia - Australian High Tech Crime Center
Reports may be responded to in different timeframes, depending on your local authorities.
Can You Stop Ransomware from Encrypting Your Files?
Yes, you can prevent ransomware. The best way to do this is to ensure your computer system is updated with the latest security patches, use a reputable anti-malware program and firewall, backup your important files frequently, and avoid clicking on malicious links or downloading unknown files.
Can X3M Ransomware Steal Your Data?
Yes, in most cases ransomware will steal your information. It is a form of malware that steals data from a user's computer, encrypts it, and then demands a ransom in order to decrypt it.
Can Ransomware Infect WiFi?
Yes, ransomware can infect WiFi networks, as malicious actors can use it to gain control of the network, steal confidential data, and lock out users. If a ransomware attack is successful, it could lead to a loss of service and/or data, and in some cases, financial losses.
Should I Pay Ransomware?
No, you should not pay ransomware extortionists. Paying them only encourages criminals and does not guarantee that the files or data will be restored. The better approach is to have a secure backup of important data and be vigilant about security in the first place.
What Happens If I Don't Pay Ransom?
If you don't pay the ransom, the hackers may still have access to your computer, data, or files and may continue to threaten to expose or delete them, or even use them to commit cybercrimes. In some cases, they may even continue to demand additional ransom payments.
Why Is the Ransom Paid in Crypto?
Cryptocurrency is a secure and untraceable form of payment, making it the ideal choice for ransom payments. It is difficult to trace, and the transactions are almost instantaneous. This means it is nearly impossible for authorities to track the payment and recover the money.
Can Ransomware Attack Be Detected?
Yes, ransomware can be detected. Anti-malware software and other advanced security tools can detect ransomware and alert the user when it is present on a machine.
It is important to stay up-to-date on the latest security measures and to keep security software updated to ensure ransomware can be detected and prevented.
Do Ransomware Criminals Get Caught?
Yes, ransomware criminals do get caught. Law enforcement agencies, such as the FBI, Interpol and others have been successful in tracking down and prosecuting ransomware criminals in the US and other countries. As ransomware threats continue to increase, so does the enforcement activity.
About the X3M Research
The content we publish on SensorsTechForum.com, this X3M how-to removal guide included, is the outcome of extensive research, hard work and our team’s devotion to help you remove the specific malware and restore your encrypted files.
How did we conduct the research on this ransomware?
Our research is based on an independent investigation. We are in contact with independent security researchers, and as such, we receive daily updates on the latest malware and ransomware definitions.
To better understand the ransomware threat, please refer to the following articles which provide knowledgeable details.
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.
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