The recent Zepto ransomware virus has spread like a plague. As a variant of Locky ransomware, it is expected of the improved virus to reach new heights in infection. Zepto uses the same ransom note as Locky and Bart ransomware with changes web addresses used for payment. Encrypted files are renamed in a specific way, and locked with a .zepto extension. For now, there is no decrypter tool, but you can see how you might restore some files and remove Zepto ransomware if you carefully read the whole article.
|Short Description||The ransomware uses 128-bit AES ciphers with RSA 2048-bit algorithm for the encryption of files.|
|Symptoms||The ransomware puts the extension .zepto to all encrypted files and demands around 320$ in Bitcoins currency for decryption.|
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|User Experience||Join Our Forum to Discuss Zepto Ransomware|
|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.|
Zepto Ransomware – Infection Spread
Zepto ransomware is spreading with lightning speed. The reason is that it utilizes methods used by Locky ransomware over a new and possibly better botnet. The effectiveness comes from the fact that some anti-malware programs still do not have Zepto in their database with definitions for viruses.
There are lots of ways you can get infected with this ransomware. Targeted attacks could very well be in place, with the ransomware creators going after large companies, but they have set up malware campaigns on a massive, global scale. Some researchers say that the most attacks are reported in the US and the European Union. Those researchers also believe that the malware creators possibly reside in Russia and neighboring countries, but those allegations are not proven and are ungrounded. It is true, though that in the past Locky ransomware didn’t infect computers which had the Russian language set as default.
Zepto Ransomware – Chronological Background
Back in the first quarter of this year, Locky ransomware infected people’s systems worldwide. The most important files people had, such as documents and databases, got encrypted. The spam email campaign of Locky was huge, and the email was cleverly written so that users could be tricked and infect their computers. You can see a small example of the aftermath in our Locky forum topic. Nobody has made a working decrypter tool for Locky to this very day, which is probably why the cybercriminals are using the same code of the ransomware, to generate money.
A few days ago, another clone of Locky made its appearance before Zepto. That other variant is dubbed Bart ransomware. The Bart virus demanded a higher ransom amount from infected users and used a Trojan to spread itself. The Trojan is effective and bears the name RockLoader. The first botnet used for spreading Locky ransomware is stopped to make way for the newer variants of this crypto-virus.
Zepto Ransomware – Technical Analysis
Zepto ransomware is the new and improved variant of the Locky ransomware virus, which hit a huge number of computers in February, this year. The Zepto ransomware is given that name because of the extension it appends to encrypted files.
The ransomware could probably make an entry in the Windows Registry for longevity. The entry will launch the ransomware with each start of Windows. This is an example of such an entry:
→HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run [name of the exe file]
When Zepto ransomware virus locks your files, it will create two files with the payment instructions described. The files are these:
Here is a picture of the ransom note:
The ransom note reads:
!!! IMPORTANT INFORMATION !!!
All of your files are encrypted with RSA-2048 and AES-128 ciphers.
More information about the RSA and AES can be found here:
Decrypting of your files is only possible with the private key and decrypt program, All which is on our secret server.
To receive your private key follow one of the links:
If all of this addresses are not available, follow synthesis steps:
1. Download and install Tor Browser: https://www.torproject.org/download/download-easy(.)html
2. After a successful installation, run the browser and wait for initialization.
3. Type in the address bar: mphtadhci5mrdlju(.)onion/D7F6EEB0D8FC508E
4. Follow the instructions on the site.
!!! Your personal identification ID: D7F6EEB0D8FC508E !!!
The ransom message is not intended to threaten you but gives you the links to pay the ransom. The message gives two web addresses which use a Tor proxy. You can gain access to either of them if you copy the links into any browser.
If you go to one of the web addresses, you will see this page:
On the page, you can see that Locky decryptor is offered. The ransom money demanded by Zepto is 0.5 Bitcoins, which is around 320 US dollars, currently. Do not pay the ransom as you can just lose your money by supporting the cyber crooks, without getting any data back.
The Zepto ransomware crypto-virus uses 128-bit AES ciphers with an 2048-bit RSA algorithm for the encryption of files. Both Bart and Locky ransomware viruses used the same encryption mechanism. A high possibility exists that the code for the ransomware has hit the black market and is sold as Ransomware-as-a-Service (RaaS). The file extensions which get encrypted are probably the same as those Bart ransomware searches for:
→.123, .3dm, .3ds, .3g2, .3gp, .602, .aes, .arc, .asc, .asf, .asm, .asp, .avi, .bak, .bat, .bmp, .brd, .cgm, .cmd, .cpp, .crt, .csr, .csv, .dbf, .dch, .dif, .dip, .djv, .djvu, .doc, .docb, .docm, .docx, .dot, .dotm, .dotx, .fla, .flv, .frm, .gif, .gpg, .hwp, .ibd, .jar, .java, .jpeg, .jpg, .key, .lay, .lay6, .ldf, .m3u, .m4u, .max, .mdb, .mdf, .mid, .mkv, .mov, .mp3, .mp4, .mpeg, .mpg, .ms11, .myf, .myi, .nef, .odb, .odg, .odp, .ods, .odt, .otg, .otp, .ots, .ott, .p12, .paq, .pas, .pdf, .pem, .php, .png, .pot, .potm, .potx, .ppam, .pps, .ppsm, .ppsx, .ppt, .pptm, .pptx, .psd, .rar, .raw, .rtf, .sch, .sldm, .sldx, .slk, .stc, .std, .sti, .stw, .svg, .swf, .sxc, .sxd, .sxi, .sxm, .sxw, .tar, .tbk, .tgz, .tif, .tiff, .txt, .uop, .uot, .vbs, .vdi, .vmdk, .vmx, .vob, .wav, .wb2, .wk1, .wks, .wma, .wmv, .xlc, .xlm, .xls, .xlsb, .xlsm, .xlsx, .xlt, .xltm, .xltx, .xlw, .zip
After encrypting your files the ransomware will put the extension .zepto at the end of each file. It will also rename the files using the identification number generated for every user. It will put hexadecimal symbols from the ransomware ID. Similar to what Locky ransomware did.
Here is how the renaming is done:
- The first 8 hexadecimal characters of the ID
- The next 4 hexadecimal characters of the ID
- The next 4 hexadecimal characters of the ID
- 4 hexadecimal characters of the ID
- 12 hexadecimal characters of the ID
The hex letters and numbers are separated by dashes, and each file ends with the .zepto extension. The final name of a file looks like this – A4F8B62G-1587-3HG5-12K7-8CJ24L256P39.zepto.
Zepto ransomware might erase Shadow Volume Copies from the Windows operating system, but you should try to see if you are lucky and the ransomware didn’t succeed in doing that. Keep reading further to learn about ways in which you might restore part of your data.
Remove Zepto Ransomware Virus and Restore .zepto Files
If Zepto ransomware hit your computer system, do not lose hope. You need only a little bit of experience with removing malware to get rid of it. You should remove this nasty ransomware virus as quickly as you can before it can spread deeper into the network and encrypt more user files. The recommended thing to do is to remove this ransomware virus effectively by following the step-by-step manual guide provided below.
What is Zepto Ransomware?
Zepto 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 Zepto 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 Zepto?
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 Zepto Infect?
Via several ways.Zepto 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 Zepto 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 .Zepto files?
You can't. At this point, the .Zepto 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 .Zepto files successfully, then do not despair, because this virus is still new.
Can I Restore ".Zepto" Files?
Yes, sometimes files can be restored. We have suggested several file recovery methods that could work if you want to restore .Zepto 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 Zepto 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 Zepto ransomware and then remove it without causing any additional harm to your important .Zepto files.
Also, keep in mind that viruses like Zepto 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 Zepto 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 Zepto Research
The content we publish on SensorsTechForum.com, this Zepto 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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