Learn how to handle the ransomware incident where files on a computer are appended with .mp3 extension and cannot be opened due to strong encryption.
Security examiners and the makers of the notorious TeslaCrypt 3.0 ransomware have been playing catch-up since its emergence. The first few iterations of this crypto Trojan have been cracked owing to remarkable efforts of ransom virus researchers. The variants that can be decrypted courtesy of the specially crafted recovery tool are characterized by nine different strings added to each encrypted file on a victim’s computer, including .aaa, .xyz, and .vvv. Probably as a response to these countermeasures, the perpetrators recently came up with an updated version that puts .mp3 extension at the end of the user’s filenames. The decryptor is currently unable to restore data locked by this edition of the infection. The major disruptive tweaking is associated with the encryption key exchange principle, which now makes it impracticable to intercept the data necessary for decoding.
According to a number of analysis reports, the .mp3 file extension virus was found to propagate via the so-called Angler exploit kit. A number of fairly popular compromised websites have been involved in distributing the ransomware by redirecting visitors to the aforementioned EK’s web page. Once this happens, exploiting a zero-day vulnerability in Adobe Flash Player is typically a matter of seconds. Furthermore, another exploit kit dubbed Neutrino is involved as well – this one relies on outdated WordPress sites to get the payload serving job done. One more spreading mechanism is social engineering – email attachments with an obfuscated lightweight installer ensure malware execution in the background.
TeslaCrypt then stealthily scans the hard drive and shared folders, detects personal files and encrypts them using AES-256 standard while also appending their names with .mp3 extension, which has nothing to do with the well-known multimedia format. In the long run, a sample filename panda.jpg gets transformed to panda.jpg.mp3. The Trojan also creates the following ransom instruction files: _H_e_l_p_RECOVER_INSTRUCTIONS+(3 random characters).txt, _H_e_l_p_RECOVER_INSTRUCTIONS+(3 random characters).png and _H_e_l_p_RECOVER_INSTRUCTIONS+(3 random characters).HTML. These are added to the desktop and folders containing encrypted entities. The victim thus gets several links to their personal home page, where the Bitcoin ransom can be paid and the decryption solution downloaded afterwards.
As security gurus have demonstrated, this cyber threat isn’t flawless. Therefore, instead of submitting the ransom the infected users should first look up decryption software online and try the techniques below to solve the problem.
Automated removal of .mp3 TeslaCrypt 3.0 file virus
Owing to an up-to-date database of malware signatures and intelligent behavioral detection, the recommended software can quickly locate the infection, eradicate it and remediate all harmful changes. So go ahead and do the following:
1. Download and install the antimalware tool. Open the solution and have it check your PC for PUPs and other types of malicious software by clicking the Start Computer Scan button
2. Rest assured the scan report will list all items that may harm your operating system. Select the detected entries and click Fix Threats to get the troubleshooting completed.
Ways of non-ransom recovery of encrypted .mp3 files
Cracking the crypto used by this ransom trojan is more of a science fiction thing rather than an attainable prospect for the masses. This is why the troubleshooting in predicaments of this sort is a matter of two approaches: one is to pay the ransom, which isn’t an option for many victims; and the other is to apply instruments that take advantage of the ransomware’s possible weaknesses. If the latter is your pick, the advice below is a must-try.
Backups can make your day
Not only are you a lucky person in case you’ve been backing up your most important files, but you’re also a wise and prudent user. This isn’t necessarily a resource-heavy activity these days – in fact, some providers of online services are allocating a sufficient size of cloud storage space for free so that every customer can easily upload their critical data without paying a penny. Having removed TeslaCrypt ransomware, therefore, all you have to do is download your stuff from the remote server or transfer it all from an external piece of hardware if that’s the case.
Restore previous versions of encrypted files
A positive upshot of using this technique depends on whether or not the ransomware has erased the Volume Shadow Copies of the files on your PC. This is a Windows feature that automatically makes and keeps the backups of data elements on the hard drive as long as System Restore is enabled. The cryptoware in question is programmed to switch off the Volume Shadow Copy Service (VSS), but it has reportedly failed to in some cases. Checking one’s options regarding this workaround is doable in two ways: through the Properties menu of each file or by means of the remarkable open-source tool called Shadow Explorer. We recommend the software-based way because it’s automated, hence faster and easier. Just install the app and use its intuitive controls to get previous versions of the encrypted objects reinstated.
Data recovery toolkit to the rescue
Some strains of ransomware are known to delete the original files after the encryption routine has been completed. As hostile as this activity appears, it can play into your hands. There are applications designed to revive the information that was obliterated because of malfunctioning hardware or due to accidental removal. The tool called Data Recovery Pro by ParetoLogic features this type of capability therefore it can be applied in ransom attack scenarios to at least get the most important files back. So download and install the program, run a scan and let it do its job.
Revise your security status
Post-factum assessment of the accuracy component in malware removal scenarios is a great habit that prevents the comeback of harmful code or replication of its unattended fractions. Make sure you are good to go by running an additional safety checkup.