The ransomware to be dissected in this post encrypts its victims’ files using AES-256 algorithm and appends the dxxd string to the original file extensions.
What is DXXD ransomware
The DXXD crypto ransomware malady is notoriously intricate. Aside from the customary tactics leveraged by most online extortionists, the individuals running said campaign use more social engineering in their attack routine. For instance, the offending software displays a rogue warning screen before system login that impersonates a message from Microsoft Windows Security Center. Another offbeat feature is that this Trojan merges the “dxxd” array with the original extensions of all enciphered files, with no dots or other separation whatsoever. Therefore, a file named “agenda.docx” will become “agenda.docxdxxd” in the long run. Furthermore, unlike the majority of competing ransomware pests out there, this one has no specially crafted payment page for a victim to visit, submit the ransom and download an automatic decryptor. Instead, all the correspondence is via email.
Let’s take a closer look at the tactic with the counterfeit legal notice. Having contaminated a Windows Server machine or a regular desktop computer, the DXXD virus modifies a number of system registry keys so that a pre-designed alert shows up before the user gets to the point where they enter their admin credentials. The fake notification reads, “Administrator, your server is attacked by hackers. For more informations [sic] and recommendations, write to our experts by e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.” When the user clicks the OK button underneath, they are able to log into the operating system as they normally do.
Whereas it may appear that the deceptive pre-login alert is actually the only ransom note produced by DXXD, there is a Notepad counterpart thereof on the hard drive. A document called ReadMe.TxT, which ends up on the desktop and inside all folders with personal data, contains basically the same recommendations. Perhaps the only difference is that the victim can alternatively use a messaging client called Pidgin if there is no response over email.
An additional hazard associated with the DXXD ransomware is that it can locate and encrypt files on both mapped and unmapped network shares. In other words, if a user keeps important data backups on a network repository that isn’t reflected as a separate drive letter, these files may become encrypted just like everything else stored locally. The expanded attack surface makes this sample more dangerous than most ransom Trojans across the board.
Knowing how this strain circulates can shed light on the applicable prevention methods. It is reportedly distributed over hacked RDP (Remote Desktop Protocol) connections, that is, manually deposited and executed on systems. Some researchers, though, believe this specimen propagates by means of spam or 0day exploits. One way or another, it’s always a good idea to use two-factor authentication with RDP services, abstain from opening untrustworthy email attachments, and make sure the OS and third-party programs are patched as soon as new updates are available.
Automated removal of DXXD 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 dxxd 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 DXXD 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.