Find out what malicious software the appearance of Help_Your_Files documents is a symptom of and go through a troubleshooting routine to remedy the PC.
There is a sequence of concurrent events that denote a critical security issue on a given workstation. The emergence of documents named Help_Your_Files in HTML, PNG and TXT formats on one’s desktop co-occurs with all personal files on the hard drive going inaccessible. How are these ostensibly different things interrelated? The entity that unites them into a tangible whole is called ransomware, in particular the sample known as CryptoWall 4.0. This is technically a computer trojan with advanced AV bypassing characteristics, which is programmed to encrypt its victim’s files that match a list of most popular extensions, including DOCX, XLSX, JPG and many others.
According to the information provided in the Help_Your_Files document, the only prerequisite for data recovery is a payment for the CryptoWall decrypt service. In other words, it is a ransom that the criminals expect their preys to submit in Bitcoins, a virtual currency that ensures a sufficient scope of anonymity for the scammers not to be tracked down and stay at large. Currently amounting to about $700, or 1.8 BTC, the money is supposedly going to release the private decryption key, which is part of the public-private key pair used in the course of data encoding with RSA-2048 standard. An additional problem is that CryptoWall 4.0 encrypts both the file contents and the names of files so that it’s difficult to even figure out what’s where on the HDD.
The users who end up following the ransomware authors’ directions are provided with their “personal page” that can be visited through one of the 5 Tor gateways listed in all variants of the Help_Your_Files notes. The Onion Router based principle of interacting with the victims further enhances the bad guys’ anonymity and is one of the key reasons why they are still not busted and keep coming up with updates of the ransom trojan once in a while.
As opposed to the preceding versions of the virus, the fraudsters are now leveraging a diversified distribution framework consisting of two main vectors: one is backed by eye-catching phishing emails, and the other is associated with the use of exploit kits such as Angler and Nuclear. The former entry point prevails. Users receive webmail messages with ZIP archives claiming to contain a curriculum vitae of some person. The social engineering effect based on people’s curiosity works well for the cybercriminals, luring users to open the attachment. Doing this immediately executes the malicious payload on the machine, and CryptoWall 4.0 kicks off by scanning the hard disk and removable media for the appropriate files, encrypting them and adding the Help_Your_Files instructions document to the desktop as well as all folders with encrypted data.
Before giving in to the extortionists’ demands, do not fail to try the options listed below, which can in some cases do the file restoration trick beyond submitting the ransom.
Automated removal of Help_Your_Files 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 CryptoWall 4.0 encrypted data
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 CryptoWall 4.0, 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.