Home Guides “All of your files are encrypted” – Locky ransomware virus

“All of your files are encrypted” – Locky ransomware virus

3 min read
Locky ransomware versions, including the newest Zepto incarnation, display ‘All of your files are encrypted’ alert and extort money to undo adverse impact.

Given the abundance of crypto viruses spreading over the Internet, there are probably very few computer users unaware of this menace. As new samples are appearing literally every other day, some stick around for months or even years. Locky is one of the enduring specimens. Originally spotted in the wild around February 2016, it has evolved into a powerful extortion contrivance ever since. Although the plague has been updated a couple of times, some of its attributes proved to be steadfast. First off, it’s the text of warnings presented to victims, which is fairly concise. The alert starts with the unfailing phrase, “All of your files are encrypted with RSA-2048 and AES-128 ciphers”. It’s hard to think of a more accurate description of the problem, indeed.

'All of your files are encrypted' ransomware alert by Locky
‘All of your files are encrypted’ ransomware alert by Locky

Another thing that perseveres across the different iterations of Locky is the approach to encrypting one’s sensitive data. The same old combo of two cryptosystems mentioned in the ransom note is still unbroken at the time of writing. The size of the ransom, incidentally, is one more constant in these breaches – it still amounts to 0.5 Bitcoin, just like months back.

A recent tweak of this ransom Trojan has brought about some significant changes, though. While the infection used to concatenate .locky extension to the mutilated files, it switched to .zepto. The other observable modification is the file renaming format. The previous methodology of assigning 32-character uninterrupted strings for filenames has given in to a technique where the names turn into hyphenated hexadecimal arrays consisting of the same number of symbols. Check out the snapshot below to see what a mess one’s data turns into.

Weird entries that used to be one’s personal files
Weird entries that used to be one’s personal files

The threat actors have also altered the names of documents that convey decryption steps. Instead of dropping “_Locky_recover_instructions”, the ransomware now deposits HTML, TXT and BMP versions of a file labeled “_HELP_instructions”. Aside from the “All of your files are encrypted” message, these notes also say that the only effective way to decode the hostage information is to obtain the private RSA key, which is located on a secret Command and Control server. The victim also gets 3 or 4 hyperlinks, mostly .onion and .tor2web gateways, that point to the Locky Decryptor Page. The Onion Router (Tor) technology isn’t a random pick of the criminals – it ensures that all of their interaction with victims is untraceable. And finally, the above-mentioned page is the place where the payment processing infrastructure is hosted. Furthermore, the user will supposedly be able to download the decryptor after they submit the ransom.

The strong recommendation of most security experts to refrain from paying up, of course, contradicts the victims’ apprehension of losing their data. This sort of advice, however, makes sense even despite the fact that there is no alternative decryptor for .locky and .zepto files at this point. The thing is, some techniques can work wonders for the file restoration objective. Learn what they are and use them now to tackle the Locky issue.

Automated removal of “All of your files are encrypted” 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

Download “All of your files are encrypted” virus remover

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 .locky and .zepto 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 Locky 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.
Shadow Explorer

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.

Download Data Recovery Pro

Data Recovery Pro

Ransomware Prevention Tips

To avoid the “All of your files are encrypted” ransomware and other file-encrypting infections in the future, follow several simple recommendations:

  • Toggle your email provider’s anti-spam settings to filter out all the potentially harmful incoming messages. Raising the bar beyond the default protection is an important countermeasure for ransom Trojans

  • Define specific file extension restrictions in your email system. Make sure that attachments with the following extensions are blacklisted: .js, .vbs, .docm, .hta, .exe, .cmd, .scr, and .bat. Also, treat ZIP archives in received messages with extreme caution

  • Rename the vssadmin.exe process so that ransomware is unable to obliterate all Shadow Volume Copies of your files in one shot

  • Keep your Firewall active at all times. It can prevent crypto ransomware from communicating with its C&C server. This way, the threat won’t be able to obtain cryptographic keys and lock your files

  • Back up your files regularly, at least the most important ones. This recommendation is self-explanatory. A ransomware attack isn’t an issue as long as you keep unaffected copies of your data in a safe place

  • Use an effective antimalware suite. There are security tools that identify ransomware-specific behavior and block the infection before it can do any harm.
These techniques are certainly not a cure-all, but they will add an extra layer of ransomware protection to your security setup.

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.

Download .locky and .zepto files virus removal tool

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