Beware of the destructive ransomware strain called Bad Rabbit, which cripples an infected host’s MBR, encrypts files and demands a ransom in Bitcoin.
Ransomware isn’t a homogeneous concept. It can denote perpetrating code that encrypts individual files and holds them for ransom – in fact, that’s how mainstream ransom Trojans operate. There are blackmail viruses that call forth way more damage, though – ones like Bad Rabbit. This infection boasts a malicious repertoire broad enough to prevent the victims from accessing both their personal data and their computers altogether. It was originally discovered in late October 2017 as a threat to Russian, Ukrainian, Turkish and Bulgarian users and organizations for the most part. The baddie has considerably extended its geographic reach ever since.
Bad Rabbit’s primary entry point is via drive-by downloads on hacked or malicious sites. For instance, the early wave of infections involved a rogue Adobe Flash Player update pushed on a compromised web page. Once the booby-trapped file is downloaded and the ransomware is deposited on a computer, it triggers a self-spreading routine to proliferate across an enterprise network – if that’s the case – by abusing SMB (Server Message Block). Interestingly, the pest attempts to crack the victim’s credentials by leveraging an open-source utility called Mimikatz. Another noteworthy fact about the Bad Rabbit ransomware is its use of the leaked NSA exploit codenamed EternalRomance for massive propagation.
When up and running inside a compromised Windows machine, the Trojan looks for files with dozens of specific extensions in order to get the list of data items potentially most valuable to the victim. Every such entry is encrypted using AES cipher, and the encryption key is further encoded with an RSA-2048 public key. While filenames stay unaltered, the hostage objects are assigned a new file marker – the “encrypted” string. Next, Bad Rabbit conducts full disk encryption, replaces the Master Boot Record with a different one, and reboots the computer.
From that moment on, the infected user will be unable to use their machine. It will be stuck at a screen with the ransom note that says, “Oops! Your files have been encrypted. If you see this text, your files are no longer accessible. You might have been looking for a way to recover your files. Don’t waste your time. No one will be able to recover them without our decryption service.” The message also includes the victim’s “personal installation key” and the address of the Tor page designed for accepting ransoms. The web service that the victims are instructed to visit displays the size of the ransom, which is 0.05 Bitcoin, and the amount of time left before the price goes up. To proceed with recovery, the user is supposed to enter their personal key on that page in order to get their unique BTC wallet address for payment.
The Bad Rabbit Ransomware shares quite a few characteristics with NotPetya virus, which broke out in June 2017. Both use a similar design of the ransom notes and payment pages, plus their distribution techniques involve SMB protocol abuse and the harnessing of NSA exploits. In fact, analysts have discovered that the two are operated by the same cybercriminal group hailing from Russia. However, there is a fundamental difference. Whereas NotPetya was made solely for sabotage and didn’t offer its victims any recovery options at all, Bad Rabbit is its ‘commercial’ counterpart whose operators seek financial gain as it does provide a viable decryption functionality.
Instead of following the perpetrators’ instructions, though, it is recommended to use the steps below and thus try to reinstate the data. First, use a bootable rescue CD/DVD or USB in order to be able to access the system and commence the troubleshooting. The following sections will walk you through the rest of the procedure.
Bad Rabbit ransomware automated removal and data recovery
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.
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.
Bad Rabbit ransomware manual removal and file recovery
Some ransomware strains terminate themselves after completing the encryption job on a computer, but some don’t. Furthermore, the Bad Rabbit blackmail virus may prevent victims from using popular antimalware tools in order to stay on board for as long as possible. Under the circumstances, it may be necessary to utilize the Safe Mode with Networking or System Restore functionality.
- Restart the machine. When the system begins loading back up, keep pressing the F8 key with short intervals. The Windows Advanced Options Menu (Advanced Boot Options) screen will appear.
- Use arrow keys to select Safe Mode with Networking and hit Enter. Log on with the user account infected by the ransomware.
- Click on the Search icon next to the Start menu button. Type msconfig in the search field and select the System Configuration option in the results. Go to the Boot tab in the upper part of the GUI.
- Under Boot options, select Safe boot and click the Apply button. A prompt will appear to reboot the computer so that the changes take effect. Select the Restart option and wait for the system to load into Safe Mode. Again, log on with the ransomware-stricken user account.
In Safe Mode, the ransom Trojan won’t keep security software from running or otherwise thwart troubleshooting. Open your preferred web browser, download and install an antimalware tool of choice and start a full system scan. Have all the detected ransomware components removed in a hassle-free way.
- Open Windows Advanced Options Menu as described in the previous section: hit F8 repeatedly when the PC is starting up. Use arrow keys to highlight the Safe Mode with Command Prompt entry. Hit Enter.
- In the Command Prompt window, type cd restore and hit Enter
- Type rstrui.exe in the new command line and press Enter
- When the System Restore screen pops up, click Next, select a restore point that predates the contamination, and use the application’s controls to roll back the system to this earlier state.
Be advised that even after the ransomware is removed, files will still be encrypted and inaccessible. The malicious code cleanup part, however, is important because it keeps a relapse of the infection from occurring further on and eliminates all opportunistic malware.
Ways of non-ransom recovery of files encrypted by Bad Rabbit virus
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.
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.
Alternatively, you can leverage the Previous Versions feature, which is native to Windows operating system. This method is more cumbersome that the use of ShadowExplorer, but it can help restore the most important individual files on condition that the ransomware failed to disable the Volume Snapshot Service on the computer. Right-click on a file of choice and select Properties. Then, go to the Previous Versions tab as illustrated below.
Go ahead and pick the file’s latest backup version on the list. Use the Copy or Restore buttons to reinstate this object to a new path or to its original folder, respectively.
Ransomware Prevention Tips
To avoid the Bad Rabbit 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.