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Decrypt and remove CryptXXX ransomware

3 min read
Learn an effective workaround to mitigate the damage from CryptXXX ransomware attack and decrypt files without paying the ransom.

The use of strong cryptography to make one’s files morph into inaccessible junk isn’t the only adverse effect of being hit by CryptXXX ransom Trojan. It reportedly also engages in data theft and may even put the victim’s Bitcoins at risk, if any. Such a compound compromise is unique to this strain, but it’s got more features that aren’t run-of-the-mill. The name of this infection is more of a conventional labeling as it doesn’t appear anywhere on the warning messages it displays. The XXX component refers to Angler, an exploit kit that the ransomware operators are heavily using to spread their abominable code. Therefore, it suffices a potential target to visit an inconspicuously hacked web page to end up catching the plague. The exploit toolkit silently deposits the malware on to the operating system through a loophole in the security of outdated software.

!Recovery_[victim ID].html ransom instructions
!Recovery_[victim ID].html ransom instructions

In order to know which files to encrypt, this ransomware runs a scan of the infected machine’s hard disk, connected removable drives as well as network shares mapped as a drive letter. By checking data against a readily available list of targeted formats, CryptXXX locates the entities that the victim is likely to put the most value in. These are word processor documents, spreadsheets, presentations, databases, and of course images and videos. Meanwhile, the infection skips operating system files for obvious reasons – the extortionists need to make sure the computer runs smooth enough for the victim to send the ransom, which, by the way, amounts to the Bitcoin equivalent of 500-1000 USD.

TXT version of CryptXXX ransom notes
TXT version of CryptXXX ransom notes

Every file intrusively processed by this threat looks different than its original version. The ransomware adds “.crypt” to the valid filename, making an arbitrary item named “sunrise.jpg” turn into “sunrise.jpg.crypt”. The infected person gets recovery directions through ransom notes titled de_crypt_readme.html, de_crypt_readme.bmp, and de_crypt_readme.txt; or !Recovery_[unique ID].html, !Recovery_[unique ID].bmp, and !Recovery_[unique ID].txt. Either one of these combos is created in ProgramData path, on the desktop, and inside every folder with at least one encrypted file in it.

The warning says “All of your files were protected by a strong encryption with RSA4096”. Interestingly, the scammers may misspell the encryption algorithm and write it as “RZA4096” instead. The ransom notes actually contain a reference to an extremely strong public-key cryptosystem that’s used to encode AES (Advanced Encryption Standard) keys.

Having appeared around mid-April 2016, the Trojan in question has been revamped several times. The latest edition, CryptXXX 3.0, has bug fixes in place which prevent the previously created decryptors from restoring data. Given this hurdle and that submitting up to 2.4 Bitcoins to the criminals is a bad idea, the tips and tricks below are highly recommended.

Automated removal of CryptXXX 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 CryptXXX 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 .crypt 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 CryptXXX 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 CryptXXX 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 CryptXXX ransomware removal tool

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