Home Guides Decrypt .dot file virus: how to recover from .dot extension ransomware (upd. 2017)

Decrypt .dot file virus: how to recover from .dot extension ransomware (upd. 2017)

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The post is based on a comprehensive research of the .dot file extension virus and provides viable methods to restore .dot entries encrypted by the ransomware.

There are several unique properties that enable end users and researchers to identify a piece of ransomware they are confronted with. The ones that lay on the surface include the names of decryption manuals created on the contaminated PC, as well as file extensions that the infection appends to every personal data entry. These are like fingerprints that hardly ever repeat across different campaigns. One of the emerging crypto menaces has been using the .dot extension to brand each file it has encrypted.

Unfortunately, simply editing the filename is not going to make it accessible, because the impact is actually much deeper. The digital intruder that ended up on the machine employs the AES cryptographic standard to jumble up the composition of all data items. To bring the structure back to its normal state, the victim needs a decryption key which is owned by the attacker. The idea of any ransomware breach is to sell this secret key to the infected person, otherwise they run the risk of losing their important information.

Warning message accompanying the .dot file virus compromise
Warning message accompanying the .dot file virus compromise

The .dot file ransomware, also referred to as Cerber, has been circulating for many months at this point. It is a Ransomware as a Service, or RaaS, meaning that different threat actors can generate and distribute their custom payloads of the infection, and the developer gets a fixed cut from all ransom payments further on. The .dot extension variant is one of many spinoffs, but it is proliferating more rapidly than the majority of the competing editions. Its propagation relies on spam. The criminals use a powerful botnet to spawn thousands of contagious emails per day. While most recipients are prudent enough not to click on anything in these messages, some end up opening the attached JS or DOCM files. In the latter scenario, the malicious code is extremely difficult to stop.

The ransomware executable is dropped inside the Temp or AppData folder, a place where some antimalware tools won’t look for threats. When launched from there, the .dot file virus scans computer drives, both local and removable, and locates all data objects that have widespread extensions. Predictably enough, these files are then encoded so that the victim cannot access them anymore. Filenames will most likely become scrambled as well, which keeps the user from finding a certain item of interest. Cerber also creates Readme.hta ransom note on the desktop, an application tasked with instructing the victim on recovery.

According to these directions, the fix presupposes that the infected user must submit about 1 Bitcoin within five days, or else the ransom will increase to 2 Bitcoins. Is this the only way to restore .dot files? Not really. Security experts have elaborated a number of alternate methods, so try the steps below first.

Automated removal of .dot 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

Download .dot files 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 .dot 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 the .dot file 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 .dot extension 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 .dot extension ransomware removal tool

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