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WildFire Locker virus: how to decrypt .wflx ransomware files

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Although the most reliable way to restore .wflx files encrypted by WildFire Locker is to pay the ransom, a few forensic techniques may do the trick as well.

The WildFire Locker crypto ransomware has gone through ups and downs since the inception of this campaign in mid-July, but a recent abrupt spike in its circulation is quite a wakeup call. This rapidly propagating strain sticks with the conventional attack route for the most part. It uses AES-256 encryption to jumble the inner data structure of a victim’s personal files and then extorts $299 for the decryption key. The effect tends to be far-reaching and tangible as the offending code displays a bevy of alerts, including a twisted desktop background.

Furthermore, every file processed in the course of this compromise undergoes a double modification: first of all, it becomes ciphered and thus inaccessible; secondly, the filename format changes big time. Here is a pattern that demonstrates this transformation: a document named “Agenda.docx” turns into “Agenda #WildFire_Locker#af3bf2##.docx.wflx”, where the “af3bf2” part is a variable ID assigned to the victim, and “wflx” is invariable the extension used in this campaign.

Attendant effects of the WildFire Locker attack
Attendant effects of the WildFire Locker attack

Along with replacing the original desktop wallpaper, the WildFire Locker virus also provides a data recovery roadmap through a combo of the following ransom notes: HOW_TO_UNLOCK_FILES_README_(10-character ID) available in HTML, TXT and BMP format. Here is a snippet of the message inside these instructions: “All your files have been encrypted with a unique 32 characters long password using AES-256 CBC encryption. The only way to get your files back is by purchasing the decryption password! The decryption password will cost $/€299.” In other words, the criminals are trying to sell the AES decryption key for said amount of money. The problem is, only the threat actors have the key, and it is nowhere to be found on the infected computer. There is a 7-day deadline for the payment, after which the ransom will increase to $/€999. The criminals list a few URLs, not all of which are Tor pages, for the contaminated user to follow and end up on the WildFire Locker payment page.

This plague is being distributed mostly via malware-tainted Microsoft Word documents attached to phishing emails. The trick is all about macros, components of MS Office files originally intended to facilitate the use of popular features but also abused by cybercrooks. When an object of this phish opens such an attachment, what they see is some unintelligible text and a recommendation to enable macros that will supposedly turn the junk into readable content. The moment a person does this, WildFire Locker is loaded to the computer’s memory and starts its filthy job. So don’t open suspicious files received over email. If the breach has taken place, be sure to try the tips below before making any deals with the attackers.

Automated removal of WildFire Locker 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 .wflx 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 .wflx 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 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 WildFire Locker 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 WildFire Locker ransomware removal tool

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