Get the lowdown on the Shade/Troldesh ransomware variant that appends the .crypted000007 extension to encrypted files and drops README.txt rescue notes.
The ransomware strain called Shade, or Troldesh, is one of the old stagers on the digital extortion arena. Just like the average cyber blackmail infection, this one weaponizes cryptography to lock one’s valuable data and then coerces the victim to pay for the decryption service. What makes this particular lineage different from the rest is that it has beaten the record of a specific variant’s longevity. The edition that stains encoded files with the .crypted000007 extension has been in rotation since early May 2017, and it keeps making a lot of victims six months afterward. It makes sense to assume that this campaign is elaborate enough to save its architects the trouble of modifying their malicious code. The crypto is uncrackable and the victim interaction workflow is flawless, so why reinvent the wheel? Unfortunately, that’s probably the crooks’ train of thought.
The .crypted000007 version of the Shade/Troldesh ransomware is being distributed by dint of malspam, a vector that’s extremely popular with Internet-borne extortionists. The infection chain commences with an incoming email that contains a Word attachment camouflaged as an invoice, court order or suchlike catchy theme. This document may include malign macros that silently execute the ransomware setup process. Alternatively, the file may be entirely benign in and of itself but will indicate a URL that the recipient is ‘strongly recommended’ to enter in their browser for details regarding the rogue subject of the email. In the latter scenario, access to the page will appear to be restricted, but that’s just a smoke screen used to obfuscate the execution of Shade’s binary.
Once deployed inside a host, the blackmail virus establishes a secret connection with its Command and Control server in order to obtain a pair of unique 256-bit AES encryption keys for every targeted file. One is used for enciphering the file’s content, and the other for encoding its filename. Additionally, all these keys are deposited into a newly created entity named key_data which, in its turn, gets encrypted with asymmetric RSA cipher. Owing to such a complex cryptographic routine consisting of multiple layers, the infection thwarts commonplace data recovery techniques. After the encryption has been performed, Troldesh concatenates the .crypted000007 extension to all of the victim’s important files. This suffix is prepended with a long file-specific string of hexadecimal characters that replaces the filename proper.
To let the prey know what’s going on, the .crypted000007 file ransomware replaces the desktop wallpaper with a warning image that contains some instructions in English and Russian. It also sprinkles a slew of rescue notes named README.txt all over the desktop and encrypted folders. The names of these multiple how-to’s additionally contain consecutive numbers before the extension, so there will be copies like README1.txt, README2.txt, etc.
According to these manuals, the victim is supposed to send their personal code to one of the following email addresses: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, or email@example.com. The criminals will supposedly reply with ‘all necessary instructions’. In case there is no response from the felons for more than 48 hours, those infected are told to use a feedback form on a Tor page indicated in the ransom notes.
In spite of the extremely strong cryptographic grip of the .crypted000007 (Shade) ransomware, there might be some chance for recovering hostage files. The remediation sections below encompass all the applicable techniques to remove this ransom Trojan and try to reinstate affected data.
.Crypted000007 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.
Shade 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 .crypted000007 file 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 .crypted000007 extension 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.
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 .crypted000007 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.