Zepto Ransomware

Also Known As: Zepto virus
Distribution: Low
Damage level: Medium

Zepto ransomware removal instructions

What is Zepto?

Zepto is a ransomware-type virus almost identical to Locky. Cyber criminals proliferate this malware using malicious Zip archives and .docm (MS Word) files attached to spam email messages. The Zip archive contains a Javascript file (which appears similar to a text document). Once executed, it downloads the ransomware as a Windows executable (.exe) file and runs it. The extension .docm means "document with macros", however, it only runs if the victim enables macros within MS Word (these are disabled by default). The macro will carry out the same actions - download a malicious executable and run it. After system infiltration, Zepto encrypts various files using asymmetric cryptography.

All encrypted files are renamed using the following format: "[8_digit_hexadecimal_number]-[4_digit_hexadecimal_number]-[4_digit_hexadecimal_number]-[4_digit_hexadecimal_number]-[12_digit_hexadecimal_number].zepto". For example, "sample.jpg" could be renamed to "FA3D5195-3FE9-1DBC-7E8D-D6F39B86044A.zepto". Following successful encryption, Zepto generates a BMP file ("_HELP_Instructions.bmp", also set as the desktop wallpaper) and a HTML file ("_HELP_instructions.html", placed on the desktop). Both files contain an identical message informing users of the encryption. As mentioned previously, Zepto uses an asymmetric encryption algorithm and, thus, public (encryption) and private (decryption) keys are generated during the encryption process. The private key is stored on remote servers controlled by cyber criminals. Since decryption without this key is impossible, cyber criminals attempt to sell a decryption tool with an embedded private key. The size of the ransom is .5 Bitcoin (currently, 1 BTC costs ~$653.96). Payment instructions are provided within the Tor network URL address provided. This URL leads to a site identical to Locky's. Research shows that most cyber criminals ignore victims, despite payments made. There is a high probability that paying will not deliver any positive result. Therefore, we strongly advise you to ignore all requests to pay and/or contact these people. Unfortunately, there are currently no tools capable of decrypting files compromised by Zepto ransomware - the only solution is to restore your system/files from a backup.

Screenshot of a message encouraging users to contact the developers of Zepto ransomware to decrypt their compromised data:

Zepto decrypt instructions

Locky is not the only malware that shares similarities with Zepto. There are hundreds of other ransomware-type viruses with very similar behavior. Examples include CryptoWall, Cerber, Unlock92, and CTB-Locker. There is only one major difference between these viruses: the size of ransom. Most ransomware is distributed using peer-to-peer (P2P) networks (such as, Torrent), malicious email attachments (for example, fake job application forms), fake software update tools, and trojans. The key to computer safety is caution. Use a legitimate anti-virus/anti-spyware suite and keep your installed applications up-to-date. Furthermore, never open attachments sent from suspicious and/or unrecognized email addresses. If possible, download your desired files/software from trusted sources (such as, official download websites). Ransomware-type viruses present a strong case to maintain regular backups of your stored data.

Screenshot of Zepto HTML file:

Zepto ransomware HTML file

Screenshot of Zepto BMP file:

Zepto ransomware BMP file

Ransom demand message:

*+_+~~-+~=~*$$-

!!! IMPORTANT INFORMATION !!!!

All of your files are encrypted with RSA-2048 and AES-128 ciphers.
More information about the RSA and AES can be found here:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RSA_(cryptosystem)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Advanced_Encryption_Standard

Decrypting of your files is only possible with the private key and decrypt program, which is on our secret server.
To receive your private key follow one of the links:
1. http://25z5g623wpqpdwis.tor2web.org
2. http://25z5g623wpqpdwis.onion.to

If all of this addresses are not available, follow these steps:
1. Download and install Tor Browser: https://www.torproject.org/download/download-easy.html
2. After a successful installation, run the browser and wait for initialization.
3. Type in the address bar: 25z5g623wpqpdwis.onion/
4. Follow the instructions on the site.

!!! Your personal identification ID: - !!!

+$.+~-=*-.*.~.
=|++~--~=$_-|_
=$..

Screenshot of Zepto (Locky) Tor-based website:

Zepto ransomware website (identical to Locky's)

Samples of spam email messages spreading Zepto ransomware:

Email distributing Zepto (sample 1) Email distributing Zepto (sample 2)

Zepto ransomware removal:

Instant automatic removal of Zepto virus: Manual threat removal might be a lengthy and complicated process that requires advanced computer skills. Spyhunter is a professional automatic malware removal tool that is recommended to get rid of Zepto virus. Download it by clicking the button below:
▼ DOWNLOAD Spyhunter By downloading any software listed on this website you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. Free scanner checks if your computer is infected. To remove malware, you have to purchase the full version of Spyhunter.

Quick menu:

Step 1

Windows XP and Windows 7 users: Start your computer in Safe Mode. Click Start, click Shut Down, click Restart, click OK. During your computer start process, press the F8 key on your keyboard multiple times until you see the Windows Advanced Option menu, and then select Safe Mode with Networking from the list.

Safe Mode with Networking

Video showing how to start Windows 7 in "Safe Mode with Networking":

Windows 8 users: Start Windows 8 is Safe Mode with Networking - Go to Windows 8 Start Screen, type Advanced, in the search results select Settings. Click Advanced startup options, in the opened "General PC Settings" window, select Advanced startup. Click the "Restart now" button. Your computer will now restart into the "Advanced Startup options menu". Click the "Troubleshoot" button, and then click the "Advanced options" button. In the advanced option screen, click "Startup settings". Click the "Restart" button. Your PC will restart into the Startup Settings screen. Press F5 to boot in Safe Mode with Networking.

Windows 8 Safe Mode with networking

Video showing how to start Windows 8 in "Safe Mode with Networking":

Step 2

Log in to the account infected with the Zepto virus. Start your Internet browser and download a legitimate anti-spyware program. Update the anti-spyware software and start a full system scan. Remove all entries detected.

If you cannot start your computer in Safe Mode with Networking, try performing a System Restore.

Video showing how to remove ransomware virus using "Safe Mode with Command Prompt" and "System Restore":

1. During your computer start process, press the F8 key on your keyboard multiple times until the Windows Advanced Options menu appears, and then select Safe Mode with Command Prompt from the list and press ENTER.

Boot your computer in Safe Mode with Command Prompt

2. When Command Prompt mode loads, enter the following line: cd restore and press ENTER.

system restore using command prompt type cd restore

3. Next, type this line: rstrui.exe and press ENTER.

system restore using command prompt rstrui.exe

4. In the opened window, click "Next".

restore system files and settings

5. Select one of the available Restore Points and click "Next" (this will restore your computer system to an earlier time and date, prior to the Zepto ransomware virus infiltrating your PC).

select a restore point

6. In the opened window, click "Yes".

run system restore

7. After restoring your computer to a previous date, download and scan your PC with recommended malware removal software to eliminate any remaining Zepto ransomware files.

To restore individual files encrypted by this ransomware, try using Windows Previous Versions feature. This method is only effective if the System Restore function was enabled on an infected operating system. Note that some variants of Zepto are known to remove Shadow Volume Copies of the files, so this method may not work on all computers.

To restore a file, right-click over it, go into Properties, and select the Previous Versions tab. If the relevant file has a Restore Point, select it and click the "Restore" button.

Restoring files encrypted by CryptoDefense

If you cannot start your computer in Safe Mode with Networking (or with Command Prompt), boot your computer using a rescue disk. Some variants of ransomware disable Safe Mode making its removal complicated. For this step, you require access to another computer.

To regain control of the files encrypted by Zepto, you can also try using a program called Shadow Explorer. More information on how to use this program is available here.

shadow explorer screenshot

To protect your computer from file encrypting ransomware such as this, use reputable antivirus and anti-spyware programs. As an extra protection method, you can use programs called HitmanPro.Alert and Malwarebytes Anti-Ransomware, which artificially implant group policy objects into the registry to block rogue programs such as Zepto ransomware.)

HitmanPro.Alert CryptoGuard - detects encryption of files and neutralises any attempts without need for user intervention:

hitmanproalert ransomware prevention application

Malwarebytes Anti-Ransomware Beta uses advanced proactive technology that monitors ransomware activity and terminates it immediately - before reaching users' files:

malwarebytes anti-ransomware

  • The best way to avoid damage from ransomware infections is to maintain regular up-to-date backups. More information on online backup solutions and data recovery software Here.

Other tools known to remove Zepto ransomware:

About the author:

Tomas Meskauskas

Tomas Meskauskas - expert security researcher, professional malware analyst.

I am passionate about computer security and technology. I have an experience of over 10 years working in various companies related to computer technical issue solving and Internet security. I have been working as an author and editor for pcrisk.com since 2010. Follow me on Twitter and LinkedIn to stay informed about the latest online security threats. Contact Tomas Meskauskas.

PCrisk security portal is brought by a company RCS LT. Joined forces of security researchers help educate computer users about the latest online security threats. More information about the company RCS LT.

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Removal Instructions in other languages
Malware activity

Global virus and spyware activity level today:

Medium threat activity
Medium

Increased attack rate of infections detected within the last 24 hours.

QR Code
Zepto virus QR code
A QR code (Quick Response Code) is a machine-readable code which stores URLs and other information. This code can be read using a camera on a smartphone or a tablet. Scan this QR code to have an easy access removal guide of Zepto virus on your mobile device.
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Platform: Windows

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