Xwx Ransomware

Also Known As: Xwx virus
Distribution: Low
Damage level: Severe

Xwx ransomware removal instructions

What is Xwx?

Xwx is a ransomware-type malicious program, a high-risk computer infection discovered by Jakub Kroustek. This program is a new variant of Dharma ransomware and, like most infections of this type, is designed to prevent victims from accessing their files by encryption. All data becomes unusable unless a decryption tool is purchased (a ransom is paid). Xwx renames every encrypted file by adding the ".xwx" extension (plus a unique victim ID and the ransomware developer's email address). For example: "1.jpg" might look something like "1.jpg.id-1E857D00.[data@decoding.biz].xwx". Xwx also generates a text file called "FILES ENCRYPTED.txt" and opens a pop-up window containing a ransom message.

The text file contains email addresses (data@decoding.biz or dta@cock.li) to contact Xwx ransomware developers to receive the decryption tool. The ransom message in the pop-up window states that all files were encrypted and users with infected computers by Xwx must send an email to one of the aforementioned addresses with the assigned unique ID. They claim that the quicker they are contacted, the lower the cost of the decryption tool. When contacted, they will provide a Bitcoin wallet address for transfer of a ransom sum in a cryptocurrency - this, in exchange for the decryption tool. Before paying, and as a 'guarantee' that they can be trusted, they allow victims to send one file for free decryption. Xwx's developers also warn people that any attempts to decrypt data using other tools might cause permanent data loss or increase the cost of decryption. They also stipulate that encrypted files should not be renamed. Do not trust any cyber criminals (including ransomware developers). They usually ignore victims once they receive the cryptocurrency ransom payment. They send no tools required for decryption even if their demands are met. Unfortunately, they generally use encryption algorithms that cannot be 'cracked' without specific tools/keys. Cyber criminals use cryptographies (symmetric or asymmetric) that generate unique keys and, therefore, only their tools/keys allow successful decryption. They store these keys on remote servers accessible only to them. There are no tools capable of decrypting Xwx encryption free of charge. Therefore, the best (free) option is to use an existing data backup and restore files from there.

Screenshot of a message encouraging users to pay a ransom to decrypt their compromised data:

Xwx decrypt instructions

Xwx, Dcrtr-Crypt, LoryEstside, AUF, and many other ransomware-type infections are very similar: they encrypt data and allow developers to make ransom demands. The only main differences are cost of tool required for decryption and cryptography algorithm used to encrypt data. Unfortunately, most encryptions cannot be 'cracked' without the involvement of cyber criminals (particularly, ransomware developers). Decryption is possible only if ransomware is not fully developed or contains bugs/flaws. Therefore, we advise you to create regular backups and store them on remote servers or unplugged storage devices. If not, these malicious programs encrypt backups together with other data.

How did ransomware infect my computer?

Cyber criminals commonly proliferate ransomware using software cracking tools, spam email campaigns, trojans, fake software updaters and untrustworthy software download sources. People use software cracking tools to bypass activation of various paid software, however, cyber criminals also use them to proliferate computer infections. In summary, rather than cracking software, users end up downloading and installing ransomware or other malicious programs. Spam campaigns proliferate computer infections through malicious attachments (or links). Cyber criminals send emails that contain attachments or web links, and, once opened, they infect computers with malware. Presented attachments often are Microsoft Office documents (Word, Excel etc), executable files (.exe), archive files (RAR and similar), PDF files, and so on. To cause any damage, Trojans must first be installed. They then cause chain infections by proliferating other malicious programs. Fake, unofficial software updaters usually infect systems by exploiting outdated software bugs/flaws or simply by downloading malware rather than the promised updates. Various dubious software download sources proliferate ransomware and other infections. Some examples of such tools are peer-to-peer networks (such as torrents, eMule), freeware download websites, free file hosting websites, third party downloaders, and so on. Using these sources, people risk download and installation of malicious programs rather than legitimate software.

How to protect yourself from ransomware infections?

Browse the web, download, install, and update software with care. Ignore emails that include various attachments (or website links) received from unknown, suspicious addresses. If the email is irrelevant or you are not sure if it is safe to open the attachment, simply ignore it. Do not download/install software using third party downloaders/installers or use dubious sources to download your software. Often they are monetized by promoting deceptive, rogue applications. These apps might cause computer infections or lead to them. The best way to download software is using official and trustworthy sources, and direct links. Update your software correctly with legitimate tools or implemented functions provided by official software developers - this does not include third party updaters. Do not use software cracking tools, since these proliferate computer infections. Furthermore, using 'cracks' is classed as cyber crime. Have reputable anti-virus/anti-spyware software installed and enabled at all times. This can detect and stop viruses before they can do any damage. If your computer is already infected with Xwx, we recommend running a scan with Spyhunter for Windows to automatically eliminate this ransomware.

Text presented in Xwx ransomware pop-up window:

All your files have been encrypted!
All your files have been encrypted due to a security problem with your PC. If you want to restore them, write us to the e-mail data@decoding.biz
Write this ID in the title of your message 1E857D00
In case of no answer in 24 hours write us to theese e-mails:dta@cock.li
You have to pay for decryption in Bitcoins. The price depends on how fast you write to us. After payment we will send you the decryption tool that will decrypt all your files.
Free decryption as guarantee
Before paying you can send us up to 1 file for free decryption. The total size of files must be less than 1Mb (non archived), and files should not contain valuable information. (databases,backups, large excel sheets, etc.)
How to obtain Bitcoins
The easiest way to buy bitcoins is LocalBitcoins site. You have to register, click 'Buy bitcoins', and select the seller by payment method and price.
https://localbitcoins.com/buy_bitcoins
Also you can find other places to buy Bitcoins and beginners guide here:
http://www.coindesk.com/information/how-can-i-buy-bitcoins/
Attention!
Do not rename encrypted files.
Do not try to decrypt your data using third party software, it may cause permanent data loss.
Decryption of your files with the help of third parties may cause increased price (they add their fee to our) or you can become a victim of a scam.

Screenshot of Xwx text file ("FILES ENCRYPTED.txt"):

Xwx text file

Text presented in Xwx text file:

all your data has been locked us
You want to return?
write email data@decoding.biz or dta@cock.li

Screenshot of files encrypted by Xwx (".xwx" extension, including unique ID and developer's email):

Files encrypted by Xwx

Xwx ransomware removal:

Instant automatic removal of Xwx 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 Xwx 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":

Windows 10 users: Click the Windows logo and select the Power icon. In the opened menu click "Restart" while holding "Shift" button on your keyboard. In the "choose an option" window click on the "Troubleshoot", next select "Advanced options". In the advanced options menu select "Startup Settings" and click on the "Restart" button. In the following window you should click the "F5" button on your keyboard. This will restart your operating system in safe mode with networking.

windows 10 safe mode with networking

Video showing how to start Windows 10 in "Safe Mode with Networking":

Step 2

Log in to the account infected with the Xwx 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 Xwx 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 Xwx 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 Xwx 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 Xwx, 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 encryption ransomware such as this, use reputable antivirus and anti-spyware programs. As an extra protection method, you can use programs called HitmanPro.Alert and EasySync CryptoMonitor, which artificially implant group policy objects into the registry to block rogue programs such as Xwx ransomware.

Note that Windows 10 Fall Creators Update includes a "Controlled Folder Access" feature that blocks ransomware attempts to encrypt your files. By default, this feature automatically protects files stored in the Documents, Pictures, Videos, Music, Favorites as well as Desktop folders.

Controll Folder Access

Windows 10 users should install this update to protect their data from ransomware attacks. Here is more information on how to get this update and add an additional protection layer from ransomware infections.

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 Xwx ransomware: