How to remove Woodrat ransomware from the operating system?

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

Woodrat ransomware removal instructions

What is the Woodrat ransomware?

Woodrat is a piece of malicious software, categorized as ransomware. Its discovery is credited to malware researcher S!Ri. Systems infected with this ransomware experience data encryption and receive ransom demands for the decryption. During the encryption process, affected files are appended with the ".woodrat" extension. For example, a file originally named something like "1.jpg" would appear as "1.jpg.woodrat" - following encryption. Once this process is complete, a ransom note titled "LOCKED_README.txt" is created.

The ransom-demanding message ("LOCKED_README.txt") reassures victims that their data has not been damaged, it was encrypted. According to the note, the only way of recovering the files is by purchasing the decryption tools from the cyber criminals behind the infection. To initiate this process, users are instructed to establish contact with the criminals via email. The letters must contain the unique ID assigned to the victims and the BIT KEY (they can be found in the "LOCKED_README.txt" file). Additionally, users must indicate the number of files Woodrat has encrypted and the encryption completion date. Decryption can be tested by attaching a limited amount of compromised files to the emails. Provided there are no more than four test files and their total size does not exceed 4MB - they will be decrypted and sent back. Victims are also informed that they have two choices, either pay the ransom straight away or wait for the cyber criminals to respond to the letters first. The size of the demanded payment depends on how much time has passed after the ransomware attack: 1-3 days - 1.5 XMR (Monero cryptocurrency), 3-7 days - 3 XMR, 30 days - 10 XMR. However, if more than a month has passed after the infection, the note states that decryption is no longer possible. At the current exchange rate, the demanded sums vary from 100 to 900 USD (note, exchange rates constantly fluctuate; hence, the conversion may no longer be accurate). Unfortunately, in most cases of ransomware infections, without interference of the cyber criminals responsible - decryption is impossible. It might be, if the malicious program is still in development and/or has significant bugs/flaws. Whatever the case, it is expressly advised against meeting the ransom demands. Since often, despite paying - users do not receive the promised decryption tools. Therefore, victims experience financial loss and their data remains encrypted. Removing Woodrat ransomware from the operating system will prevent it from further encryptions. However, removal will not restore already compromised files. The sole solution is recovering them from a backup, if one was created prior to the infection and was stored in a different location.

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

Woodrat decrypt instructions (LOCKED_README.txt)

ClhmotjdxpSANTA_CRYPTNibiruFLYU and Moss are some examples of other ransomware-type programs. They operate by encrypting data and demanding payment for the decryption tools. There are several crucial differences between these programs/infections - the cryptographic algorithms they use (symmetric or asymmetric) and the ransom size. Digital currencies (e.g. cryptocurrencies, pre-paid vouchers, etc.) are usually used, due to transactions of them being difficult/impossible to trace. To avoid permanent data loss, it is strongly recommended to keep backups in remote servers and/or unplugged storage devices (preferably, in multiple separate locations).

How did ransomware infect my computer?

Ransomware and other malware are mainly proliferated via trojans, spam campaigns, illegal activation tools ("cracks"), fake updaters and untrustworthy download channels. Trojans are malicious programs with a wide variety of functionalities that can include the ability to cause chain infections (i.e. download/install additional malware). Spam campaigns are large-scale operations, during which deceptive/scam emails are sent by the thousand. This mail contains download links of virulent files and/or the files are simply attached to the emails. Malicious files can be in various formats (e.g. archives, executables, PDF and Microsoft Office documents, JavaScript, etc.) and when they are opened - the infection chain is jumpstarted. "Cracking" tools can download/install malware, instead of activating licensed programs. Fake updaters cause infections by exploiting flaws of outdated programs and/or by installing malicious software, rather than the updates. Malware can also be inadvertently downloaded from untrustworthy sources, e.g, unofficial and free file-hosting websites, Peer-to-Peer sharing networks and other third party downloaders.

Threat Summary:
Name Woodrat virus
Threat Type Ransomware, Crypto Virus, Files locker
Encrypted Files Extension .woodrat
Ransom Demanding Message LOCKED_README.txt
Ransom Amount 1.5-10 XMR (Monero cryptocurrency)
Cyber Criminal Cryptowallet Address 41k9ry6hQUZLJJd9ZEJpPVXNuUVjRNJGkPbroMf XJVf6DsqHfJ6Sro2LHJzr6wuvXwE5kS7c9Azni2F8srmGScU5Fzu9P2C (Monero)
Cyber Criminal Contact woodratofficial@outlook.com
Detection Names Avast (Win32:Trojan-gen), BitDefender (Trojan.GenericKD.34686589), ESET-NOD32 (A Variant Of Win32/Packed.VMProtect.LL), Kaspersky (Trojan.Win32.Zudochka.eye), Full List Of Detections (VirusTotal)
Symptoms Cannot open files stored on your computer, previously functional files now have a different extension (for example, my.docx.locked). A ransom demand message is displayed on your desktop. Cyber criminals demand payment of a ransom (usually in bitcoins) to unlock your files.
Distribution methods Infected email attachments (macros), torrent websites, malicious ads.
Damage All files are encrypted and cannot be opened without paying a ransom. Additional password-stealing trojans and malware infections can be installed together with a ransomware infection.
Malware Removal (Windows)

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How to protect yourself from ransomware infections?

Dubious and/or irrelevant emails must not be opened, especially ones received from unknown/suspect senders. Any attachments or links found in this mail must never be opened - as they are the source of potential system infections. It is recommended to only use official and verified download channels. Additionally, all programs must be activated and updated with tools/functions provided by legitimate developers. Illegal activation ("cracking") tools and third party updaters are advised against use, as they commonly proliferate malware. To ensure device and user safety, it is paramount to have a dependable anti-virus/anti-spyware suite installed and kept updated. Furthermore, this software has to be used to perform regular system scans and to remove detected threats and issues. If your computer is already infected with Woodrat, we recommend running a scan with Malwarebytes for Windows to automatically eliminate this ransomware.

Text presented in Woodrat ransomware's text file ("LOCKED_README.txt"):

Ooops, all your files are encrypted, that means you can't use them for a while!!!

 

They are not perpmanently lost, for there's a special key to get them back.

 

You can try all the ways you have to decrypted your files, but it's just a waste of time,

 

eventually you will know there's no other way but to contact us for help.

 

With our help, you could get your files back within a hour, but you need to follow the instructions below :

 

[1] Send an email to the addr below :

 

woodratofficial@outlook.com

 

[2] with content of :

 

*1 your "ID" & "BIT KEY" located in "LOCKED_README.txt"

 

*2 The amount of files encrypted and the finish time(I have ways to figure out the finish time, so think twice)

 

[3] Then, there's two choices :  

 

*1 [recommended] pay us immediately, so we'll help you decrypt as soon as the payment was conformed

 

*2 wait for our reply(need a lot of time)

 

*  the first method was recommended for you have limited amount of time

 

*  if you'd like to test some files, you can send them to us via mail,but here's the limtation :

 

*  quantity <= 4 and total file size <= 4mb

 

[*] send xmr to the addr below :

 

41k9ry6hQUZLJJd9ZEJpPVXNuUVjRNJGkPbroMf XJVf6DsqHfJ6Sro2LHJzr6wuvXwE5kS7c9Azni2F8srmGScU5Fzu9P2C

 

more detail about xmr purchasing, visit hxxps://www.getmonero.org/ or just use search engine for 'buy xmr'

 

if you have future questions, it's welcome to send us a mail!


[*] here's the price, notice : you only have limited amount of time

 

=====================================================  

= encrypted in 1-3 days   - 1.5 xmr to get decrypt  =  

= encrypted in 3-7 days   - 3 xmr to get decrypt    =  

= encrypted in a month    - 10 xmr to get decrypt   =  

= encrypted over a month  - never get decrypt       =  

=====================================================

 

哎呀,你所有文件都已加密,这意味着您暂时不能使用它们!!!

 

它们不会永久丢失,因为有一个特殊的钥匙可以将它们取回。

 

您可以尝试所有方法来解密文件,但这只是浪费时间,

 

最终,您将知道别无选择,只能与我们联系以寻求帮助。

 

在我们的帮助下,您可以在一小时内取回文件,但是您需要按照以下说明进行操作:

 

[1]向下面的地址发送电子邮件:
 

 

woodratofficial@outlook.com

 

[2]的内容为:

 

* 1您的 "ID" 和 "BIT KEY"  "LOCKED_README.txt"

 

* 2加密文件的数量和完成时间(我有办法计算出完成时间,所以请三思)

 

[3]然后,有两个选择:

 

* 1 [推荐]立即付款给我们,因此我们会在付款成功后帮助您解密

 

* 2 等待我们的回复(需要很多时间)

 

* 建议您在时间有限的情况下使用第一种方法

 

* 如果您想测试某些文件,可以通过邮件将其发送给我们,但这是限制条件:

 

* 数量<= 4,文件总大小<= 4mb

 

[*] 将xmr发送到以下地址:

 

41k9ry6hQUZLJJd9ZEJpPVXNuUVjRNJGkPbroMf XJVf6DsqHfJ6Sro2LHJzr6wuvXwE5kS7c9Azni2F8srmGScU5Fzu9P2C

 

有关xmr购买的更多详细信息,请访问hxxps://www.getmonero.org/或仅将搜索引擎用于'购买xmr'

 

如果您将来有疑问,欢迎给我们发送邮件!

 

[*]这是价格,请注意:您只有有限的时间

 

====================================
= 在1-3天内加密 -1.5 xmr以获取解密 =
= 在3-7天内加密 -3 xmr以获取解密   =
= 每月加密      -10 xmr以获取解密  =
= 加密一个月    -永不解密          =
====================================
ID : -

 

========start BIT KEY========
-
========end BIT KEY========

The appearance of Woodrat ransomware's text file (GIF):

Woodrat ransomware note appearance (LOCKED_README.txt) GIF

Screenshot of files encrypted by Woodrat (".woodrat" extension):

Files encrypted by Woodrat ransomware (.woodrat extension)

Woodrat ransomware removal:

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Quick menu:

Isolating the infected device:

Some ransomware-type infections are designed to encrypt files within external storage devices, infect them, and even spread throughout the entire local network. For this reason, it is very important to isolate the infected device (computer) as soon as possible.

Step 1: Disconnect from the internet.

The easiest way to disconnect a computer from the internet is to unplug the Ethernet cable from the motherboard, however, some devices are connected via a wireless network and for some users (especially those who are not particularly tech-savvy), disconnecting cables may seem troublesome. Therefore, you can also disconnect the system manually via Control Panel:

Navigate to the "Control Panel", click the search bar in the upper-right corner of the screen, enter "Network and Sharing Center" and select search result: Disconnecting computer from the Internet (step 1)

Click the "Change adapter settings" option in the upper-left corner of the window: Disconnecting computer from the Internet (step 2)

Right-click on each connection point and select "Disable". Once disabled, the system will no longer be connected to the internet. To re-enable the connection points, simply right-click again and select "Enable". Disconnecting computer from the Internet (step 3)

Step 2: Unplug all storage devices.

As mentioned above, ransomware might encrypt data and infiltrate all storage devices that are connected to the computer. For this reason, all external storage devices (flash drives, portable hard drives, etc.) should be disconnected immediately, however, we strongly advise you to eject each device before disconnecting to prevent data corruption:

Navigate to "My Computer", right-click on each connected device and select "Eject": Ejecting external storage devices

Step 3: Log-out of cloud storage accounts.

Some ransomware-type might be able to hijack software that handles data stored within "the Cloud". Therefore, the data could be corrupted/encrypted. For this reason, you should log-out of all cloud storage accounts within browsers and other related software. You should also consider temporarily uninstalling the cloud-management software until the infection is completely removed.

Identify the ransomware infection:

To properly handle an infection, one must first identify it. Some ransomware infections use ransom-demand messages as an introduction (see the WALDO ransomware text file below).

Identify ransomware-type infection (step 1)

This, however, is rare. In most cases, ransomware infections deliver more direct messages simply stating that data is encrypted and that victims must pay some sort of ransom. Note that ransomware-type infections typically generate messages with different file names (for example, "_readme.txt", "READ-ME.txt", "DECRYPTION_INSTRUCTIONS.txt", "DECRYPT_FILES.html", etc.). Therefore, using the name of a ransom message may seem like a good way to identify the infection. The problem is that most of these names are generic and some infections use the same names, even though the delivered messages are different and the infections themselves are unrelated. Therefore, using the message filename alone can be ineffective and even lead to permanent data loss (for example, by attempting to decrypt data using tools designed for different ransomware infections, users are likely to end up permanently damaging files and decryption will no longer be possible even with the correct tool).

Another way to identify a ransomware infection is to check the file extension, which is appended to each encrypted file. Ransomware infections are often named by the extensions they append (see files encrypted by Qewe ransomware below).

Identify ransomware-type infection (step 2)

This method is only effective, however, when the appended extension is unique - many ransomware infections append a generic extension (for example, ".encrypted", ".enc", ".crypted", ".locked", etc.). In these cases, identifying ransomware by its appended extension becomes impossible.

One of the easiest and quickest ways to identify a ransomware infection is to use the ID Ransomware website. This service supports most existing ransomware infections. Victims simply upload a ransom message and/or one encrypted file (we advise you to upload both if possible).

Identify ransomware-type infection (step 3)

The ransomware will be identified within seconds and you will be provided with various details, such as the name of the malware family to which the infection belongs, whether it is decryptable, and so on.

Example 1 (Qewe [Stop/Djvu] ransomware):

Identify ransomware-type infection (step 4)

Example 2 (.iso [Phobos] ransomware):

Identify ransomware-type infection (step 5)

If your data happens to be encrypted by a ransomware that is not supported by ID Ransomware, you can always try searching the internet by using certain keywords (for example, ransom message title, file extension, provided contact emails, cryptowallet addresses, etc.).

Search for ransomware decryption tools:

Encryption algorithms used by most ransomware-type infections are extremely sophisticated and, if the encryption is performed properly, only the developer is capable of restoring data. This is because decryption requires a specific key, which is generated during the encryption. Restoring data without the key is impossible. In most cases, cyber criminals store keys on a remote server, rather than using the infected machine as a host. Dharma (CrySis), Phobos, and other families of high-end ransomware infections are virtually flawless, and thus restoring data encrypted without the developers' involvement is simply impossible. Despite this, there are dozens of ransomware-type infections that are poorly developed and contain a number of flaws (for example, the use of identical encryption/decryption keys for each victim, keys stored locally, etc.). Therefore, always check for available decryption tools for any ransomware that infiltrates your computer.

Finding the correct decryption tool on the internet can be very frustrating. For this reason, we recommend that you use the No More Ransom Project and this is where identifying the ransomware infection is useful. The No More Ransom Project website contains a "Decryption Tools" section with a search bar. Enter the name of the identified ransomware, and all available decryptors (if there are any) will be listed.

Searching for ransomware decryption tools in nomoreransom.org website

Restore files with data recovery tools:

Depending on the situation (quality of ransomware infection, type of encryption algorithm used, etc.), restoring data with certain third-party tools might be possible. Therefore, we advise you to use EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard Pro. This tool supports over a thousand data types (graphics, video, audio, documents, etc.) and it is very intuitive (little knowledge is necessary to recover data).

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EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard Pro

By downloading any software listed on this website you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. Trial version of EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard Pro is capable of scanning drives and listing recoverable files - to restore them, you must purchase a license.

Step 1: Perform a scan.

Hover your mouse over the partition you wish to scan and select "Scan". You can also select a specific folder, or click shortcut icons to scan the Desktop or Recycle Bin: Scanning the storage drive with EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard PRO (step 1)

Wait for EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard Pro to complete the scan. The scanning duration depends on the volume of files (both in quantity and size) that you are scanning (for example, several hundreds gigabytes could take over an hour to scan). Therefore, be patient during the scanning process. We also advise against modifying or deleting existing files, since this might interfere with the scan. If you add additional data (for example, downloading files/content) while scanning, this will prolong the process: Scanning the storage drive with EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard PRO (step 2)

Step 2: Recover data.

Once the process is complete, select the folders/files you wish to restore and simply click "Recover". Note that some free space on your storage drive is necessary to restore data. Note also that the trial version of EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard Pro is only capable of scanning drives and listing recoverable files - to restore them, you must purchase a license: Recovering data with EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard Pro

Step 3: Save the scan session (optional).

We recommend that you save the scanning session once you have completed recovery, in case you decide to recover additional files later. Simply click the "Save Scan Session" icon in the upper-right corner of the screen and choose the location for the file to be saved. This will save a lot of time, since you will not need to re-scan the storage drive the next time you wish to restore something. Bear in mind, however, that data removed after the scanning session has finished will not be listed: Saving scan session in EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard Pro

Create data backups:

Proper file management and creating backups is essential for data security. Therefore, always be very careful and think ahead.

Partition management: We recommend that you store your data in multiple partitions and avoid storing important files within the partition that contains the entire operating system. If you fall into a situation whereby you cannot boot the system and are forced to format the disk on which the operating system is installed (in most cases, this is where malware infections hide), you will lose all data stored within that drive. This is the advantage of having multiple partitions: if you have the entire storage device assigned to a single partition, you will be forced to delete everything, however, creating multiple partitions and allocating the data properly allows you to prevent such problems. You can easily format a single partition without affecting the others - therefore, one will be cleaned and the others will remain untouched, and your data will be saved. Managing partitions is quite simple and you can find all necessary information on Microsoft's documentation web page.

Data backups: The most reliable backup method is to use an external storage device and keep it unplugged. Copy your data to an external hard drive, flash (thumb) drive, SSD, HDD, or any other storage device, unplug it and store it in a dry place away from sun and extreme temperatures. This method is, however, quite inefficient, since data backups and updates need to be made regularly. You can also use a cloud service or remote server. Here, an internet connection is required and there is always the chance of a security breach. Therefore, you should consider using an application to create data backups locally.

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EaseUS Todo Backup

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We recommend using the EaseUS Todo Backup application. The "Home" edition of EaseUS Todo Backup is usually more than adequate for regular users, however, the "Business" edition is more suitable for companies and large computer networks. The EaseUS Todo Backup application provides extensive data protection features. You can easily create backups, and encrypt and compress them for enhanced protection and storage saving purposes. It also allows you to set backup schedules, create bootable devices, and restore the system if a crash occurs. You can easily choose where to store the created backup: locally; uploaded to an external drive; FTP; cloud storage, or elsewhere. In summary, EaseUS Todo Backup is an all-in-one tool, which provides all features required to properly backup your data.

Creating a data backup:

The backup process is virtually identical regardless of the item (file, partition, entire system) you wish to backup. Taking the File Backup feature as an example:

Step 1: Choose which item to backup.

Click on the "Menu" icon in the upper-left corner of the screen to reveal the menu and select "File Backup": Creating data backups with EaseUS Todo Backup tool (step 1)

Select the files you want to backup. You can also enter a name and description of the backup that will be created: Creating data backups with EaseUS Todo Backup tool (step 2)

Step 2: Change the default settings.

The EaseUS Todo Backup application provides a variety of additional options that can be added/modified while creating the backup. For example, you can encrypt data (add a password), select the compression rate (how much the backup should be compressed), performance (how many system resources should be allocated), add an email notification (you receive an email once the process is complete) and so on.

To open the options window, click the "Backup options" button in the lower-left corner of the screen: Creating data backups with EaseUS Todo Backup tool (step 3)

Select the settings you want to change and click "Save". You can also reset your changes by clicking "Reset to initial settings": Creating data backups with EaseUS Todo Backup tool (step 4)

Step 3: Select the backup destination.

As mentioned above, EaseUS Todo Backup allows you to choose where backups are saved - locally or externally.

Click the "Browse..." button and select the location you want the backup to be saved: Creating data backups with EaseUS Todo Backup tool (step 5)

Step 4: Safety measures and process completion.

Depending on the location you have chosen, there are a number of measures you should or should not take. If you are uploading to an internet-connected location (for example, Cloud storage, FTP, etc.), be sure to maintain your internet connection, otherwise you will have to start again. The same applies to external storage devices - do not unplug them until the process is complete.

The progress bar displays estimated time remaining until completion. Large backups (hundreds of gigabytes) can take hours to create (depending on storage device speed, internet connection, etc.). Therefore, the application also allows you to optionally choose what the system should do (shut down, sleep or hibernate) once the process has finished: Creating data backups with EaseUS Todo Backup tool (step 6)

The best way to avoid damage from ransomware infections is to maintain regular up-to-date backups.

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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