What kind of malware is LockBit 3.0?
LockBit 3.0 (also known as LockBit Black) is a new variant of the LockBit ransomware. It encrypts files, modifies their filenames, changes the desktop wallpaper, and drops a text file (named "[random_string].README.txt") on the desktop. LockBit 3.0 replaces the name of the file and its extension with random dynamic and static strings.
An example of how LockBit 3.0 renames files: it replaces "1.jpg" with "CDtU3Eq.HLJkNskOq", "2.png" with "PLikeDC.HLJkNskOq", "3.exe" with "qwYkH3L.HLJkNskOq", and so forth.
Screenshot of files encrypted by this ransomware:
LockBit 3.0 ransom note overview
The ransom note states that data is stolen and encrypted. If victims do not pay the ransom, the data will be published on the darknet (on a Tor website). It instructs to contact the attackers using the provided websites and personal ID. Also, the ransom note warns that deleting or modifying encrypted files will lead to problems with their decryption.
More details about ransomware
Typically, victims of ransomware attacks cannot recover files without paying a ransom unless they have a data backup or a third-party decryption tool is available online. Paying a ransom is not recommended - threat actors may never provide a decryption tool (even if their demands are met/the ransom is paid).
It is also recommended to remove ransomware from the infected computer as soon as possible. Removing ransomware prevents it from encrypting more (new) files and files stored on computers connected to a local network.
Ransomware in general
Cybercriminals use ransomware for money extortion. Malware of this type usually encrypts and renames files and provides a ransom note. The main differences between ransomware attacks are the prices of decryption tools, cryptographic algorithms (symmetric or asymmetric) used to encrypt files, and extensions appended to filenames.
How did ransomware infect my computer?
Users infect computers with ransomware after downloading and executing such malware by themselves. Most threat actors use emails, cracked/pirated software distribution pages, and other untrustworthy sources for downloading files/software to distribute ransomware. They also use Trojans and fake updaters/installers.
Emails used to deliver ransomware (or other malware) contain malicious attachments or links. Usually, such emails are disguised as letters from legitimate companies or other entities. Examples of unreliable sources for downloading files/programs are P2P networks, third-party downloaders, deceptive pages, and free file hosting pages.
|Name||LockBit 3.0 virus|
|Threat Type||Ransomware, Crypto Virus, Files locker|
|Encrypted Files Extension||Randomly generated extension|
|Ransom Demanding Message||[random_string].README.txt|
|Free Decryptor Available?||No|
|Cyber Criminal Contact||Chat on the provided websites|
|Detection Names||Avast (Win32:CrypterX-gen [Trj]), Combo Cleaner (Gen:Trojan.Heur.UT.kuW@aG4Vbyc), Emsisoft (Gen:Trojan.Heur.UT.kuW@aG4Vbyc (B)), Kaspersky (UDS:Trojan.Multi.GenericML.xnet), Microsoft (Trojan:Win32/Casdet!rfn), 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.|
|Additional Information||Lockbit 3.0 is also known as LockBit Black. It is a new variant of the LockBit ransomware.|
|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)||
To eliminate possible malware infections, scan your computer with legitimate antivirus software. Our security researchers recommend using Combo Cleaner.
How to protect yourself from ransomware infections?
Note that irrelevant emails received from unknown addresses are usually contain malicious attachments or links. Thus, opening them can cause computer infections. Download software from official websites and use direct links. It is not safe to use other sources (examples are provided in the previous section).
Keep the operating system and installed programs updated. Use tools provided by the official software developers to update (and activate) the software. Use reputable antivirus software for computer protection.
If your computer is already infected with LockBit 3.0, we recommend running a scan with Combo Cleaner Antivirus for Windows to automatically eliminate this ransomware.
The appearance of the ransom note generated by LockBit 3.0 ransomware (GIF):
Text in the ransom note:
~~~ LockBit 3.0 the world's fastest and most stable ransomware from 2019~~~
>>>>> Your data is stolen and encrypted.
If you don't pay the ransom, the data will be published on our TOR darknet sites. Keep in mind that once your data appears on our leak site, it could be bought by your competitors at any second, so don't hesitate for a long time. The sooner you pay the ransom, the sooner your company will be safe.
Tor Browser Links:
Links for normal browser:
>>>>> What guarantee is there that we won't cheat you?
We are the oldest ransomware affiliate program on the planet, nothing is more important than our reputation. We are not a politically motivated group and we want nothing more than money. If you pay, we will provide you with decryption software and destroy the stolen data. After you pay the ransom, you will quickly make even more money. Treat this situation simply as a paid training for your system administrators, because it is due to your corporate network not being properly configured that we were able to attack you. Our pentest services should be paid just like you pay the salaries of your system administrators. Get over it and pay for it. If we don't give you a decryptor or delete your data after you pay, no one will pay us in the future. You can get more information about us on Ilon Musk's Twitter hxxps://twitter.com/hashtag/lockbit?f=live
>>>>> You need to contact us and decrypt one file for free on TOR darknet sites with your personal ID
Download and install Tor Browser hxxps://www.torproject.org/
Write to the chat room and wait for an answer, we'll guarantee a response from you. If you need a unique ID for correspondence with us that no one will know about, tell it in the chat, we will generate a secret chat for you and give you his ID via private one-time memos service, no one can find out this ID but you. Sometimes you will have to wait some time for our reply, this is because we have a lot of work and we attack hundreds of companies around the world.
Tor Browser Links for chat:
>>>>> Your personal ID: - <<<<<
>>>>> Warning! Do not delete or modify encrypted files, it will lead to problems with decryption of files!
>>>>> Don't go to the police or the FBI for help and don't tell anyone that we attacked you.
They won't help and will only make things worse for you. In 3 years not a single member of our group has been caught by the police, we are top notch hackers and we never leave a trail of crime. The police will try to prohibit you from paying the ransom in any way. The first thing they will tell you is that there is no guarantee to decrypt your files and remove stolen files, this is not true, we can do a test decryption before paying and your data will be guaranteed to be removed because it is a matter of our reputation, we make hundreds of millions of dollars and are not going to lose our revenue because of your files. It is very beneficial for the police and FBI to let everyone on the planet know about your data leak because then your state will get the fines budgeted for you due to GDPR and other similar laws. The fines will be used to fund the police and the FBI, they will eat more sweet coffee donuts and get fatter and fatter. The police and the FBI don't care what losses you suffer as a result of our attack, and we will help you get rid of all your problems for a modest sum of money. Along with this you should know that it is not necessarily your company that has to pay the ransom and not necessarily from your bank account, it can be done by an unidentified person, such as any philanthropist who loves your company, for example, Elon Musk, so the police will not do anything to you if someone pays the ransom for you. If you're worried that someone will trace your bank transfers, you can easily buy cryptocurrency for cash, thus leaving no digital trail that someone from your company paid our ransom. The police and FBI will not be able to stop lawsuits from your customers for leaking personal and private information. The police and FBI will not protect you from repeated attacks. Paying the ransom to us is much cheaper and more profitable than paying fines and legal fees.
>>>>> What are the dangers of leaking your company's data.
First of all, you will receive fines from the government such as the GDRP and many others, you can be sued by customers of your firm for leaking information that was confidential. Your leaked data will be used by all the hackers on the planet for various unpleasant things. For example, social engineering, your employees' personal data can be used to re-infiltrate your company. Bank details and passports can be used to create bank accounts and online wallets through which criminal money will be laundered. On another vacation trip, you will have to explain to the FBI where you got millions of dollars worth of stolen cryptocurrency transferred through your accounts on cryptocurrency exchanges. Your personal information could be used to make loans or buy appliances. You would later have to prove in court that it wasn't you who took out the loan and pay off someone else's loan. Your competitors may use the stolen information to steal technology or to improve their processes, your working methods, suppliers, investors, sponsors, employees, it will all be in the public domain. You won't be happy if your competitors lure your employees to other firms offering better wages, will you? Your competitors will use your information against you. For example, look for tax violations in the financial documents or any other violations, so you have to close your firm. According to statistics, two thirds of small and medium-sized companies close within half a year after a data breach. You will have to find and fix the vulnerabilities in your network, work with the customers affected by data leaks. All of these are very costly procedures that can exceed the cost of a ransomware buyout by a factor of hundreds. It's much easier, cheaper and faster to pay us the ransom. Well and most importantly, you will suffer a reputational loss, you have been building your company for many years, and now your reputation will be destroyed.
Read more about the GDRP legislation::
>>>>> Don't go to recovery companies, they are essentially just middlemen who will make money off you and cheat you.
We are well aware of cases where recovery companies tell you that the ransom price is 5 million dollars, but in fact they secretly negotiate with us for 1 million dollars, so they earn 4 million dollars from you. If you approached us directly without intermediaries you would pay 5 times less, that is 1 million dollars.
>>>> Very important! For those who have cyber insurance against ransomware attacks.
Insurance companies require you to keep your insurance information secret, this is to never pay the maximum amount specified in the contract or to pay nothing at all, disrupting negotiations. The insurance company will try to derail negotiations in any way they can so that they can later argue that you will be denied coverage because your insurance does not cover the ransom amount. For example your company is insured for 10 million dollars, while negotiating with your insurance agent about the ransom he will offer us the lowest possible amount, for example 100 thousand dollars, we will refuse the paltry amount and ask for example the amount of 15 million dollars, the insurance agent will never offer us the top threshold of your insurance of 10 million dollars. He will do anything to derail negotiations and refuse to pay us out completely and leave you alone with your problem. If you told us anonymously that your company was insured for $10 million and other important details regarding insurance coverage, we would not demand more than $10 million in correspondence with the insurance agent. That way you would have avoided a leak and decrypted your information. But since the sneaky insurance agent purposely negotiates so as not to pay for the insurance claim, only the insurance company wins in this situation. To avoid all this and get the money on the insurance, be sure to inform us anonymously about the availability and terms of insurance coverage, it benefits both you and us, but it does not benefit the insurance company. Poor multimillionaire insurers will not starve and will not become poorer from the payment of the maximum amount specified in the contract, because everyone knows that the contract is more expensive than money, so let them fulfill the conditions prescribed in your insurance contract, thanks to our interaction.
>>>>> If you do not pay the ransom, we will attack your company again in the future.
Screenshot of LockBit 3.0's desktop wallpaper:
Screenshot of LockBit 3.0's data leaking website:
Screenshot of the chat on the Tor website:
Video showing how to remove LockBit 3.0 ransomware using Combo Cleaner:
LockBit 3.0 ransomware removal:
Instant automatic malware removal:
Manual threat removal might be a lengthy and complicated process that requires advanced computer skills. Combo Cleaner is a professional automatic malware removal tool that is recommended to get rid of malware. Download it by clicking the button below:
Video suggesting what steps should be taken in case of a ransomware infection:
- What is LockBit 3.0 virus?
- STEP 1. Reporting ransomware to authorities.
- STEP 2. Isolating the infected device.
- STEP 3. Identifying the ransomware infection.
- STEP 4. Searching for ransomware decryption tools.
- STEP 5. Restoring files with data recovery tools.
- STEP 6. Creating data backups.
If you are a victim of a ransomware attack we recommend reporting this incident to authorities. By providing information to law enforcement agencies you will help track cybercrime and potentially assist in the prosecution of the attackers. Here's a list of authorities where you should report a ransomware attack. For the complete list of local cybersecurity centers and information on why you should report ransomware attacks, read this article.
List of local authorities where ransomware attacks should be reported (choose one depending on your residence address):
- USA - Internet Crime Complaint Centre IC3
- United Kingdom - Action Fraud
- Spain - Policía Nacional
- France - Ministère de l'Intérieur
- Germany - Polizei
- Italy - Polizia di Stato
- The Netherlands - Politie
- Poland - Policja
- Portugal - Polícia Judiciária
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:
Click the "Change adapter settings" option in the upper-left corner of the window:
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".
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":
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).
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).
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).
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):
Example 2 (.iso [Phobos] ransomware):
If your data happens to be encrypted by ransomware that is not supported by ID Ransomware, you can always try searching the internet by using certain keywords (for example, a ransom message title, file extension, provided contact emails, crypto wallet 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, cybercriminals 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.
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 the Recuva tool developed by CCleaner. 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). In addition, the recovery feature is completely free.
Step 1: Perform a scan.
Run the Recuva application and follow the wizard. You will be prompted with several windows allowing you to choose what file types to look for, which locations should be scanned, etc. All you need to do is select the options you're looking for and start the scan. We advise you to enable the "Deep Scan" before starting, otherwise, the application's scanning capabilities will be restricted.
Wait for Recuva 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 hundred 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:
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:
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 the necessary information on Microsoft's documentation web page.
Data backups: One of the most reliable backup methods 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 the 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, although it's a really rare occasion.
We recommend using Microsoft OneDrive for backing up your files. OneDrive lets you store your personal files and data in the cloud, sync files across computers and mobile devices, allowing you to access and edit your files from all of your Windows devices. OneDrive lets you save, share and preview files, access download history, move, delete, and rename files, as well as create new folders, and much more.
You can back up your most important folders and files on your PC (your Desktop, Documents, and Pictures folders). Some of OneDrive’s more notable features include file versioning, which keeps older versions of files for up to 30 days. OneDrive features a recycling bin in which all of your deleted files are stored for a limited time. Deleted files are not counted as part of the user’s allocation.
The service is built using HTML5 technologies and allows you to upload files up to 300 MB via drag and drop into the web browser or up to 10 GB via the OneDrive desktop application. With OneDrive, you can download entire folders as a single ZIP file with up to 10,000 files, although it can’t exceed 15 GB per single download.
OneDrive comes with 5 GB of free storage out of the box, with an additional 100 GB, 1 TB, and 6 TB storage options available for a subscription-based fee. You can get one of these storage plans by either purchasing additional storage separately or with Office 365 subscription.
Creating a data backup:
The backup process is the same for all file types and folders. Here’s how you can back up your files using Microsoft OneDrive
Step 1: Choose the files/folders you want to backup.
Click the OneDrive cloud icon to open the OneDrive menu. While in this menu, you can customize your file backup settings.
Click Help & Settings and then select Settings from the drop-down menu.
Go to the Backup tab and click Manage backup.
In this menu, you can choose to backup the Desktop and all of the files on it, and Documents and Pictures folders, again, with all of the files in them. Click Start backup.
Now, when you add a file or folder in the Desktop and Documents and Pictures folders, they will be automatically backed up on OneDrive.
To add folders and files, not in the locations shown above, you have to add them manually.
Open File Explorer and navigate to the location of the folder/file you want to backup. Select the item, right-click it, and click Copy.
Then, navigate to OneDrive, right-click anywhere in the window and click Paste. Alternatively, you can just drag and drop a file into OneDrive. OneDrive will automatically create a backup of the folder/file.
All of the files added to the OneDrive folder are backed up in the cloud automatically. The green circle with the checkmark in it indicates that the file is available both locally and on OneDrive and that the file version is the same on both. The blue cloud icon indicates that the file has not been synced and is available only on OneDrive. The sync icon indicates that the file is currently syncing.
To access files only located on OneDrive online, go to the Help & Settings drop-down menu and select View online.
Step 2: Restore corrupted files.
OneDrive makes sure that the files stay in sync, so the version of the file on the computer is the same version on the cloud. However, if ransomware has encrypted your files, you can take advantage of OneDrive’s Version history feature that will allow you to restore the file versions prior to encryption.
Microsoft 365 has a ransomware detection feature that notifies you when your OneDrive files have been attacked and guide you through the process of restoring your files. It must be noted, however, that if you don’t have a paid Microsoft 365 subscription, you only get one detection and file recovery for free.
If your OneDrive files get deleted, corrupted, or infected by malware, you can restore your entire OneDrive to a previous state. Here’s how you can restore your entire OneDrive:
1. If you're signed in with a personal account, click the Settings cog at the top of the page. Then, click Options and select Restore your OneDrive.
If you're signed in with a work or school account, click the Settings cog at the top of the page. Then, click Restore your OneDrive.
2. On the Restore your OneDrive page, select a date from the drop-down list. Note that if you're restoring your files after automatic ransomware detection, a restore date will be selected for you.
3. After configuring all of the file restoration options, click Restore to undo all the activities you selected.
The best way to avoid damage from ransomware infections is to maintain regular up-to-date backups.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
How was my computer hacked and how did hackers encrypt my files?
Most cybercriminals send emails containing malicious attachments or links or use websites hosting cracked software to trick users into executing ransomware by themselves. They also use various unreliable sources for downloading programs (like P2P networks, torrent sites, etc.), fake installers, and similar methods.
How to open files encrypted by ransomware?
Unfortunately, encrypted files cannot be opened. Decryption is required for file usage.
Where should I look for free decryption tools for LockBit 3.0 ransomware?
I can pay you a lot of money, can you decrypt files for me?
No, we cannot decrypt files. Usually, only the attackers can do that. Files can be decrypted without their interference when ransomware has bugs/flaws. Third parties offering to decrypt files for money cannot be trusted. They are scammers or act as a man-in-the-middle.
Will Combo Cleaner help me remove LockBit 3.0 ransomware?
Yes, Combo Cleaner will run a system scan and remove the active ransomware. After removal, ransomware will no longer be a threat. However, files will remain encrypted since security software cannot decrypt them.