Cryptographic Locker

Also Known As: Cryptographic Locker virus
Damage level: High

What is Cryptographic Locker?

The Cryptographic Locker ransomware virus infiltrates users' operating systems via drive-by downloads, exploit kits, and fake downloads (for example, rogue video players, or fake Flash updates).

After successful infiltration, this malicious program encrypts files stored on computers (including .odt, .doc, .docx, .xls, .xlsx, .ppt, .pptx, psd, .cdr, .mp3, .raw, .jpeg, .gif, .bmp, and .txt files among many others) and demands payment of 0.2 Bitcoin (at time of writing, approximately $100USD) within 24 hours.

Cyber criminals responsible for releasing this rogue program ensure that it executes on all Windows versions including Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7, and Windows 8. Apart from displaying a window with encryption information, Cryptographic Locker also changes the desktop wallpaper, which reads 'All your files have been encrypted by Cryptolocker'.

At this time, it is not clear why cyber criminals chose to use the name 'Cryptolocker' rather than 'Cryptographic Locker' within this wallpaper.

cryptographic locker

Files encrypted by this ransomware are allocated a .clf extension. At time of research, there were no tools or solutions capable of decrypting files encrypted by CryptographicLocker. Note that the private key required to decrypt the files is stored by the Cryptographic Locker command-and-control servers, which is managed by cyber criminals.

Therefore, the ideal solution is to remove this ransomware virus and then restore your data from a backup. The good news is that this ransomware does not delete the shadow copies of these files, so there is a chance to retrieve them using System Restore.

Ransomware infections such as Cryptographic Locker (including CryptoWall, CryptoDefense, CryptorBit, and Cryptolocker) present a strong argument to maintain regular backups of your stored data.

Note that paying the ransom as demanded by this ransomware is equivalent to sending your money to cyber criminals - you will support their malicious business model and there is no guarantee that your files will ever be decrypted.

To avoid computer infection with ransomware infections such as these, express caution when opening email messages, since cyber criminals use various catchy titles to trick PC users into opening infected email attachments (for example, 'UPS Exception Notification').

Keep your operating system and all installed programs (Java, Flash, etc.) up-to-date. Research shows that cyber criminals also use P2P networks and fake downloads, which contain bundled ransomware infections to proliferate Cryptographic Locker.

Cryptographic Locker demanding to pay a ransom in order to decrypt the files:

Cryptographic Locker

30gb of personal documents and files on this computer or device have just been encrypted. Encrypted mean you will not be able to access your files anymore, until they are decrypted. Your original files have been deleted, these can be recovered as described below. Click on “View encrypted files” to see a list of files that got encrypted.

The encryption was done with a unique generated encryption hey (using AES-128). The only way to decrypt your files, is to obtain your private key and IV.
To receive your private key, you need to pay the amount of bitcoins displayed left of this window (costs). You need to send the amount of bitcoins to the bitcoin address at the bottom of this window.

After the purchase is made, please wait a few minutes for confirmation of the bitcoins. After the bitcoins are confirmed, click the ‘check payment and receive keys’ button. Your keys will appear in the text boxes. After that, you simply click ‘decrypt using keys’, your files will be decrypted and restored to their original location.

You can easily delete this software, but know that without it, you will never be able to get your original files back.

cryptographic locker payent information

Payment information presented in Cryptographic Locker:

How to pay us in bitcoins:
Useful site: howtobuybitcoins.info (find exchanges in your country)
1. Visit one of the sites below to buy bitcoins (or find one yourself using the site given above)
(2. Login or create an account if necessary.)
3. Buy the amount of bitcoins you need to pay and send them to the address given in this window.
(4. You can go to blockchain.info and search for your address to see whether the bitcoins are received.)
5. If the bitcoins are on the address, click ‘check payment and receive keys’.
6. Your keys are now received, press ‘decrypt using keys’.
7. Your files will be restored and the program will delete itself.

Cryptographic Locker changes the Windows desktop background as demonstrated below:

cryptographic locker changes desktop wallpaper

Note that at time of writing, there were no known tools capable of decrypting files encrypted by CryptographicLocker without paying the ransom (try restoring your files from Shadow copies).

By following this removal guide, you will be able to remove this ransomware from your computer, however, the affected files will remain encrypted. We will update this article as soon as there is more information available regarding decryption of compromised files.

Cryptographic Locker removal:

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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 starting process press the F8 key on your keyboard multiple times until you see the Windows Advanced Option menu, 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 "Advanced Startup options menu". Click the "Troubleshoot" button, 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 Cryptographic Locker. 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 starting 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 Cryptographic Locker 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 Cryptographic Locker files.

To restore individual files encrypted by this ransomware, try using the 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 Cryptographic Locker 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 on 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.

Other tools known to remove Cryptographic Locker:

▼ Show Discussion

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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Malware activity

Global malware activity level today:

Medium threat activity

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

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