Written by Tomas Meskauskas on (updated)
What is CryptXXX?
CryptXXX is ransomware-type malware distributed using the Angler Exploit Kit. Following infiltration, CryptXXX encrypts various files stored on local and mounted drives using RSA4096 - an asymmetric encryption algorithm. Thus, public (to encrypt) and private (to decrypt) keys are generated during encryption.
To the restore files, victims require the private key, which is stored on Command and Control (C&C) servers belonging to the cyber criminals. To receive the decrypter (with the private key embedded), victims must supposedly pay a ransom. In addition, CryptXXX gathers various private data (browsing details, cookies, etc.)
During encryption, CryptXXX generates three files (de_crypt_readme.bmp, de_crypt_readme.html, and de_crypt_readme.txt) and places them in each folder containing the encrypted files. These files state that the victim must pay a ransom of 1.2 Bitcoin (~$525.5).
If the ransom is not paid within the given time frame (which is currently unknown), it will double to 2.4 BTC. If the ransom is not paid within the time frame, the private key will be deleted permanently and it will then become impossible to decrypt the files. Cyber criminals allow victims to decrypt one file free of charge (supposedly to demonstrate that encryption is possible).
This functionality is available at the CryptXXX website. This ransomware adds a .crypt, .cryp1 or .crypz extension (other variants of this ransomware add 5 random symbols) to each encrypted file and, thus, it is easy to determine which files are encrypted.
This ransomware impersonates CryptoWall and TeslaCrypt. Cyber criminals often pose as various authorities such as the FBI, Homeland Security, USA Cyber Crime Center, and so on. They accuse victims of violating various cyberlaws (commonly, watching illegal pornography).
To avoid being punished, victims are encouraged to pay a fine (ransom). Unfortunately, files cannot be restored without the private key - currently there are no tools capable of decryption. Therefor, the only solution to this problem is to restore your system/files from a backup.
Screenshot of a de_crypt_readme.bmp file encouraging users to pay the ransom to decrypt their compromised data:
There are dozens of identical ransomware infections including, for example, Jigsaw, Cerber, Locky, and TeslaCrypt. Most employ asymmetric encryption and, therefore, decryption without the inclusion of cyber criminals is impossible. Those using symmetric encryption (encryption and decryption keys are identical), however, often have flaws.
For instance, the key is temporarily stored in the victim's %TEMP% folder and, thus, it is straightforward to decrypt. Another difference between these viruses is the size of ransom demanded - this usually fluctuates between 0.5 and 1.5 BTC.
Be aware that ransomware is mostly proliferated via fake software updates, malicious email attachments, peer to peer networks (for example, Torrent), and/or trojans. Therefore, it is important to be cautious when downloading files sent from suspicious emails and third party sources.
Furthermore, all installed software should be kept up-to-date. To increase protection, use a legitimate anti-spyware/anti-virus suite.
Update 26 April 2016 - Kaspersky has announced that they are able to decrypt the files compromised by CryptXXX ransomware. Users should download their Kaspersky RannohDecryptor tool. Download CrytpXXX decryptor HERE.
Here’s a screenshot of Kaspersky RannohDecryptor tool:
Screenshot of de_crypt_readme.html file:
Screenshot of de_crypt_readme.txt file:
Text presented in de_crypt_readme.bmp, de_crypt_readme.html and de_crypt_readme.txt files:
@@@@@@@ NOT YOUR LANGUAGE? USE https://translate.google.com
@@@@@@@ What happened to your files ?
@@@@@@@ All of your files were protected by a strong encryption with RZA4096
@@@@@@@ More information about the en-Xryption keys using RZA4096 can be found here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RSA_(cryptosystem)
@@@@@@@ How did this happen ?
@@@@@@@ !!! Specially for your PC was generated personal RZA4096 Key , both publik and private.
@@@@@@@ !!! ALL YOUR FILES were en-Xrypted with the publik key, which has been transferred to your computer via the Internet.
@@@@@@@ !!! Decrypting of your files is only possible with the help of the privatt key and de-crypt program , which is on our Secret Server
@@@@@@@ What do I do ?
@@@@@@@ So , there are two ways you can choose: wait for a miracle and get your price doubled, or start obtaining BITCOIN NOW! , and restore your data easy way
@@@@@@@ If You have really valuable data, you better not waste your time, because there is no other way to get your files, except make a payment
Your personal ID: [removed]
For more specific instructions, please visit your personal home page, there are a few different addresses pointing to your page below:
1 - http://7d7dkaulayebb3s3.onion.to
2 - http://7d7dkaulayebb3s3.onion.cab
3 - http://7d7dkaulayebb3s3.onion.city
If for some reasons the addresses are not available, follow these steps:
1 - Download and install tor-browser: http://www.torproject.org/projects/torbrowser.html.en
2 - After a successful installation, run the browser
3 - Type in the address bar - http://7d7dkaulayebb3s3.onion`
4 - Follow the instructions on the site
Be sure to copy your personal ID and the instruction link to your notepad not to lose them.
Screenshot of CryptXXX payment web page:
Text presented in CryptXXX payment page:
We present a special software - Google Decrypter - which allows to decrypt and return control to all your encrypted files.
How to buy CryptoWall decrypter?
1. You can make a payment with BitCoins, there are many methods to get them.
2. You should register BitCoin wallet (simplest online wallet OR some other methods of creating wallet).
3. Purchasing Bitcoins - Although it`s not yet easy to buy bitcoins, it`s getting simpler every day.
4. Send BTC to Bitcoin address: -
5. Enter the Transaction ID and chose payment option: -
6. Please check the payment information and click button "PAY".
CryptXXX 'Decrypt soft help' web page:
Text presented within this page:
1. To obtain the decryption key , you need to make a payment.
2. Download software to decrypt your files
3. Install program and press button SCAN, to find all encrypted files on your computer
4. After the program finished scanning your files, you can see a window with the success message
5. If you payment has been verified, you can find your own decrypt key on this page
6. Copy you own decrypt key and past it in program text field KEY
7. Press button DECRYPT and wait. After the program finished decrypt your files, you can see a window with the success message
8. That's all! Your files are decrypted and you have to use them again!
CryptXXX Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) web page:
Text presented within this page:
Question: How can I decrypt my files after payment?
Answer: After payment, You can download the CryptoWall Decrypter from your personal page. We guarantee that all your files will be decrypted.
Question: What do I have to fill in form "Transaction ID"?
Answer: Fill this form with bitcoin transaction ID, which you will receive after payment is done.
CryptXXX allows users to decrypt one file free of charge:
Text presented within this page:
We give you the opportunity to decipher 1 file free of charge!
You can make sure that the service really works and after payment for the CryptoWall program you can actually decrypt ALL files.
Update 10 May, 2016 - Cyber criminals have updated CryptXXX ransomware. It now locks the entire victim’s screen and makes the computer unusable. Unfortunately the decrypter presented by Kaspersky doesn't decrypt the compromised files by the updated version of CryptXXX ransomware. Here’s a screenshot of victim’s desktop infected with the updated variant of this ransomware:
CryptXXX 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 CryptXXX 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.
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