AiraCrop Virus - How To Remove?


AiraCrop (NMoreira) crypto-ransomware has been first spotted in the autumn of 2016, more specifically, in October. Until now we have not got the chance to properly analyze it, but this article is going to focus on exactly this objective. At first, security researchers assumed that this variant of ransomware had something to do with a one before him: CrySiS. However, as it was later concluded, features of AiraCrop virus were determined to be too different from the earlier mentioned one. In fact, there is a possibility that this specific variant is capable of encrypting servers, not only files. As it is provided in the ransom note, AiraCrop virus proclaims to influence data with AES256-bit and RSA-2048-bit ciphers for encryption. These two algorithms are extremely popular among hackers, crafting ransomware viruses. In cases like these, they use a combination of these ciphers to make the decryption trickier. Speaking about the amount of ransom, it can differ for separate infected victims. It might depend on the amount of files that have been ruined. In a note of instructions, crooks provide information, implying that victims have to enter their unique key into one of the provided websites and find out more.

About AiraCrop Virus

In order to have the capacity for encryption, AiraCrop virus has to do a couple changes in infected users’ devices. If a device gets infected, it is very likely that the payload of this variant is going to be disguising itself as a completely ordinary file. That is why it is pretty difficult to distinguish the exact executable responsible for the ransomware and help users remove it. In many cases, these viruses hide behind labels like update.exe or other files that you simply pass through, believing their trustworthy. Nevertheless, the payload is going to opt to make changes to your Windows Registry Keys, responsible for running software automatically after every restart. In this way, AiraCrop virus is able to run silently in the background while you continue to do your casual actions, not suspecting that your files are being crushed. After the encryption process has ended and the selected files are not able to be launched, you will notice a new extension: .AiraCropEncrypted! or the extension will contain the word Maktub. This helps to determine which data was chosen for encoding. Before showing itself properly, AiraCrop virus will probably contact its creators via Command and Control server. As soon as the crooks are informed about a new caught rabbit, they will be awaiting for a ransom to be sent. The methods how discussed in the ransom note below:

Encrypted Files!
All your files are encrypted. Using encryption AES256-bit and RSA-2048-bit.
Making it impossible to recover the files without the correct private key.
If you are interested in getting is key, and retrieve your files
visit one of the link and enter your key;
Alternative link:
To access the alternate link is mandatory to use the TOR browser available on the link
[Unique key]

How is AiraCrop Distributed?

We have reason to believe that AiraCrop virus is distributed using the most common ways. For example, email inboxes are often targeted to receive letters that feature infectious attachments or dangerous external links. If you are unsure about whether a received letter is reliable, always check the email address, indicated to be the sender. If it looks peculiar and unknown, never download attachments from such emails. Many crooks try to send emails that give information about flights, shopping facilities, school authorities or etc. These types of letters are often seen as reliable. Nevertheless, there is a possibility that it is a simple trick to get you to download a payload of ransomware.

How to Decrypt Files Encrypted by AiraCrop Virus?

AiraCrop has been recently discovered. Nevertheless, we have a link, which will guide you to the official website of Emsisoft, which researcher Fabian Wosar has already created a free working decrypter for the variant of AiraCrop, which appends the .AiraCropEncrypted!  extension. Click here to land on the page. And do not forget that you will need to copy the infected drive and remove the ransomware in the first place. However, we should remind you that eliminating ransomware viruses is not that easy. That is why we advise you to remove this variant with a sophisticated anti-malware fighter. Ninjas like Reimage, Spyhunter or Malwarebytes will do a fantastic job. For the future, please consider storing files in backup storages. Many online facilities offer such services. In this way, your valuable data will be secured from hackers.

Update of the 25th of December, 2016. A new decryptor for the .maktub variant has been released.

How to recover AiraCrop Virus encrypted files and remove the virus

Step 1. Restore system into last known good state using system restore

1. Reboot your computer to Safe Mode with Command Prompt:

for Windows 7 / Vista/ XP
  • Start Shutdown RestartOK.
  • Press F8 key repeatedly until Advanced Boot Options window appears.
  • Choose Safe Mode with Command Prompt. Windows 7 enter safe mode

for Windows 8 / 10
  • Press Power at Windows login screen. Then press and hold Shift key and click Restart. Windows 8-10 restart to safe mode
  • Choose TroubleshootAdvanced OptionsStartup Settings and click Restart.
  • When it loads, select Enable Safe Mode with Command Prompt from the list of Startup Settings. Windows 8-10 enter safe mode

2.Restore System files and settings.

  • When Command Prompt mode loads, enter cd restore and press Enter.
  • Then enter rstrui.exe and press Enter again. CMD commands
  • Click “Next” in the windows that appeared. Restore point img1
  • Select one of the Restore Points that are available before NMoreira Ransomware has infiltrated to your system and then click “Next”. Restore point img2
  • To start System restore click “Yes”. Restore point img3

Step 2. Complete removal of XPan Ransomware

After restoring your system, it is recommended to scan your computer with an anti-malware program, like Reimage and remove all malicious files related to Maktub Ransomware. You can check other tools here.

Step 3. Restore XRatTeam Ransomware affected files using Shadow Volume Copies

If you do not use System Restore option on your operating system, there is a chance to use shadow copy snapshots. They store copies of your files that point of time when the system restore snapshot was created. Usually AiraCrop Virus tries to delete all possible Shadow Volume Copies, so this methods may not work on all computers. However, it may fail to do so.

Shadow Volume Copies are only available with Windows XP Service Pack 2, Windows Vista, Windows 7, and Windows 8. There are two ways to retrieve your files via Shadow Volume Copy. You can do it using native Windows Previous Versions or via Shadow Explorer.

a) Native Windows Previous Versions

Right-click on an encrypted file and select PropertiesPrevious versions tab. Now you will see all available copies of that particular file and the time when it was stored in a Shadow Volume Copy. Choose the version of the file you want to retrieve and click Copy if you want to save it to some directory of your own, or Restore if you want to replace existing, encrypted file. If you want to see the content of file first, just click Open.

Previous version
b) Shadow Explorer

It is a program that can be found online for free. You can download either a full or a portable version of Shadow Explorer. Open the program. On the left top corner select the drive where the file you are looking for is a stored. You will see all folders on that drive. To retrieve a whole folder, right-click on it and select “Export”. Then choose where you want it to be stored.
Shadow explorer

Step 4. Use Data Recovery programs to recover NMoreira Ransomware encrypted files

There are several data recovery programs that might recover encrypted files as well. This does not work in all cases but you can try this:

  • We suggest using another PC and connect the infected hard drive as slave. It is still possible to do this on infected PC though.
  • Download Data Recovery Pro (commercial)
  • Install and scan for recently deleted files. Data Recovery Pro

Note: In many cases it is impossible to restore data files affected by modern ransomware. Thus I recommend using decent cloud backup software as precaution. We recommend checking out Carbonite, BackBlaze, CrashPlan or Mozy Home.


About the author

 - Main Editor
I have started in 2007 after wanting to be more or less independent from single security program maker. Since then, we kept working on this site to make internet better and safer place to use.
October 27, 2016 01:33, January 2, 2017 09:49

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