Atchbo or ExoLock ransomware virus is indicated to be one of the crypto-malware examples that have been designed by extortionists for the purpose of encrypting files and demanding ransoms. Last week was rather slow for the generation of ransomware viruses as we only discussed one infection called BlackMist.
Atchbo virus appends .exo extension to the files it encrypts and users will no longer have a chance to run them. The threat will exploit AES algorithm to encode files. ZoneWare also uses AES ciphers. Atchbo crypto-virus demands users to send 0.007 BTC. This is approximately 34 dollars. However, some samples of this infection have been noticed to make demands of only 0.001BTC which equals 5 dollars. This is one of the cheapest ransomware infections we have seen.
More information about Atchbo crypto-virus
Security researchers have found a payload of this infection: it is called Atchbo Ransomware2.0v.exe and could be indicated as a variety of different threats (VirusTotal scan). For instance, different security tools have identified it to be Trojan.RansomKD.12461049, Win32.Trojan.WisdomEyes.16070401.9500.9839, HEUR:Trojan.Win32.Generic, Ransom_Ryzerlo.R002C0DJ817. The file makes DNS requests to VBOXSVR.ovh.net. This website is default hostname by VirtualBox for file sharing with the guest OS. The same requests are made by VisionCryptor malware.
Atchbo virus inserts UnlockYourFiles[0-49].txt file into victims’ computers. The brief note contains hackers’ bitcoin wallet and the encouragements to pay the demanded fees. However, the ransomware could also display a lock-screen (Lock-screen ransomware) with a similar content. Screen-lockers are common for ransomware viruses, for instance, Pendor infection also has this feature. Sadly, hackers usually do not bother with the decryption process even if victims pay the requested ransoms.
Therefore, it would be best not to pay, but given the small ransom for file-decryption, some might consider this option. If you receive a decryptor from authors of Atchbo virus, please provide it to security researchers. It might be that the same decrypter will work for all or researchers will be able to create an improved version. However, paying hackers the fees they demand is never a good idea as it will only encourage them to initiate future projects (Ransomware: To pay or not to pay?).
In order to proceed, Atchbo ransomware will presumably engage in all of the common activities of crypto-malware. One of them is to modify Windows Registry and make the payload run in the background. Therefore, users will not notice the activity of a crypto-virus until it is too late.
How should I protect my files? What about other methods of file-decryption?
If you are worried about your files, we should remind you the best option for file-protection. Upload files into backup storages or USB flash drives. If you will have an alternative source of important digital files, ransomware will have nothing to threaten you with. This is one of the best suggestions. Since the threat of crypto-malware is increasing, you should be aware of the benefits of backup storages. Therefore, back up your data now, before it is too late.
There are also other methods that could be exploited for the file-recovery. However, they might not work. You could use universal tools that restore your files. To learn more about these options, we suggest you to take a look at the instructions below.
How is ransomware distributed? How can it be removed?
Ransomware viruses are usually spread in a few most popular ways: malicious spam campaigns, deceptive files and unprotected RDP. Please do not open email messages from unknown sources as they can contain attachments. Very frequently, these attachments turn out to be payloads of ransomware or act as downloaders of malicious files. Spam messages can pretend to originate from respectable authorities or very serious services. RDP should also be protected with complicated passwords that are difficult to crack.
For protection against malware, we suggest you use strong tools like Spyhunter. Run regular scans to be properly protected from infections. If a ransomware has locked the access to your operating system, it is best to launch system in a Safe Mode. For more instructions, continue on reading.
Atchbo Ransomware quicklinks
- More information about Atchbo crypto-virus
- How should I protect my files? What about other methods of file-decryption?
- How is ransomware distributed? How can it be removed?
- Automatic Malware removal tools
- How to recover Atchbo ransomware 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:
- 2.Restore System files and settings.
- Step 4. Use Data Recovery programs to recover Atchbo ransomware encrypted files
Automatic Malware removal tools
How to recover Atchbo ransomware 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 → Restart → OK.
- Press F8 key repeatedly until Advanced Boot Options window appears.
- Choose Safe Mode with Command Prompt.
for Windows 8 / 10
- Press Power at Windows login screen. Then press and hold Shift key and click Restart.
- Choose Troubleshoot → Advanced Options → Startup Settings and click Restart.
- When it loads, select Enable Safe Mode with Command Prompt from the list of Startup Settings.
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.
- Click “Next” in the windows that appeared.
- Select one of the Restore Points that are available before ExoLock ransomware has infiltrated to your system and then click “Next”.
- To start System restore click “Yes”.
Step 2. Complete removal of Atchbo ransomwareAfter restoring your system, it is recommended to scan your computer with an anti-malware program, like Spyhunter and remove all malicious files related to ExoLock ransomware. You can check other tools here.
Step 3. Restore Atchbo ransomware affected files using Shadow Volume CopiesIf 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 ExoLock ransomware 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 Properties → Previous 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.
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.
Step 4. Use Data Recovery programs to recover Atchbo ransomware encrypted filesThere 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 a data recovery program.
- Install and scan for recently deleted files.