Empty ransomware virus comes into the category of malware as an evident variant of CryptoMix family. Just on 22nd of August, we investigated a sample of Error which also has earned the right to be assigned to the latter string of infections. These are not the only three members of this line of ransomware: Azer has joined it in July.
To be frank, we have to notice that the newer versions of CryptoMix do not variate much from the original. Obviously, new email addresses are generated (email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com), but the process of file-encryption remains somewhat the same. Of course, filenames of encoded executables are replaced with titles that make no sense (clusters of numbers and letters). Additionally, the infection adds .EMPTY extension.
Alarming activity of EMPTY computer infection
The payload of Empty crypto-virus was detected and its copyright is assigned to Company Icecream
Apps. Such an establishment does exist, but we think that this indication was left intentionally. RacePostings is the product’s name and it is described as Cmpete Yoke 20 Not (Virustotal). The malicious file was detected as Sage and HydraCrypt ransomware viruses.
Just like Error crypto-virus, Empty malware will also be more evasive when it comes to battling common security tools (Infosecurity-magazine). This leverage is obtained due to the fact that ransomware does not implement one of the most regular actions: it does not contact C&C server. You could ask – how does the encryption occur then? The answer is simple: the downloaded payload of the infection is packed with eleven public RSA-1024 encryption keys. These ciphers will be exploited to secure the AES keys.
Revenge and CryptoShield are a few other ransomware samples that are always discussed side-by-side with CryptoMix. These variants began popping out in January and have not lost their relevance yet. New victims are reporting infections with these samples, but solutions to every one of them are far from found. A variant of Mole has indeed a troublemaker: it managed to infect people without having them click on an infectious link (Zdnet).
Issues with decryption and prevention of crypto-viruses
One of the most frequent techniques to become infected with ransomware is to open email messages from unknown senders. Then, if you really wish to be bothered by malware, you should open the file attachments or follow URLs. Naturally, we hope you will do the exact opposite and delete emails from parties that seem suspicious or unfamiliar.
While thinking that you are downloading an innocent pdf or an archive file, you could be inviting a payload of ransomware. Various types of techniques, like hiding harmful macros, have been applied to infect people with crypto-infections.
As for the decryption process, we cannot deliver any positive news. We could be glad to inform you that a free decryptor has been released, but sadly, no. Most of the CryptoMix infections delete Shadow Volume Copies. Therefore, this possibility also vanishes. Of course, there is also the highly-recommended utility: backup storages. If you had been clever enough to store your valuable information in such facilities, you do not have to worry about file restoration. All you have to do is delete the malicious virus with the help from Reimage and retrieve the data you lost.
Lastly, hope you will aim to be more cautious and protect your operating system with an anti-malware tool. Run regular scans and discover the status of your device. As many infections are stealthy, you might barely notice them. However, if the malware is present, your cybersecurity could be highly compromised.
Ransomware infections can also explore unprotected RDP, or arrive thanks to exploit kits. Considering this, you should update your software and OS as frequently as necessary. For instance, if a patch is released, you should definitely apply it. For alternative methods of file restoration, analyze the sections below.
- Alarming activity of EMPTY computer infection
- Issues with decryption and prevention of crypto-viruses
- Automatic EMPTY ransomware virus removal tools
- How to recover EMPTY ransomware virus encrypted files and remove the virus
- Step 1. Restore system into last known good state using system restore
- Step 2. Complete removal of EMPTY ransomware virus
- Step 3. Restore EMPTY ransomware virus affected files using Shadow Volume Copies
- Step 4. Use Data Recovery programs to recover EMPTY ransomware virus encrypted files
Automatic EMPTY ransomware virus removal tools
How to recover EMPTY ransomware 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 → 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 EMPTY ransomware virus has infiltrated to your system and then click “Next”.
- To start System restore click “Yes”.
Step 2. Complete removal of EMPTY ransomware virus
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 EMPTY ransomware virus . You can check other tools here.
Step 3. Restore EMPTY ransomware virus 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 EMPTY ransomware 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 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 EMPTY ransomware virus 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.
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.