Criakl Ransomware
Adware, Ransomware | 01/04/2019

How to Get Rid of Criakl Ransomware?

About: A new variant of Trojan Cryakl hit PCs across the globe on 24th December 2018, which has been named as Criakl Ransomware. It invades the PC via malicious e-mail attachments. Once installed, it encrypts most of the files, alter the desktop wallpaper w...  Read More  

| Adware | How to Get Rid of Criakl Ransomware?

Guide to Remove Criakl Ransomware

A new Ransomware began to spread on 24th December 2018 as a nice Christmas present to people across the globe. This has been identified as Criakl Ransomware & claimed to be a newer version of Trojan Ransomware Cryakl. The researchers first encountered Cryakl in the spring 2014 & since then it has continued to appear sporadically. However, it has not been an intensely active or widely distributed Ransomware, particularly in UK.

Criakl Temp1

Initially, it used to get distributed through archives attached in the e-mails; however, the e-mails got diversified later & appeared to be messages from certain organizations. Following the encryption of the files on the victim’s computer, the Ransomware creates a long key & sends it to C&C server. Recovering the compromised files without this key is beyond the bound of possibility.

 

The Ransomware will then alter the desktop wallpaper of the infected system to a picture of Fantamos, the villain from the 1964 French movie & demands a ransom for decrypting files.

What is Criakl Ransomware?

Ransom: Win32/Criakl.C is a Ransomware that disguises as a legitimate application; however, upon installation it encrypts a number of files on the infected system & demands a ransom against their decryption.

 

The security researchers revealed that Criakl Ransomware uses a file named winrar.exe, which takes the innocent users into thinking that they are dealing with a legit app.

 

Following this accidental installation by innocent users, the Ransomware takes over the PC, encrypts all the files & a ransom note begins to reflect in every folder & on the desktop as well.

Criakl Ransomware: Threat Behavior

A victim informed security researchers that he received two e-mails on 23rd December 2018 at 9:56 PM from admin@floraman.ru. Both the e-mails were written in poor English & seemed translated from a foreign language.

 

Criakl E-mail 2

One of the e-mails had a zip attachment containing macro-enabled Word Document file whereas the second e-mail contained a win.rar with .exe inside it.

 

Criakl E-mail 1

As soon as the Word Doc is accessed it contacts a remote site & downloads an .exe file that is similar to .exe file inside win.rar. The Prise list.zip attachment extracts the files to Prise list.doc. This malicious doc is capable of encrypting almost everything on the computer when unknowingly accessed.

Installation of Criakl Ransomware

Criakl Ransomware is capable of duplicating itself & drops its copy in the following directory:

  • %ProgramFiles% /temp/<original file name>

It is also capable of dropping the following files:

  • bat
  • temp <three random numbers>.tmp -a file containing an infection ID (as mentioned in Ransomware message)
  • bmp – the Ransomware message getting displayed on desktop

Encryption of Files by Criakl Ransomware

The Ransomware encrypts the following file types on an infected PCs hard drive:

  • .doc
  • .docx
  • .jpg
  • .txt
  • .zip
  • .xml

Once these files are encrypted by Criakl Ransomware, it renames them by adding the following string to file extension:

  • .id-{<36 random numbers>-<month>@<day>@<year> <hour>@<minutes>@<seconds> <AM or PM><seven random numbers>}-email-<email address>-ver-<four numbers indicating version number>

This extension contains a 36 digit number, date, time (hours, minutes & seconds), followed by a string of 7 random numbers & an e-mail address.

Ransom Demand by Criakl Ransomware

Following the encryption of the files, a ransom note appears on the screen, which demands the user to send an e-mail to the scammer & transfer certain amount; however the ransom amount has not been revealed in the ransom note.

 

Criakl Ransomware also displays an image of the mask of Fantamos, a villain from 1964 French movie. Since this Ransomware targeted users mostly in Russia, the ransom note is also displayed in Russian language.

The Ransom Note in Russian:

 

ФАЙЛЫ ЗАШИФРОВАНЫ!

Фантомас разбушевался и зашифровал все Ваши важные файлы, да, да, даже офисные!

Но не отчаивайтесь, он готов их Вам вернуть, если Вы напишите на его фантомаса-почту и предложите некоторую сумму денег.

Не забудьте указать фантомас-идентификатор, написанный в конце каждого файла.

Фантомас любит заметать следы, поэтому если Вы не напишите ему в течении 48 часов, он удалит Ваш ключ расшифровки и расшифровка файлов будет невозможна!

When Ransom Note was translated to English, it read:

 

FILES ENCRYPTED!

Fantomas got angry and encrypted all your files, yes, yes, office files too.

But don’t despair, he’s ready to return them to you, if you send him a fanto-mail and offer a certain amount of money.

Don’t forget to include fanto-id written at the end of the name of every file.

Fantomas likes to sweep the traces, and that’s why if you don’t reply within 48 hours, he will delete your decryption key and decrypting of your files will become impossible!

Criakl Ransomware Distribution Techniques

The cybercriminals use various strategies for malware distribution which include –

  1. Software Bundling: Software bundling is the process in which a malicious program is distributed with other free software, to get an unnoticed entry into your computer system. When a user installs a free application, the malicious programs gains a front door entry with the free application, the user has downloaded. Thus, it is a good idea to keep an eye on the installation screens while installing these free applications.
  2. Infected Storage Devices: Your system can also get infected by using removable media such as USB hard drives and jump drives without scanning them with an anti-virus.
  3. Spam Emails – Spamming is the most economic and common method used for the distribution of such malware. The targeted users get genuine looking emails which contain .doc, .txt, and other similar attachments. These attachments can be named as anything which can grab the user’s attention and triggers him/her to open the attachment. As soon as the user opens this attachment, the malware infects the user’s computer system.
  4. Malicious Websites or Malevolent Advertisements: The malicious websites are the ones which are created just for promoting the malware infections. Such websites include but are not limited to porn sites, torrent sites and other free downloading platforms. By visiting such websites, the adware infects the user’s computer without permission. Fake advertisements and updates like Flash player and windows updates which ask the user to update to the latest version are a few examples. When the users click on such links, their computer system gets infected. That is why, it is highly recommended to resist clicking on such links. Also avoid clicking on advertisements offering free stuff such as Win an iPhones, cars or free overseas trips etc.

Threat Summary

Name: Criakl Ransomware

Targeted Operating System: Windows

Category: Ransomware

Symptoms: Most of the files of the users are encrypted. The locked files are appended with .id extension followed by a 36 digit number, date, time (hours, minutes & seconds), followed by a string of 7 random numbers & an e-mail address. A ransom note follows the attempt of accessing compromised file that demands an undisclosed ransom to be paid in 48 hours. The desktop wallpaper is replaced by a ransom note in Russian language & an image of Fantamos, a villain from 1964 French movie.

How to Remove Criakl Ransomware from the System?

Step 1: Remove the Services Installed By Criakl Ransomware from the System using Safe mode with Command Prompt

Windows 7/ Vista/ XP

  1. Click on Windows icon present in the lower left corner of the computer screen.
  2. Select and click Restart.
  3. When the screen goes blank, keep tapping F8 key until you see the Advanced Boot Options window.
  4. With the help of arrow keys on keyboard, Select Safe Mode with Command Prompt from the list and press the Enter Key. The system will then restart to Safe Mode with Command Prompt.
  5. Click on the username and enter the password (if any).

Windows 10 / Windows 8

  1. Press and hold the Shift Key and simultaneously click on the windows icon present in the lower left corner of your computer screen.
  2. While the Shift key is still pressed click on the Power button and then click on Restart.
  3. Now select Troubleshoot → Advanced options → Startup Settings.
  4. When the Startup Settings screen appears which is the first screen to appear after restart, select and click on Enable Safe Mode with Command Prompt. The system will then restart to Safe Mode with Command Prompt.
  5. Click on the username and enter the password.

Step 2: Restore your system files and settings

Method 1 using Control Panel

  1. Click on the ‘Start’ button on the taskbar. This will open the Start menu.
  2. Click on the ‘Control Panel’ button in the Start menu. This will open the control panel window.
  3. In the Control Panel window, click on the ‘View by:’ button on the top right. Select the Large Icon option
  4. In the control Panel window click on the ‘Recovery Icon’. This will open a window that will ask ‘Restore the computer to an earlier point in time’.
  5. Click on the ‘Open system restore’ button. This will open the ‘system restore ’window where you need to click on the Next Button.
  6.  Select the restore point that is prior the infiltration of Criakl Ransomware. After doing that, click Next.
  7. This will open the ‘Confirm your restore point’ dialog box. Click on Finish button. This will restore your system to a previous restore point before your system was infected by Criakl Ransomware. 

OR

Method 2 using Command Prompt

  1. Type cmd in the search box and click on the command prompt to open the Command Prompt window. box and clicking on it.
  2. Once the Command Prompt window shows up, enter cd restore and click Enter.(Ensure that you in the system32 directory of Windows folder in C Drive)
  3. Now type rstrui and press Enter again.
  4. When a new window shows up, click Next and select your restore point that is prior the infiltration of Criakl Ransomware. After doing that, click Next.
  5. This will open the ‘Confirm your restore point’ dialog box. Click on Finish button. This will restore your system to a previous restore point before your system was infected by Criakl Ransomware.

 

OR

Method 3 : Directly type 'rstrui' in the search box

  1. Type ‘Rstrui’ in the search box present on the task bar. This will open the System restore dialog box.

Continue to follow steps 4 & 5 of Method 2 to restore the System Files and settings.

Tips to prevent your computer system from getting infected –

  1. Keeping the Operating System Updated- In order to remain protected and avoid such infections, it is recommended to keep your Operating System updated by enabling the automatic update on your system. The systems with outdated or older versions of Operating System become an easy target for the attackers.
  2. Resist clicking on spam emails – One of the major techniques used for malware distribution is forwarding spam emails to the user. The system gets infected as soon as the user clicks on the attachment. These mails appear to be genuine, so be aware and resist falling for these tricks.
  3. Keep an eye on third party installations- It is quite important that you take due care while installing any third party applications for they are major source of such infections. Such malware programs come bundled with the free applications thereby requiring the user to remain cautious.
  4. Regular periodical backup- In order to keep your data and files safe, it is recommended to take regular back up of all your data and files either on an external drive or cloud.
  5. Use Anti-Virus Protection- We strongly recommend the use of antivirus protection/internet security in your PC like Sophos and Vipre so that it remains safe.
  6. Enable the Ad Blocker/Popup Blocker in your browser- Enabling the popup blocker/ ad blocker in your chosen browser will help you to stay protected from annoying adware.

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