Clop Ransomware
Ransomware | 02/13/2019

Clop Ransomware Removal Instructions | Ransomware Removal Guide

About: The recent outbreak of Clop Ransomware has raised havoc in the cyber world. It is a malicious program designed by threat actors with the sole purpose of encrypting the user-generated files and forcing the victims to buy a decryptor tool & gene...  Read More  

| Ransomware | Clop Ransomware Removal Instructions | Ransomware Removal Guide

Guide to Remove Clop Ransomware

Ransomware threats have emerged to be one of the biggest nuisances in the online world. Research reveals that last few years saw a tremendous advancement of targeted Ransomware attacks that have earned cyber criminals millions of dollars. It has been found that capitalist cyber maniacs are turning to targeted Ransomware attacks that are premeditated & reaping millions of dollars in ransom.

Clop-Ransomware

Threat landscape has evolved over the past 12 months uncovering trends on how they are expected to impact cyber security in the near future. Cyber maniacs have adopted newer Office exploits to lure in victims. With Ransomware attacks on the rise, last year saw an increased focus in this malware threat being pushed to computer & other IoT (Internet of Things) devices via shady tactics.

 

Security researchers recently discovered a new Ransomware program known as Clop Ransomware designed to encrypt user important data & hence yank user chain. Reported on February 10th 2019, the malware encrypts files with a strong encryption algorithm. The affected files are appended with .clop extension to the filenames making them inaccessible. Following successful encryption, a text file is dropped with the name ClopReadMe.txt that contains a ransom demanding message.

Ransom Note of Clop Ransomware

Though the ransom amount is not known, it is believed that the amount depends on how fast the victim writes an email to the criminals. The price however is known to fluctuate between $500 and $1500 in Bitcoins, Ethereum or another cryptocurrency.

 

Clop Ransomware – Threat behavior

Clop Ransomware once invading the system makes the data completely inaccessible by scheduling an encryption algorithm that makes files completely inaccessible. It is known to permeate the system via corrupted Microsoft word files & encipher following types of files:

 

  1. Image files
  2. Audio files
  3. Video files
  4. Text files
  5. Database etc.

 

To achieve persistence, the Ransomware makes entries in the Windows Registry. Such entries are typically designed in a way to launch virus automatically on each start of the Windows operating system.

 

Shadow Volume Copies created by windows operating system are also deleted by Clop Ransomware to eliminate ways to restore encrypted files.

 

The ransom note dropped by the malice threatens users not to attempt any methods to restore the encrypted files as it declares that such acts will only damage the encrypted data. The note further states that victims can select few encrypted files that do not contain useful information. These files should not be more than 5 MB in total. Cyber criminals claim to decrypt these attached files and send it to victims to gain user confidence and entrap them to pay the hefty ransom amount.

 

Victims are however recommended to be careful & not fall in the trick as the threat actors usually do not fulfill all the promises. Victims are often ignored one the ransom is paid. Hence avoiding any contacts with the culprits is the viable option.

 

Restoring encrypted files is not a piece of cake. Hence users are advised to maintain a regular backup of all the files to avoid unforeseen circumstances.

 

Clop Ransomware – Distribution Tactics

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 i Phones, cars or free overseas trips etc.

Threat Summary

Name: Clop

Targeted Operating System: Windows

Category: Ransomware
Symptoms: User’s files are encrypted with a strong encryption algorithm. All locked files are appended with .clop extension. These files hence cannot be accessed by the users.

 

How to avoid Clop Ransomware infiltration in the System?

Step A: Remove the Services Installed By Clop 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.

Once the system starts, ensure to use an account with administrative privilege to access Safe Mode with Command Prompt.

After the user enters admin credentials, Command prompt window is displayed wherein you are entitled to enter the below commands:

  1. Type the command “sc delete Clop Ransomware” in the command prompt and press Enter.
  2. Type “exit” to exit the command prompt and restart the system in safe mode with command prompt.

 

STEP B: 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 Clop 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 Clop Ransomware.

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 Clop 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 Clop Ransomware.

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 Avira and Sophos 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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