Flog of ransomware is by far today’s biggest computer security concern. Threat actors have stepped into the crypto realm & thrown down the gantlet to antivirus labs hat are still figuring out ways to do away with his challenge.
Ransomware based on open source code, especially variants based on Hidden Tear continue to proliferate to spread consternation among masses and hence reap monetary gains.
The ease of availability and deployment of this open source Ransomware code allows even novice developers to extort victims with this ransomware family. The first few Hidden Tear-based variants didn’t stray far from originals. But it comes as no surprise that the developers of ransomware keep building on the released code with minor tweaks to create improved variants.
Hidden Tear is the first open- source Ransomware Trojan that targets Microsoft windows operating system. During its release, the Ransomware was advertised as being created “only for educational purposes”. However, these were quickly abused by cyber criminals.
HiddenTear Ransomware family leverages AES (Advanced Encryption Standard) algorithm to encrypt certain types of files. Originally known as Rijndael, this algorithm is symmetric, that means that encryption and decryption keys are identical for this Ransomware. The key can be 128, 192, or 256 bits long.
Files encrypted by this Ransomware gain a file extension that varies based on its variant. Hidden Tear has an encryption backdoor, i.e. the encryption key is transmitted to attacker’s remote server so that it’s only available to the operator.
To recover the encrypted data, the victim needs to have a specially crafted decryption program and the secret key at their disposal. These two prerequisites are the objects of negotiation, or rather, a bargain between the perpetrator and the user.
Victim is informed about the encryption via a ransom note. The note claims to provide a document with detailed recovery instructions and relevant hyperlinks once the ransom is paid. However victims are recommended not to fall in the trap as they are often ignored once the ransom is paid.
Owing to the light weight payload of only 12KB, the infection is many cases is distributed via phishing emails that contain booby-trapped attachment.
Threat actors abuse macros to spread the dangerous infection. Disabled by default, user is prompted to enable macros once the file is opened. If enabled the script automates the installation of this pernicious malware.
Hidden Tear also exploits users via malevolent advertisements, bundled programs fake updates, unprotected P2P networks, torrents etc. Hidden Tear ransomware needs only one click to infect the machine. Hence prevention is crucial in this case.
Since the deployment of Hidden Tear Ransomware code in GitHub, threat actors have evolved multiple variants of this menace. Extensive flexibility of the code makes it trivial for anybody interested to devise a custom variant of the program.
Few recent & perilous variants of this Ransomware threat include:
EnybenyCrypt Ransomware: Utilizes AES-256 algorithm to lock files with a .crypt888 extension.
Hidden Beer Ransomware: AES cipher is leveraged to encrypt files with .beer extension. It behests ransom of $100 dollar payment in Bitcoin for recovering files.
EbolaRansomware: It appends all files with .101 extension. It drops a ransom note on desktop background to inform users about the encryption.
Open-source ransomware have raised a red flag in the cyber security community. Hidden Tear Ransomware is exploited by cyber crooks who used the public source code, modified it and attacked users.
Hence users are recommended to maintain regular data backup and store them on a remote server or unplugged storage devices to be on a safer side.
Name: Hidden Tear
Targeted Operating System: Windows
Symptoms: User’s files are encrypted. All locked files are appended with certain extensions after the encryption and hence cannot be accessed by the user.
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:
Continue to follow steps 4 & 5 of Method 2 to restore the System Files and settings.
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