Donut Ransomware
Ransomware | 06/13/2018

How to get rid of Donut Ransomware?

About: Donut Ransomware is an open-source Hidden Tear based ransomware that uses symmetric AES cipher to encrypt the files and hence exploit the user. It adopts persistence installation strategy by manipulating the boot options that automatically tri...  Read More  

| Ransomware | How to get rid of Donut Ransomware?

How to remove Donut Ransomware from the Computer?

What is Donut Ransomware?

Donut Ransomware is a newly discovered instance of Hidden Tear Ransomware family. These new open source ransomware families stealthily sneak into the system and encrypt files using sophisticated cipher. The developers of the ransomware then demand cryptocurrency ransom in exchange for a decrypting key.

Hidden Tear based infections like Donut virus harvest sensitive data which comprises of personal information and full hardware informationfrom infected host computer. The hardware information is gathered to assist hackers into optimizing the attacks.

The virus is configured to easily bypass the anti-virus programsinstalled in the system. Once infiltrated the malware modifies the system registries to degrade the overall system performance and prevent its discovery.

It adopts persistence installation strategy by manipulating the boot options that automatically triggers the virus once the system is powered ON.

This ransomwareis configured to establish a network connection of the infected system with a remote host. This is a hacker-controlled server that spies on the users in real-time which allows the hackers to deploy additional viruses to the infected hosts.

Characteristics of Donut Ransomware

Donut virus is an open-source Hidden Tear based ransomware that uses symmetric AES cipher to encrypt the files. The encryption code is sent to the crook’s server who in turndropa text file on the victims desktop asking for a ransom.

To overcome the system protection and to execute the encryption without interruption, the virus first copies itself to the registry once downloaded. It then runs a scan in the background to look for files with .jpeg, .doc, .pdf, .mp3, .mp4 and similar extensions.The targeted documents include user valuable personal files (photos, documents, music, videos, etc.) to persuade them to pay the demanded ransom for the decryption key to the hackers. The selected files are encrypted with a strong AES encryption algorithm and appends the files with .donut extension. For example the compromised files change from ‘abc.jpg’ to ‘abc.jpg.donut’.

The users are informed about the activity through a ransom note that demands $100 in Bitcoins to recover the locked files.However, the users should never agree to pay in any case because the victims are often ignored, once the ransom is paid.

Donut Ransom Note

Ransomware Distribution

The virus is distributed against user consent using various tactics. One such popular strategy is spam email attachments(usually named ‘dinut.exe’ or ‘donut0806.exe’) or suspicious hyperlinks in the contents of the email.

Other than the spam emails, Donut exploits users via malevolent advertisements,bundled programs fake updates and, together with other viruses, unprotected P2P networks, torrents etc. Donut ransomware needs only one click to infect the machine so prevention is crucial in this case.

Below is the detailed description of this ransomware distribution.

Infected Software Bundles—Software bundling is the process in which malicious program is bundled to the payload files with other free software program.  When a user installs these free applications without going through the supporting documents, the malicious program gains a front door entry. Opting for Advanced/ Custom settings gives user the provision to analyze every installation process and opt out any additional applications.

Malicious Documents — Donut code is embedded in various documents (rich text documents, spreadsheets and presentations) which is distributed as a spam email attachment. The most common method is to use 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 the virus.

Fake download pages and file sharing networks can also pave way to the installation of Donut virus along with other infections.

How to solve the problem?

The parasite proliferation in the system is accompanied with other system infections. Hence recovery should begin with the removal of this sweet crypto-extortionist so that the virus does not re infect the system again after the file recovery.

However 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.

The short guide below will help you get rid of this malware and hence keep your system risk free.

Threat Summary – Donut Ransomware

Name – Donut

Category – Ransomware

Browsers Affected – Google Chrome, Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Safari, Opera

Targeted Operating System – Windows and MAC

Symptoms: User’s files are encrypted. All locked files are appended with “.donut” extension after the encryption and hence cannot be accessed by the user.

How to solve the problem?

The parasite proliferation in the system is accompanied with other system infections. Hence recovery should begin with the removal of this sweet crypto-extortionist so that the virus does not re infect the system again after the file recovery.

However 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.

The short guide below will help you get rid of this malware and hence keep your system risk free.

STEP A: Reboot your computer to 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 Donut” 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 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 Donut 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 Donut 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 Donut 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 Donut 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.

STEP C: Delete the suspicious file from the registry key.

  1. Type “Regedit” in search box / Run Box, select it and press Enter.
  2. An authorization dialog box will appear, then you just have to click “Yes”. (The dialog box appearance may vary depending on OS used. For Windows 10 the the dialog box looks like the first screenshot and for windows 7 it appears like the second screenshot)
  3. In the registry editor, take the backup of the current registry settings before making any changes in case you want to revert to old settings later. For this, Click on File option in the menu and select Export. Save the entry at a known location.
  4. From the Menu, Click Edit and Select Find.
  5. Enter Donut Ransomware and click OK in the search box.
  6. Select and delete suspicious  enteries.

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 Hitman pro 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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