ZeroCrypt is a file-encrypting cyber threat, which may cause severe damage to the infected computers. The security researchers classify this parasite as ransomware. Unlike some other Trojans, this malware doesn’t try to steal personal data from you like passwords or files. Instead, it uses an advanced cipher to make all data on your PC unreadable. The purpose of this activity is to extort money from you by making you pay a hefty ransom. In exchange, the culprits who stand behind the attacks with ZeroCrypt promise to release a decryption key, which is supposed to unlock your PC. Unfortunately, even if you act exactly as they expect you to, you may not regain access to your valuable files. For this reason, it is important not to allow the infection with ZeroCrypt to occur in the first place.
How Is ZeroCrypt Able to Infect Your PC?
ZeroCrypt may use a variety of infection tactics, but in all cases the victim doesn’t suspect he is about to download such a severe cyber threat. The developers of malicious software often present it as a useful application. For example, as you casually surf the web, you may notice a message to update a program like Java or Adobe. The experts suggest you download latest versions solely from the official platforms. If you agree to install any software from random webpages, you may accidentally install advanced ransomware like ZeroCrypt.
The infection may also occur if you open email attachments sent directly to you. Some sites ask the visitors for their email addresses with the only intention to sell this sensitive data later on. If the buyers are some hackers, they may send you the payloads of various aggressive cyber threats like ZeroCrypt. You should keep in mind that all types of files may contain harmful codes. In some cases, the infected file seems to be an invoice from the bank, a letter from the government or a message about a failed shipment. If you agree to download or open the file, you may unknowingly activate malware like ZeroCrypt.
What to Expect After ZeroCrypt Takes Control of Your Device
Contrary to the expectations of some PC users, ZeroCrypt doesn’t reveal its presence right away. This cyber threat will first perform a complex encryption process, which will eventually make your personal files unreadable. The targeted data includes personal pictures, music, videos, databases, archives, notes, etc. Once ZeroCrypt changes the core structure of these files, you will notice a different extension – ‘.zn2016’. From this moment on, you will see error messages whenever you attempt to open the files. You will find detailed information about the attack in a file named ‘ZEROCRYPT_RECOVER_INFO.txt’. The ransomware uses an RSA-1024 encryption algorithm, which is almost impossible to break manually. Your only way to unlock the encrypted data may be to use the decryption key, which the culprits attempt to sell. Unfortunately, this key cannot be found anywhere on your PC. The hackers keep it on distant Command and Control (C&C) servers, which are usually protected with various defenses. The culprits behind the attacks with ZeroCrypt try to extort a lot of money from the victims. The sum, which they desire, is astonishing – 100 Bitcoins. The price of one Bitcoin is currently equal to $738. You should not consider paying this ransom or even contacting the hackers via their email address. Even if you follow all of their instructions precisely, you may still not receive your files back.
What to Do Once You Lose Access to Your Files Due to ZeroCrypt Ransomware?
There are several actions you may perform in order to fix your PC. However, you should remember not to pay the ransom. Even if the hackers release the precious decryption key, your money will only motivate them to continue with their attacks. You should keep in mind that there is no method with a 100% guaranteed efficiency. Fortunately, you have various options at your disposal.
You may attempt to use the ‘System Restore’ function of your Operating System (OS) in case you have a recent backup. Unfortunately, the file-encoding Trojans like ZeroCrypt often delete all shadow volume copies, which they detect, which means this feature may not work properly.
Some software developers release free ransomware decryptors on a regular basis, which may also prove to be helpful to you.
Another way to fix your PC is to use a backup of your files on an external device or some cloud. You should remember to delete all traces of ZeroCrypt before connecting a USB or an external hard drive to your PC or else they may get encrypted as well.
The manual removal of ZeroCrypt requires significant knowledge and experience. Unless you are an expert, you should consider using special security software to eliminate all traces of this advanced ransomware.
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