The wicked idea of taking someone’s personal files hostage to then extort a ransom is trending in malware deployment workshops. If one of these ransomware programs called TeslaCrypt succeeds in intruding on a computer, it detects and encrypts all user files so that they get appended with a .ccc suffix and cannot be opened in any of the regular ways.
TeslaCrypt constitutes an array of copycat ransom trojans that share basically the same code but may take different guises and names. Its next of kin is a virus called CryptoWall, a widespread malady which has been up and running for many months despite substantial effort on security labs’ end. Researchers believe these two have a common command and control as well as payment processing infrastructure. The operational plan of the ransomware in question can be broken down into the obfuscated part, where it infects a PC via an exploit kit or contagious email attachment and encrypts the victim’s data; and the manifest phase, where the virus makes outrageous demands regarding the file decrypt options.
Attack prevention in this scenario only makes sense on the early stage of the compromise. Once the user’s information has been furtively encrypted, it’s too late avoiding anything adverse. Before the virus gets to the encryption part, however, it scans logical drives on the hard disk. Obviously, the objective of this checkup is to spot the data that conventionally corresponds to the ‘personal’ attribute. These include .doc and .xls documents, .ppt presentations, .jpg, .bmp images, and a dozen more types of entities. The virus adds a ‘.ccc’ string to the current file extensions.
This ransomware isn’t after system files, so it’s pretty selective in terms of what gets encrypted. Obviously, it needs the system to be stable – at least, until the ransom it paid. By the way, meeting the infection’s demands will cost the victim somewhere in the range of 1-1.5 BTC to get the information back intact.
There is a 96-hour deadline to pay the ransom, and the amount will increase if the sum isn’t submitted on time. The bad guys allow the victim to test the decryption service by on-demand restoration of one file. The user gets their personal Bitcoin address for payment, with the alternative channels like PaySafeCard and Ukash being available as well. The entirety of the assault-related information and instructions is provided in “howto_recover_file_(random characters)” HTML or TXT document, which is dropped inside every folder containing hijacked files.
Handling the .ccc file virus isn’t a trivial malware eradication type of thing. There are several countermeasure vectors, where the necessity to restore personal information is an inalienable constituent of the overall damage remediation. Removal of the ransomware is certainly important, but it won’t solve the issue altogether. Unfortunately, none of the generally available techniques can overcome the RSA-2048 crypto leveraged by this trojan, but it doesn’t mean that giving in to the scammers is the only way out.
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.ccc file automatic removal
Extermination of this ransomware can be efficiently accomplished with reliable security software. Sticking to the automatic cleanup technique ensures that all components of the infection get thoroughly wiped from your system.
1. Download recommended security utility and get your PC checked for malicious objects by selecting the Start Computer Scan option
2. The scan will come up with a list of detected items. Click Fix Threats to get the file and related infections removed from your system. Completing this phase of the cleanup process is most likely to lead to complete eradication of the plague proper. Now you are facing a bigger challenge – try and get your data back.
Methods to restore files encrypted by .ccc file
Workaround 1: Use file recovery software
It’s important to know that the .ccc file creates copies of your files and encrypts them. In the meanwhile, the original files get deleted. There are applications out there that can restore the removed data. You can utilize tools like Stellar Data Recovery for this purpose. The newest version of the file under consideration tends to apply secure deletion with several overwrites, but in any case this method is worth a try.
Workaround 2: Make use of backups
First and foremost, this is a great way of recovering your files. It’s only applicable, though, if you have been backing up the information stored on your machine. If so, do not fail to benefit from your forethought.
Workaround 3: Use Shadow Volume Copies
In case you didn’t know, the operating system creates so-called Shadow Volume Copies of every file as long as System Restore is activated on the computer. As restore points are created at specified intervals, snapshots of files as they appear at that moment are generated as well. Be advised this method does not ensure the recovery of the latest versions of your files. It’s certainly worth a shot though. This workflow is doable in two ways: manually and through the use of an automatic solution. Let’s first take a look at the manual process.
Use the Previous Versions feature
The Windows OS provides a built-in option of recovering previous versions of files. It can also be applied to folders. Just right-click on a file or folder, select Properties and hit the tab named Previous Versions. Within the versions area, you will see the list of backed up copies of the file / folder, with the respective time and date indication. Select the latest entry and click Copy if you wish to restore the object to a new location that you can specify. If you click the Restore button, the item will be restored to its original location.
Apply Shadow Explorer tool
This workflow allows restoring previous versions of files and folders in an automatic mode rather than by hand. To do this, download and install the Shadow Explorer application. After you run it, select the drive name and the date that the file versions were created. Right-click on the folder or file of interest and select the Export option. Then simply specify the location to which the data should be restored.
Verify whether .ccc file has been completely removed
Again, ransomware removal alone does not lead to the decryption of your personal files. The data restore methods highlighted above may or may not do the trick, but the file itself does not belong inside your computer. Incidentally, it often comes with other file, which is why it definitely makes sense to repeatedly scan the system with automatic security software in order to make sure no harmful remnants of this file and associated threats are left inside Windows Registry and other locations.