SDJM ransomware threatens to keep your files locked for good
- SDJM ransomware threatens to keep your files locked for good
- Avoiding ransomware infections
- More details about the ransomware
- Remove SDJM Ransomware Virus and Decrypt Your Files
- Decrypt SDJM files
- Frequently Asked Questions
SDJM ransomware is a malicious computer virus that is designed to encrypt all files on Windows- system. This threat is recognized as a variant of STOP/DJVU, one of the most widespread ransomware families nowadays. After breaking into the target computer, this virus locks all data and appends .sdjm extension to each file name. For example, a file originally named 1.jpg appears as 1.jpg.sdjm after being encrypted. To provide the victim with information about data recovery solution, the virus drops _readme.txt notes throughout the system. This note points out that the only way to get files back is to pay a ransom for SDJM decryption tool.
The _readme.txt note specifies that all of victim’s files, including images, videos, archives, documents and others were encrypted with strongest encryption algorithms. The note suggests that files can only be decrypted with a unique decryption key and software provided by SDJM ransomware operators. The note explains that the computer user needs to contact the attackers via provided emails – email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org for further information.
The criminals also recommend sending one small encrypted file for test decryption to prove that they actually have the means required to decrypt files. They would reply with a decrypted file version and instructions how to make the transaction to criminals. They only accept cryptocurrency transfers since this payment method helps them to remain anonymous.
The attackers also suggest that the price of data decryption depends on how soon the user reaches out to the ransomware operators. If this is done within 72 hours/3 days, the crooks suggest a 50% discount on the decryption software price, which means that it would cost $490. If delayed any longer, the crooks would demand $980 from the victim.
If you’re considering options on what to do now, we would like to emphasize that paying the ransom is NOT RECOMMENDED by cybersecurity experts worldwide as well as FBI. Not only paying doesn’t guarantee data recovery, but it also supports cybercriminals’ operations.
Moreover, this ransomware is known to compromise computer systems with VIDAR or AZORULT Trojans, both used to steal private information such as login credentials, banking details, browsing history and cookies. Such data can be used to blackmail you endlessly.
Victims who were affected by this file-encrypting malware are advised to boot their computers in Safe Mode with Networking before attempting to remove SDJM ransomware virus. Ideally, you should use an up-to-date antivirus software for this task. If you’re interested in our recommendations, you can try INTEGO Antivirus, a robust AV with real-time protection that is simply essential security feature nowadays. In addition, you may want to download RESTORO to repair virus damage on Windows OS files.
|Name||SDJM Ransomware Virus|
|Type||Ransomware; Crypto-malware; Virtual Extortion Virus|
|Encryption type||RSA 2048 + Salsa20|
|Previous versions||EEYU, AAYU, AABN, AAMV, AAWT, EEBN, (find full list here)|
|Cybercriminal email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org|
|Additional malware dropped||Azorult or Vidar Trojan|
|Damage||The ransomware encrypts computer-stored files and marks them with additional .sdjm extension. The virus leaves _readme.txt ransom note in every folder. This computer threat is also known to carry VIDAR Stealer alongside it. The ransomware may also delete Volume Shadow Copies and modify Windows HOSTS file to restrict computer user’s access to cybersecurity-related websites online.|
|Ransom demand||$490-$980 in Bitcoin|
|Distribution||Victims often download this ransomware along illegal torrent downloads, cracked software, activators, key generators or tools like KMSPico.|
|Known software cracks to contain this malware||Corel Draw, Tenorshare 4ukey, Adobe Photoshop, Cubase, Adobe Illustrator, Internet Download Manager, Tally, League of Legends.|
|Detection names||Ransom:Win32/StopCrypt.PAL!MTB (Microsoft), Trojan.Crypt (A) (Emsisoft), HEUR:Trojan-Ransom.Win32.Stop.gen (Kaspersky), Trojan.GenericKD.47850419 (BitDefender), Trojan.MalPack.GS (Malwarebytes), ML.Attribute.HighConfidence (Symantec) see all detection name variations on VirusTotal|
|Removal||Remove ransomware and related malware from your PC using professional software of your choice. We highly recommend using INTEGO Antivirus. To repair virus damage on Windows OS files, consider scanning with RESTORO.|
REPAIR VIRUS DAMAGE
Scan your system for FREE to detect security, hardware and stability issues. You can use the scan results and try to remove threats manually, or you can choose to get the full version of software to fix detected issues and repair virus damage to Windows OS system files automatically. Includes Avira spyware/malware detection & removal engine.
Avoiding ransomware infections
While there are a variety of distribution methods used for ransomware proliferation, the most common technique associated with STOP/DJVU variants such as SDJM virus relies on pirated software versions. The cybercriminals distribute fake setup files that are supposed to activate premium software licenses for free. These fake software versions can be downloaded either via rogue websites offering archived setup files secured with a password or torrents. What is even worse is that computer users with bad habits go as far as ignoring their security software alerts warning about potentially malicious download. Some of popular program names that cybercriminals are deceptively using to advertise ransomware installation files are listed below.
- Adobe Photoshop;
- KMSPico (illegal Windows activation tool);
- Tenorshare 4ukey;
- Corel Draw;
- VMware Workstation;
- Adobe Illustrator;
- League of Legends;
- Internet Download Manager;
- Various AV software.
Our team recommends you to stay away from shady websites offering paid content for free. If you’re looking for a specific software, you should visit its developer’s website or a confirmed partner’s site instead. Please, break the habit of trying to activate premium software products for free as this only exposes your computer to various security risks.
Another popular way to spread all sorts of malware including ransomware is malicious email spam. The criminals hide the payload in the email attachment that is usually named as something used in common daily communications, for instance, an invoice, waybill, order summary or similar. The malware typically comes in a form of a document such as Word, Excel or PDF file.
Do not trust suspicious emails arriving from someone that you didn’t expect to contact you. The main factor that guarantees the attackers’ success is victim’s curiosity – therefore, do not let it trick you. If you can sense that something is off with the email, never open attached files or click on inserted URLs. Moreover, if the sender’s email address looks legitimate, check if it wasn’t spoofed.
Cybercriminals can also distribute ransomware along fake software update tools. When browsing the Internet, do not rely on aggressive ads that pop up on your screen and claim that you need to update your computer programs. Legitimate software developers do not rely on such annoying marketing techniques and instead send reminders via software notifications directly. If you receive such ads frequently, you may want to check your computer for adware or at least review the websites you’re choosing for your daily browsing activities.
Final ransomware distribution method that we’d like to mention relies on fake data decryption tools. Beware of scammers who claim to have miracle solutions to data recovery. These can hide additional malware or another ransomware strain inside of them. If you’re looking for STOP/DJVU decryption and data repair solutions, remember that only Emsisoft and DiskTuna have trustworthy options for that.
More details about the ransomware
After breaking into the target system, the ransomware runs as an executable that’s typically named with 4 random chars. For instance, it may be named randomly as 1BG5.exe or 6D4N.exe. This main executable then downloads build.exe and build2.exe as well as winupdate.exe (this program displays fake Windows update screen). After gathering its core components, the ransomware begins the attack.
SDJM ransomware is designed to encrypt files in computers situated in specific countries only. It has been noticed that this threat suspends its processes if it detects that the victim’s computer is located in one of the following countries: Russia, Syria, Ukraine, Armenia, Tajikistan, Ukraine, Kazachstan, Kyrgyzstan, Belarus or Uzbekistan.
To find out victim’s location, the virus requests a response from https[:]//api.2ip.ua/geo.json domain and saves the result in geo.json file. This file contains country name, city name, IP address, zip code, longitude and latitude and more. You can see a screenshot of this file down below.
The virus then creates another file to store more details about the compromised system and names it as information.txt. This file contains details about the infected computer’s hardware specifics, active processes and installed software.
The ransomware then attempts to establish connection with its Command&Control server and request unique encryption key for the victim. If this works out, the victim’s files will be affected with so-called online encryption type which damages data without leaving chances to decrypt them for free. In case the virus fails to establish a connection with its server, it switches to another mode, widely known as offline encryption mode. For this encryption, it uses offline key which is hardcoded into the malware itself. This encryption type gives hope to decrypt files in the future, because the encryption key used is identical for all victims of offline encryption.
In other words, all those victims can recover their files using the same decryption key; therefore, if someone obtains the decryption key from the criminals and shares it with cybersecurity experts, the official decryption tool created by Emsisoft gets updated and becomes capable of restoring files encrypted by that specific virus version.
The virus creates two files to store the discussed information. The first file, located at
C:\Users\admin\AppData\Local\bowsakkdestx.txt is designed to store the encryption key and victim’s ID, while C:\SystemID\PersonalID.txt file holds the ID only. You can check whether you’re affected by offline encryption type by looking at your PersonalID.txt file – if the last two characters are t1, it means offline key was used. You can see screenshot of both files below.
The ransomware then begins encrypting all data on the computer and connected drives. The virus marks each file with additional .sdjm extension to make it clear which files were affected by the malware. The encryption type used is Salsa20 additionally secured with RSA-2048.
The malware drops a copy of the ransom note in each folder. Screenshot of the ransom-demanding message is displayed below.
After encrypting victim’s data, the virus deletes Volume Shadow Copies from the computer by running the following task in Command Prompt:
vssadmin.exe Delete Shadows /All /Quiet
Finally, the ransomware edits Windows HOSTS file by adding a list of domains and mapping them to localhost IP. This creates a DNS resolution error when trying to access these specific domains on victim’s computer. As a result, the computer user cannot access a set of cybersecurity blogs publishing relevant information on ransomware incidents and recommended response. When trying to open these sites, errors like DNS_PROBE_FINISHED_NXDOMAIN might appear in web browser window.
Remove SDJM Ransomware Virus and Decrypt Your Files
Victims of this STOP/DJVU malware variant are advised to remove SDJM ransomware virus with a robust antivirus software. Before running the AV solution, we recommend booting your computer in Safe Mode with Networking as explained in the guide provided by our team below. Booting in this mode is important because it deactivates malicious processes that might attempt to block your security software.
In case you do not have antivirus yet, you may want to use INTEGO Antivirus, a trustworthy program that continuously demonstrates excellent malware detection rates. It can also protect your computer in real-time to prevent further infections as you browse the Internet. Afterward, we recommend you to download RESTORO for repairing virus-damaged Windows OS files and minimising the impact of the malware.
Our team also recommends you to:
- Inform your local police department about the ransomware attack.
- Use your backup devices to restore as many files as possible.
- Learn possible ways files affected by STOP/DJVU could be decrypted.
- Change all passwords that were used on the compromised computer.
OUR GEEKS RECOMMEND
Our team recommends removing malware using a professional antivirus software and then using the following tool to repair virus damage to Windows system files:
REPAIR VIRUS DAMAGE TO YOUR COMPUTER
RESTORO provides a free scan that helps to identify hardware, security and stability issues and presents a comprehensive report which can help you to locate and fix detected issues manually. It is a great PC repair software to use after you remove malware with professional antivirus. The full version of software will fix detected issues and repair virus damage caused to your Windows OS files automatically.
RESTORO uses AVIRA scanning engine to detect existing spyware and malware. If any are found, the software will eliminate them.
Read full review here.
SDJM Ransomware Virus Removal Guidelines
Method 1. Enter Safe Mode with Networking
Step 1. Start Windows in Safe Mode with Networking
Before you try to remove SDJM Ransomware Virus virus, you must start your computer in Safe Mode with Networking. Below, we provide the easiest ways to boot PC in the said mode, but you can find additional ones in this in-depth tutorial on our website – How to Start Windows in Safe Mode. Also, if you prefer a video version of the tutorial, check our guide How to Start Windows in Safe Mode on Youtube.
Instructions for Windows XP/Vista/7 users
- First of all, turn off your PC. Then press the Power button to start it again and instantly start pressing F8 button on your keyboard repeatedly in 1-second intervals. This launches the Advanced Boot Options menu.
- Use arrow keys on the keyboard to navigate down to Safe Mode with Networking option and press Enter.
Instructions for Windows 8/8.1/10/11 users
- Open Windows Start menu, then press down the Power button. On your keyboard, press down and hold the Shift key, and then select Restart option.
- This will take you to Windows Troubleshoot screen. Choose Troubleshoot > Advanced Options > Startup Settings > Restart. Tip: If you can't find Startup Settings, click See more recovery options.
- In Startup Settings, press the right key between F1-F9 to enter Safe Mode with Networking. In this case, it is the F5 key.
Step 2. Remove files associated with the virus
Now, you can search for and remove SDJM Ransomware Virus files. It is very hard to identify files and registry keys that belong to the ransomware virus, Besides, malware creators tend to rename and change them repeatedly. Therefore, the easiest way to uninstall such type of a computer virus is to use a reliable security program such as INTEGO Antivirus, which also includes data recovery software. For virus damage repair, consider using RESTORO.
Compatibility: Microsoft Windows
See Full Review
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Method 2. Use System Restore
In order to use System Restore, you must have a system restore point, created either manually or automatically.
Step 1. Boot Windows in Safe Mode with Command Prompt
Instructions for Windows XP/Vista/7 users
- Shut down your PC. Start it again by pressing the Power button and instantly start pressing F8 button on your keyboard repeatedly in 1-second intervals. You will see Advanced Boot Options menu.
- Using arrow keys on the keyboard, navigate down to Safe Mode with Command Prompt option and press Enter.
Instructions for Windows 8/8.1/10/11 users
- Launch Windows Start menu, then click the Power button. On your keyboard, press down and hold the Shift key, and then choose Restart option with the mouse cursor.
- In Startup Settings, press the right key between F1-F9 to enter Safe Mode with Command Prompt. In this case, press F6 key.
Step 2. Start System Restore process
- Wait until system loads and command prompt shows up.
- Type cd restore and press Enter, then type rstrui.exe and press Enter. Or you can just type %systemroot%system32restorerstrui.exe in command prompt and hit Enter.
- This launches System Restore window. Click Next and then choose a System Restore point created in the past. Choose one that was created before ransomware infection.
- Click Yes to begin the system restoration process.
After restoring the system, we recommend scanning the system with antivirus or anti-malware software. In most cases, there won't be any malware remains, but it never hurts to double-check. In addition, we highly recommend checking ransomware prevention guidelines provided by our experts in order to protect your PC against similar viruses in the future.
Alternative software recommendations
Removing spyware and malware is one step towards cybersecurity. To protect yourself against ever-evolving threats, we strongly recommend purchasing a Premium version of Malwarebytes Anti-Malware, which provides security based on artificial intelligence and machine learning. Includes ransomware protection. See pricing options and protect yourself now.
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Decrypt SDJM files
Fix and open large SDJM files easily:
It is reported that STOP/DJVU ransomware versions encrypt only the beginning 150 KB of each file to ensure that the virus manages to affect all files on the system. In some cases, the malicious program might skip some files at all. That said, we recommend testing this method on several big (>1GB) files first.
- Create a copy of encrypted file to a separate folder using Copy > Paste commands.
- Now, right-click the created copy and choose Rename. Select the SDJM extension and delete it. Press Enter to save changes.
- In the prompt asking whether you want to make the changes as file might become unusable, click OK.
- Try opening the file.
STOP/DJVU decryption tool usage guide
STOP/DJVU ransomware versions are grouped into old and new variants. SDJM Ransomware Virus is considered the new STOP/DJVU variant, just like EEYU, AAYU, AABN, AAMV, AAWT, EEBN, (find full list here). This means full data decryption is now possible only if you have been affected by offline encryption key. To decrypt your files, you will have to download Emsisoft Decryptor for STOP DJVU, a tool created and maintained by a genius security researcher Michael Gillespie.
Note! Please do not spam the security researcher with questions whether he can recover your files encrypted with online key - it is not possible.
In order to test the tool and see if it can decrypt SDJM files, follow the given tutorial.
- Download the decryption tool from Emsisoft.
- Click the little arrow next to your download and choose Show in Folder.
- Now, right-click the file and choose Run as Administrator. If asked, enter administrator's password.
- In UAC window, click Yes.
- Click Yes to agree to software terms in both windows.
- The tool will automatically include C:// disk as a location to decrypt. The file recovery tool will prepopulate the locations to scan, including connected data storage drives or network drives. Click Add folder if you wish to add additional locations.
In Options tab, you can choose to keep encrypted file copies. We recommend leaving this option selected, especially if you do not know if the decryption tool will work.
- Click Decrypt to start restoring SDJM files. You will see the progress in the Results tab. Here, you can see messages from the tool, such as whether the decryption procedure is successful, or you need to wait for an update.
You might also be informed that online key was used to encrypt your files. In such case, the decryption tool won't work for you, and the only way to recover your files is to use a data backup.
Meanings of decryptor's messages
The SDJM decryption tool might display several different messages after failed attempt to restore your files. You might receive one of the following messages:
Error: Unable to decrypt file with ID: [example ID]
This message typically means that there is no corresponding decryption key in the decryptor's database.
No key for New Variant online ID: [example ID]
Notice: this ID appears to be an online ID, decryption is impossible
This message informs that your files were encrypted with online key, meaning no one else has the same encryption/decryption key pair, therefore data recovery without paying the criminals is impossible.
Result: No key for new variant offline ID: [example ID]
This ID appears to be an offline ID. Decryption may be possible in the future.
If you were informed that an offline key was used, but files could not be restored, it means that the offline decryption key isn't available yet. However, receiving this message is extremely good news, meaning that it might be possible to restore your SDJM extension files in the future. It can take a few months until the decryption key gets found and uploaded to the decryptor. We recommend you to follow updates regarding the decryptable DJVU versions here. We strongly recommend backing up your encrypted data and waiting.
Report Internet crime to legal departments
Victims of SDJM Ransomware Virus should report the Internet crime incident to the official government fraud and scam website according to their country:
- In the United States, go to the On Guard Online website.
- In Australia, go to the SCAMwatch website.
- In Germany, go to the Bundesamt für Sicherheit in der Informationstechnik website.
- In Ireland, go to the An Garda Síochána website.
- In New Zealand, go to the Consumer Affairs Scams website.
- In the United Kingdom, go to the Action Fraud website.
- In Canada, go to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre.
- In India, go to Indian National Cybercrime Reporting Portal.
- In France, go to the Agence nationale de la sécurité des systèmes d’information.
If you can't find an authority corresponding to your location on this list, we recommend using any search engine to look up "[your country name] report cyber crime". This should lead you to the right authority website. We also recommend staying away from third-party crime report services that are often paid. It costs nothing to report Internet crime to official authorities.
Another recommendation is to contact your country's or region’s federal police or communications authority.
Frequently Asked Questions
You can only open SDJM files if you have the decryption key, or if you were affected by offline encryption type.
To figure out whether you were affected by offline encryption, please go to C:/SystemID/PersonalID.txt and see if the string inside of it ends in t1. You can also try using Emsisoft Decryptor for STOP/DJVU.
Please follow the guidances provided by the official SDJM decryption tools and believe what they say. If they say it is impossible to decrypt, it really is so. There is no magic tool or human capable of decrypting your files hiding somewhere. Encryption is a technique created to be nearly impossible to decrypt without a special private key (held by the criminals).
We advise scanning with anti-virus, anti-malware, malware removal tools or software like RESTORO to eliminate virus damage on the system. If you do not trust using a single tool, try running one after another. However, we do not recommend keeping several security programs on a computer at once as they can interfere with each other's work.
Beware of fake SDJM decryption tools circulating around the web. Cyber criminals are uploading them to various shady websites, also might be promoting them via suspicious Youtube videos. These programs can infect your computer even more heavily (Trojans, miners, etc.). We suggest being extremely cautious around the web. If there will be an official STOP/DJVU decryption tool available, it will be widely discussed in public media.
Norbert Webb is the head of Geek’s Advice team. He is the chief editor of the website who controls the quality of content published. The man also loves reading cybersecurity news, testing new software and sharing his insights on them. Norbert says that following his passion for information technology was one of the best decisions he has ever made. “I don’t feel like working while I’m doing something I love.” However, the geek has other interests, such as snowboarding and traveling.