Remove XCMB Ransomware Virus (DECRYPT .XCMB FILES)
- Remove XCMB Ransomware Virus (DECRYPT .XCMB FILES)
- Ransomware distribution methods you should be wary of
- What happens during STOP/DJVU ransomware attack
- Remove XCMB Ransomware Virus and Recover Your Files
- Decrypt XCMB files
- Frequently Asked Questions
XCMB ransomware is a dangerous file-encrypting malware that belongs to the notorious STOP/DJVU ransomware group. This virus is known to operate by encrypting the entire files contained in any computer it infiltrates and completes the process by appending .xcmb extension to each file name as a way of marking it out. E.g. a file hitherto saved as 1.jpg becomes 1.jpg.xcmb and same format is replicated on other files. While the process is still ongoing, a ransom note known as _readme.txt will be dropped in all the folders. The ransom note contains a directive from the cybercriminals instructing the victim to pay a certain amount of money as ransom in exchange for XCMB decryption tool.
They will claim that the only way to recover the encrypted files is through a decryption tool they will make available to the victim once they make a payment. To facilitate the payment process, they will notify the victim about their email addresses (i.e. email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org) already forwarded in the ransom note.
There are also terms of payment the victim would be expected to comply with. For instance, they will emphasize that if the victim responds to their demand in 72 hours or less, he will be entitled to a 50% discount. In other words, instead of paying the full ransom fee of $980, he would now pay $490. However, once the 3 days/72 hours grace elapses, only the full ransom demand would be acceptable.
Peradventure, the victim decides to reach out to them, he will be notified that ransom payment can only be made through cryptocurrency, whereby the cryptocurrency equivalence of the ransom demand would have to be transferred to a particular wallet address they would make available. They chose this option obviously to cover their tracks and prevent possible tracing by law enforcement agents. In order to encourage the victim to comply, they may suggest that excerpts of the encrypted files should be forwarded to them for test decryption. They would also emphasize that such excerpt must not contain any message that could be perceived as important to the victim.
Regardless of the situation, our cybersecurity experts recommend that it is best for victims to follow FBI guidelines which generally prohibit any form of ransom payment. This recommendation is based on the following reasons:
- Paying ransom does not guarantee that your encrypted files will be restored
- When you pay ransom, you’re encouraging cybercriminals since it will become profitable
- With more ransom money in their disposal, they would be able to employ more hands and broaden their threat
Also note that the virus is known to release information stealing Trojans like VIDAR, AZORULT etc. on the compromised computer. Such Trojans can covertly steal personal details including browser-saved passwords, banking details, cryptocurrency wallets, software login credentials, browsing history etc. Once they can obtain such sensitive details, further blackmail can’t be ruled out.
Anyone that finds himself at the receiving end of this malware should endeavor to remove XCMB ransomware virus as soon as possible. You can do this by scanning an active antivirus while your computer is in Safe Mode with Networking set up. If you do not have an antivirus software yet, we simply recommend INTEGO Antivirus– you can read its full review here. As an additional step, you may want to download RESTORO and try to repair virus damage on Windows OS files.
|Name||XCMB Ransomware Virus|
|Type||Ransomware; Crypto-malware; Virtual Extortion Virus|
|Encryption type||RSA 2048 + Salsa20|
|Previous versions||NQHD, ZAQI, YBER, VFGJ, FHKF, MAAK, QQQW (find full list here)|
|Cybercriminal email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org|
|Additional malware dropped||Azorult or Vidar Trojan|
|Damage||The ransomware uses robust encryption algorithms to make all files on the computer system inaccessible, also appends them with .xcmb extensions and saves _readme.txt ransom notes in every folder. As a bonus, the virus may drop information-stealing Trojans on the system and delete Volume Shadow Copies to prevent access to existing System Restore Points. Some versions may also edit Windows HOSTS file to block access to a set of domains.|
|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||Trojan:Win32/Krypter.AA!MTB (Microsoft), Gen:Variant.Fragtor.36858 (B) (Emsisoft), UDS:Trojan.Win32.Scarsi.gen (Kaspersky), Gen:Variant.Fragtor.36858 (BitDefender), MachineLearning/Anomalous.95% (Malwarebytes), Packed.Generic.528 (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.|
REMOVE MALWARE & REPAIR VIRUS DAMAGE
1 Step. Get robust antivirus to remove existing threats and enable real-time protection
INTEGO Antivirus for Windows provides robust real-time protection, Web Shield against phishing and deceptive websites, blocks malicious downloads and blocks Zero-Day threats. Use it to remove ransomware and other viruses from your computer professionally.
2 Step. Repair Virus Damage on Windows Operating System Files
Download RESTORO to scan your system for FREE and 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.
Ransomware distribution methods you should be wary of
On a general perspective, most victims’ computer systems often become compromised with STOP/DJVU variants such as XCMB virus following attempts at downloading malicious torrents. Note that these variants of malware are known to hibernate in unwholesome software contents such as pirated software copies, “cracks” or key generators. Therefore, these sorts of products should be avoided at all costs. Over the years, victims of ransomware have reported that their computer systems became compromised after visiting online torrents libraries. Some of the most popular software contents the cybercriminals often make use of, include the following:
- Corel Draw;
- Tenorshare 4ukey;
- Internet Download Manager;
- Opera browser;
- Fifa 20;
- VMware Workstation;
- Adobe Photoshop;
- Adobe Illustrator;
- League of Legends;
- KMSPico (illegal Windows activation tool).
At this point, it has become evident that users should avoid visiting online torrents libraries to protect their computer systems from malware attacks. It is not a smart idea by trying to obtain copyrighted software contents at little or no costs, considering the risks attached to it. Ransom demands can be outrageous and malware attacks can equally be disruptive. On the contrary, by paying the legitimate cost as advertised by the original content producers, you’re encouraging them to remain profitable which in turn will lead to more products. In addition to that, you will not be at risk losing sensitive data, money or having your work/activities disrupted.
The biggest challenge is that trying to decipher if a particular email is legitimate or carrying a malware can be quite difficult. The cybercriminals have become more sophisticated in recent times and are now known to impersonate popular brands like Amazon, UPS, FedEx, eBay etc. They even go further to use enticing labels such as Tracking Details, Invoice or Order Summary etc. On the other hand, they may even decide to make use of email spoofing techniques to hide the originating address. To be on the safe side, users are advised to abstain from opening emails indiscriminately. If you’re not expecting a particular email then it may not be wise to open such when it lands in your inbox or scam.
For those that are victims of STOP/DJVU ransomware already, it is advisable to refrain from visiting websites that claim to provide decryption services because such do not exist at the moment. Also note that cybercriminals often make use of fake STOP/DJVU decryptors to spread other types of ransomware. Some victims may argue they have nothing else to lose but that’s not true because such fake tools can lead to double encryption.
What happens during STOP/DJVU ransomware attack
For victims that may be wondering about the extent to which their computer system may have been compromised during the XCMB ransomware attack, this section is for you. However, the malware is known to launch build.exe or build2.exe as well as winupdate.exe. The latter is what displays the fake Windows screen. Afterwards, it will connect to https[:]//api.2ip.ua/geo.json while saving the result in geo.json file. Once it gets to this stage, it will start gathering every available piece of information about the compromised computer such as its geolocation, time zone, zip code, latitude and longitude. Additionally, the virus saves some information about the computer such as computer name, operating system version as well as hardware and software details. These vital pieces of information will be forwarded to their server.
Below are some typical examples of geo.json file.
You can also see an example of information.txt file below.
The computer’s geolocation will be profiled against their encryption-encrypted nations which are Russia, Belarus, Syria, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Armenia, Kyrgyzstan, Ukraine and Kazachstan. If it shows positive to any of the listed countries, it will abort its mission but if otherwise, it will proceed to the next stage.
Having scaled the first hurdle, the ransomware will then extract online encryption key from their server, which would be compiled in addition with the victim’s ID and sent to bowsakkdestx.txt file and to PersonalID.txt file.
Here is an example of how these files appear.
Peradventure the virus couldn’t extract an online encryption ID, it will resort to the use of an offline encryption ID. The difference between the two is that while online ID makes of use of a unique key that is peculiar to each victim, the offline one rather uses a uniform one. You can detect if an offline key was used if it has t1 characters appearing at the end of the personal ID. Use of offline keys means there is a higher chance of decrypting .XCMB files someday.
More information on this is provided in this guide on decrypting/repairing files affected by STOP/DJVU variants.
At this point, malware will commence full data encryption by scanning the entire folders and encrypting them with Salsa20 before locking the encryption key with RSA-2048 key. It will also mark the files with additional extensions.
In the image below is a screenshot of _readme.txt ransom note that are usually dropped in each folder.
The next thing it does is to delete all Volume Shadow Copies by making use of the Command Prompt as displayed here: vssadmin.exe Delete Shadows /All /Quiet
Afterwards, it will add certain domains to the Windows HOSTS file which would be sent to a localhost IP. This move effectively bars the victim from accessing any of the blacklisted websites. DNS_PROBE_FINISHED_NXDOMAIN error message would appear on the screen any time the victim tries to open any of the websites. The reason why the cybercriminals do this is to prevent the victim from getting help online.
Remove XCMB Ransomware Virus and Recover Your Files
It is important to reiterate that victims should as a matter of necessity, report any incidence of malware attack to the appropriate authorities, and of course, also remove the XCMB ransomware virus as soon as they can. You can take the steps listed below on how to go about it.
You can also make use of the guide provided here on how to set up your computer in Safe Mode with Networking Option. This option is the most suitable because it will limit certain functions thus enabling the antivirus software to work effectively in removing the malware. You can always make use of INTEGO Antivirus or any other strong and reliable one. Next step we recommend doing is to download RESTORO and try it to repair virus damage on Windows OS files.
Once you have succeeded in removing the XCMB ransomware virus, it is recommended that you should take the following steps:
- Any form of ransomware attack should be reported to the relevant local law enforcement agencies.
- Leverage any of your backup devices to restore your lost files. However, you must ensure that the virus is completely removed before attaching any external storage device to your compromised computer system.
- You may consider learning how to decrypt/repair files that were encrypted by certain variants of STOP/DJVU virus.
- It is very important that you should change all passwords that were associated with the compromised computer. Such passwords include the ones that were saved on your browser, telegram, software contents etc.
In summary, you should avoid accessing online torrents libraries, indiscriminate opening of emails/email attachments, and also ensure to install a strong and reliable antivirus in your computer system and update it always.
OUR GEEKS RECOMMEND
Our team recommends a two-step rescue plan to remove ransomware and other remaining malware from your computer, plus repair caused virus damage to the system:
XCMB 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 XCMB 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, see a video tutorial on how to do it:
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 XCMB 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
RESTORO is a unique PC Repair Tool which comes with an in-built Avira scan engine to detect and remove spyware/malware threats and uses a patented technology to repair virus damage. The software can repair damaged, missing or malfunctioning Windows OS files, corrupted DLLs, and more. The free version offers a scan that detects issues. To fix them, license key for the full software version must be purchased.
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 XCMB files
Fix and open large XCMB 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 XCMB 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. XCMB Ransomware Virus is considered the new STOP/DJVU variant, just like NQHD, ZAQI, YBER, VFGJ, FHKF, MAAK, QQQW (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 XCMB 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 XCMB 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 XCMB 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 XCMB 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 XCMB 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 XCMB 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 XCMB 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 XCMB 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.