YTBN ransomware seeks to take your personal files hostage
- YTBN ransomware seeks to take your personal files hostage
- Specifics of STOP/DJVU ransomware distribution
- Remove YTBN ransomware virus and decrypt or repair your files
- Decrypt YTBN files
- Frequently Asked Questions
YTBN ransomware is the 290th variant of infamous STOP/DJVU file-encrypting computer virus that’s been used as virtual extortion tool since 2019. Once launched on the target system, it scans all folders and encrypts personal files stored in them using RSA algorithm. The virus appends additional .ytbn extension to encrypted files and drops _readme.txt ransom notes in every folder. To illustrate, file previously named 1.jpg becomes 1.jpg.ytbn after the attack. The ransom note contains a brief message from cybercriminals who state that encrypted files can only be recovered with a tool they suggest purchasing. The ransom they demand for file recovery tool costs between $490-$980 in Bitcoin. The price is lower if the victim writes to criminals within 72 hours; to contact the attackers, one can write either to email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org email.
The ransom note informs the victim that all files including pictures, videos, documents, archives and other important files were encrypted with “strongest algorithm” and can only be decrypted with software offered by the ransomware developers. The crooks suggest contacting them via provided emails for further information, including how to pay the ransom. It is a known fact that the attackers ask to receive the ransom in cryptocurrency to preserve the anonymity.
In addition, they suggest attaching one encrypted file to test the decryption tool and promise to reply with a decrypted file version. This is done in order to encourage the victim pay the ransom as quickly as possible. On top of that, the note suggests that the victim will “never restore data without payment.” Additionally, the criminals offer a 50% discount for the YTBN ransomware decryption tool if the victim contacts them and pays the ransom within first 72 hours. In this case, the ransom price will be $490. Otherwise, the full price is $980.
Paying ransom to cybercriminals is a strict no due to many reasons repeatedly emphasized by cybersecurity professionals:
- Paying the ransom doesn’t always mean restoring your data successfully. Failure to decrypt data might occur due to changes in decryption tool, loss of private decryption key on criminals’ end or any alteration to files on yours.
- Criminals might try to extort more money from you after receiving the first payment.
- Paying the ransom might be illegal in your country.
- Transferring money to criminals means keeping this crime industry alive. The ransomware operators collect millions in ransoms each year – do not let them thrive!
Ransomware silently installs information-stealing Trojan
YTBN ransomware is known to install AZORULT Trojan on the system. Of course, this isn’t mentioned in the _readme.txt note dropped by the ransomware. This Trojan is extremely dangerous as its functionality is very versatile and can be used to steal various kinds of sensitive information from victim’s computer, such as:
- Browsing history;
- Login credentials;
- Skype chat history;
- Cryptocurrency wallets;
- Steam and Telegram login details;
- Browser cookies.
Additionally, this malware can execute various commands as desired from the cybercriminal who controls it remotely. For example, the attacker can perform actions such as viewing files, downloading or deleting them, drop malware and more. The list of virtual crimes that can be performed with the help of this malware is lengthy. For this reason, you should protect your computer and your privacy as soon as possible. We recommend you to remove YTBN ransomware virus and AZORULT using trustworthy malware removal software of your choice. In addition, we recommend scanning with RESTORO to repair virus damage on Windows OS files.
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.
|Name||YTBN Ransomware Virus|
|Type||Ransomware; Crypto-malware; Virtual Extortion Virus|
|Previous versions||VGKF, NQHD, ZAQI, YBER, VFGJ, FHKF, MAAK (find full list here)|
|Damage||This virus uses RSA algorithm to encrypt personal files on the compromised computer. The affected files will be marked with additional extension identical to the virus’ name. The ransomware is known to drop AZORULT Trojan on the computer and execute CMD commands to delete Volume Shadow Copies. Finally, the malware modifies Windows HOSTS file to block a list of computer-help providing domains online.|
|Ransom demand||$490-$980 in Bitcoin|
|Distribution||This ransomware is distributed via torrent downloads, including software cracks, keygens or KMSPico.|
|Detection names||Trojan:Win32/Glupteba (Microsoft), Glupteba.Backdoor.Bruteforce.DDS (Malwarebytes), TR/AD.InstaBot.ysgps (Avira), HEUR:Exploit.Win32.Shellcode.gen (Kaspersky), Trojan.Crypt (A)(Emsisoft), see all detection name variations on VirusTotal|
|Removal||Remove the ransomware with the help of trustworthy anti-malware program, then consider scanning with RESTORO to repair virus damage on Windows OS files.|
Specifics of STOP/DJVU ransomware distribution
YTBN ransomware virus spreads using a technique inherent for all STOP/DJVU versions, including the most recent ENFP, EKVF and others. This malware family is known to use a very particular technique without combining several ones like other ones do. It awaits in illegal torrent downloads mainly, such as software or game cracks, key generation tools, or KMSPico. That said, the primary targets of this virus is people who try to bypass software license fee by downloading illegal and “cracked” versions, hoping to activate premium features for free.
The success of this technique also relies on victims’ willingness to ignore security software warnings about potentially malicious torrent download. Therefore, even if the victim gets alerted about a malicious download, one proceeds to open it anyway. This results in a complete data encryption on one’s computer. Additionally, we’d like to mention that downloading illegal or copyright-protected files is the quickest way to infect your PC with a variety of malware, such as remote access Trojans, cryptocurrency miners, password stealers, viruses, spyware and other unwanted programs. We strongly recommend supporting content and software creators and obtaining such products from official sources only.
Avoiding other ransomware strains
In order to avoid ransomware in general, you should get to know common distribution tricks used to spread these viruses. One of the most common methods is malicious email spam. The crooks try their best to create convincing email messages and eye-catching subject lines to convince the victim to open attached file and get infected. Most of the time, the attackers pretend to be writing on behalf of reputable and well-known companies, such as Amazon, eBay, DHL, DPD, UPS and others. The message usually suggests opening attached document/invoice in an urgent-tone, stating it contains important information about a missing/pending payment.
Our recommendation is to stay away from emails that you didn’t wait for or ones that seem completely unexpected. If possible, contact the sender or the said company behind it (make sure you google its contact details and not use the ones provided in the message) to confirm that the email is legit. Remember – even if the sender’s email seems legit, it can be spoofed.
Finally, another popular technique to spread similar malware is packing it with fake software update installers. These can hide in fake Adobe Flash Player or Java updates advertised on untrustworthy websites. Remember – most of the time, these ads are deceptive and meant to infect your computer with a bouquet of unwanted software. For this reason, you should only download software or updates from confirmed sources only.
For more information about ransomware protection practices, see this post.
Remove YTBN ransomware virus and decrypt or repair your files
The guidelines presented below will help you to remove YTBN ransomware virus safely. Make sure you use a trustworthy anti-malware software for the virus removal. We also strongly recommend finalising the system purification using RESTORO, which helps to repair virus damage on Windows OS files.
Once YTBN virus removal is done, please change all of your passwords for accounts saved in your browsers, also apps like Telegram or Steam. This is advised due to the possibility of information theft by the Azorult Trojan. Additionally, we suggest reporting Internet crime incident to an institution responsible for handling such events in your country. We have also added a file decryption/repair guide below.
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:
YTBN 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 YTBN 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 YTBN 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 YTBN files
Fix and open large YTBN 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 YTBN 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. YTBN ransomware virus is considered the new STOP/DJVU variant, just like VGKF, NQHD, ZAQI, YBER, VFGJ, FHKF, MAAK (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 YTBN 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 YTBN 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 YTBN 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 YTBN 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 YTBN 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 YTBN 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 YTBN 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 YTBN 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.