Malwarebytes rolls out free decryption tool for VindowsLocker ransomware victims' By: Jay Decenella
2 minute read

Malwarebytes has released a free decryption tool to help victims of a recent ransomware attack recover their data from cyber criminals employing a tech support scam technique. The new ransomware variant called VindowsLocker surfaced last week. It works by connecting victims to phony Microsoft technicians to have their files encrypted using a Pastebin API.

Tech support scammers have been targeting unsuspecting internet users for quite a while now. A combination of social engineering and deception, the malicious tactic has evolved from cold calls to fake alerts and, most recently, screen locks. Tech support scammers have now added ransomware to their attack arsenal.

Jakub Kroustek, an AVG security researcher, first detected the VindowsLocker ransomware and named the threat based on the file extension .vindows it appends to all encrypted files. The VindowsLocker ransomware uses the AES encryption algorithm to lock files with the following extensions:

txt, doc, docx, xls, xlsx, ppt, pptx, odt, jpg, png, csv, sql, mdb, sln, php, asp, aspx, html, xml, psd

VindowsLocker mimics tech support scam

The ransomware employs a tactic typical of most tech support scams in that victims are asked to call a phone number provided and talk to a tech support personnel. In contrast, ransomware attacks in the past asked for payments and handled decryption keys using a Dark Web portal.

this not microsoft vindows support
we have locked your files with the zeus virus
do one thing and call level 5 microsoft support technician at 1-844-609-3192
you will files back for a one time charge of $349.99

Malwarebytes believes the scammers operate based out of India and mimic Microsoft’s tech support personnel. VindowsLocker also uses a seemingly legit Windows support page to give the false impression that the tech support is ready to help the victims. The support page asks for the victim’s email address and banking credentials to process the payment of $349.99 to unlock a computer. However, paying the ransom money doesn’t help users recover their files according to Malwarebytes. This is because VindowsLocker developers are now unable to automatically decrypt an infected computer due to some coding errors.

Malwarebytes explains that VindowsLocker ransomware coders have botched one of the API keys intended for use in short sessions. Consequently, the API key expires after a short period and the encrypted files go online, barring the VindowsLocker developers from providing the AES encryption keys to victims.

Read also:

Next up

These features are out for good with Windows 10 version 1809' By: Sovan Mandal
2 minute read

Microsoft is all set to launch its next big update, Windows 10 version 1809 in October. While that should be a nice piece of news […]

Continue Reading

Windows 10 18H2 builds no longer receive new features

By: Matthew Adams
3 minute read

The Windows 10 October 2018 Update (otherwise 18H2) rollout might now be two to three weeks away. For the last few months, new build previews […]

Continue Reading

Windows 7 KB4457139 makes it easier to upgrade to Windows 10

By: Madeleine Dean
2 minute read

Microsoft released a new Windows 7 update to the general public. Update KB4457139 is actually a preview of the upcoming monthly rollup update and allows users […]

Continue Reading