A new variant of Cryptomix ransomware that is called .WORK file virus targets a wide range of users. The attack aims at forcing the user to pay the ransom. In exchange, the crooks state they are to release the decryption key that is able to decrypt the scrambled content.
The distribution of WORK ransomware harnesses a typical and familiar for malware researchers scheme that features a spam email with a viral content attached.
The content attached may be a fake invoice seeking the debt to be transferred. It contains the ransomware installation trigger, the macros embedded. By default, the user views the content in the Protected View. They see the message above that has a button Enable Edition. Despite the warning reading that email attachments contain viruses, too many users opt for clicking the said button. The ransomware installation begins.
The macro released from the infected attachment completes the installation. The scanning begins. It is, again, a general routine that nearly any ransomware implements. This allows the infection to avoid unnecessary damages. The system is able to survive and display the ransom note, as well as bring the users to the online payment site.
Each folder containing the files affected also contains _HELP_INSTRUCTION.TXT. This note is going to teach the victims how they are going to pay the ransom to their attackers. The latter is available on the desktop. Having completed its tasks, the executable destroys itself.
All encrypted files get new .WORK extension and look like this: dAeA593714060636C21EC8BC102FEA62.WORK.
Infected users may follow our tips below in order to remove the WORK ransomware and decrypt their files.
Automatic removal of WORK file virus
The benefits of using the automatic security suite to get rid of this infection are obvious: it scans the entire system and detects all potential fragments of the virus, so you are a few mouse clicks away from a complete fix.
- Download and install recommended malware security suite
- Select Start Computer Scan feature and wait until the utility comes up with the scan report. Proceed by clicking on the Fix Threats button, which will trigger a thorough removal process to address all the malware issues compromising your computer and your privacy.
Restore files locked by WORK file virus
WORK file virus represents a unique category of malicious software whose attack surface reaches beyond the operating system and its components, which is why removing the virus itself is a part of the fix only. As it has been mentioned, it encrypts one’s personal information, so the next phase of the overall remediation presupposes reinstating the files that will otherwise remain inaccessible.
Launch data recovery software
Similarly to the rest of its fellow-infections, WORK file most likely follows an operational algorithm where it erases the original versions of the victim’s files and actually encrypts their copies. This peculiarity might make your day, because forensics-focused applications like Data Recovery Pro are capable of restoring the information that has been removed. As the virus further evolves, its modus operandi may be altered – in the meanwhile, go ahead and try this.
Take advantage of Volume Shadow Copy Service
This technique is based on using the native backup functionality that’s shipped with Windows operating system. Also referred to as Volume Snapshot Service (VSS), this feature makes regular backups of the user’s files and keeps their most recent versions as long as System Restore is on. WORK file virus hasn’t been found to affect these copies therefore the restoration vector in question is strongly recommended. The two sub-sections below highlight the automatic and manual workflow.
- a) Use Shadow Explorer
Shadow Explorer is an applet that provides an easy way of retrieving previous versions of files and folders. Its pro’s include an intuitive interface where the computer’s entire file hierarchy is displayed within one window. Just pick the hard disk volume, select the object or directory to be restored, right-click on it and choose Export. Follow the app’s prompts to get the job done.
- b) Use file properties
Essentially, what the above-mentioned Shadow Explorer tool does is it automates the process that can otherwise be performed manually via the Properties dialog for individual files. This particular approach is more cumbrous but just as effective as its software-based counterpart, so you can proceed by right-clicking on a specific file, which has been encrypted by WORK Ransomware, and selecting Properties in the context menu. The tab named Previous Versions is the next thing to click – it displays available versions of the file by date of the snapshot creation. Pick the latest copy and complete the retrieval by following the prompts.
Data backups work wonders
Ransomware like WORK Ransomware isn’t nearly as almighty and destructive in case you run regular file backups to the cloud or external data media. The virus itself can be completely removed in a matter of minutes, and the distorted information can then be just as easily recovered from the backup. Luckily, this is a growing trend, so ransom Trojans are hopefully going to become less subversive in the near future.
Verify thoroughness of the removal
Having carried out the instructions above, add a finishing touch to the security procedure by running an additional computer scan to check for residual malware activity