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CryptConsole ransomware virus. How to remove? (Uninstall guide)

removal by Olivia Morelli - - | Type: Ransomware

CryptConsole – a decryptable ransomware that keeps coming back with new variants in 2018

Displaying CryptConsole
CryptConsole is a virus that keeps coming back with different variants and locking up users' files using a complicated encryption algorithm.

Questions about CryptConsole ransomware virus

CryptConsole is a ransomware virus that has been active since January 2017. The 2.0 variant came soon after the first one – in February of the same year, and the latest member of the virus family is CryptConsole-2018, which is extremely active this year. The earlier versions of malware asked to pay 0.2 Bitcoins for data recovery; then hackers proceeded to demand 0.7BTC, while the most recent releases, like xzer@tutanota.com, demand a lesser payment of $1000 in Bitcoin. The functionality of all versions of ransomware has similar features but uses different contact email address and the file extension (or a prefix) name. Latest virus variants use redbul@tutanota.com and heineken@tuta.io email addresses, which are used to contact virus authors. Fortunately, all variants of this cyber threat seem to be decryptable.

SUMMARY
Name CryptConsole 
Type Ransomware
Versions

someone_ne@india.com, decipher_ne@outlook.com, unCrypte@outlook.com, qar48@tutanota.com, xzer@tutanota.com, szem@tutanota.com, desparo@tuta.io
helps@tutanota.com,  xser@tutanota.com, redbul@tutanota.com, heineken@tuta.io

Ransom size  0.14, 0.2 or 0.7 BTC
Distribution Spam email attachments, malicious websites, etc.
 Danger level Medium. Does not encrypt files; however, renames them so that the victim cannot use them
 Elimination Automatic deletion only – download Reimage or Malwarebytes Anti Malware

Changing file names back and adding the correct extension would make data usable again. Fortunately, official decryptors are available to execute this task. However, in April 2018, security researcher Michael Gillespie[1] discovered a new variation of the virus, which appends xzet@tutanota.com extension. According to the specialist, this version of CryptConsole is still decryptable, although it requires the researcher to look at each case individually as the decryptor might not work.

Following that, in June 2018, Gillespie discovered[2] the new variant of CryptConsole which uses xser@tutanota.com email address and demands $1000 in BTC for file release. Nevertheless, decryption of this version is possible, and users affected by this virus should contact the researcher. As of now, he cannot disclose weakness of the ransomware, as it is still extremely active.

CryptConsole - redbul@tuta.io version
Cybercrooks offer a single file decryption service for an extra of $50

Ransomware did not wait for long to show up again. In early July 2018, security experts discovered another two new variants of CryptConsole virus – Redbul@tutanota.com and heineken@tuta.io. Similarly to previous versions, the malware uses an email address + randomly generated numbers as file extensions. Redbul@tutanota.com uses rEADME.txt or readme.txt ransom notes, and also offers users to decrypt one file (up to 10MB) for an extra of $50 payment for the service. Both of these versions are decryptable.

The second ransomware's version – CryptConsole2 seems to be more sophisticated than its predecessors. This version can encrypt victim's files with AES or similar encryption algorithm (experts are still discussing on this part) and then require 0.7 BTC for their decryption. The virus also drops “README.hta” ransom note that asks the victim to use xzer@tutanota.com or desparo@tuta.io for getting in touch with its developers. We do not recommend that as each of its versions are decryptable. 

The latest variant of the virus, dubbed CryptConsole-2018, includes all the versions which appeared in 2018. The most famous one is Sequre ransomware, which appends sequre@tuta.io_ [hex], sequre@tuta.io_ [random_0-9A-Z] or [ransom_email] _ [0-9A-the Z] file extensions, and demands 0.14BTC for file release. The virus also drops ransom note called HOW DECRIPT FILES.hta which is displayed in virtually the same manner as previous messages from hackers.

Origins of the CryptoConsole are still unknown

At first, it was believed that Crypt Console ransomware is closely related to Globe ransomware as the .HTA file presented to victims looks identical to the one which is used by Globe.[3] However, the virus does not encrypt[4] data, and all threats are bogus. Nevertheless, CryptConsole removal should be performed urgently (it might open the doors to other severe infections).

The ransom note of this virus reads:

Your files are encrypted!
Your personal ID:
Discovered a serious vulnerability in your network security.
No data was stolen and no one will be able to do it while they are encrypted.
For you we have automatic decryptor and instructions for remediation.
How to get the automatic decryptor:
1) 0.7 BTC

Buy BTC on one of these sites:
https://localbitcoins.com
https://www.coinbase.com
https://xchange.cc

bitcoin adress for pay:
Send 0.7 BTC

2) Send screenshot of payment to someone_ne@india.com. In the letter include your personal ID(look at the beginning of this document).
3) You will receive automatic decryptor and all files will be restored
* To be sure in getting the decryption, you can send one file(less than 10MB) to bit-tray@tutanota.com In the letter include your personal ID(look at the beginning of this document). But this action will increase the cost of the automatic decryptor on 0.1 btc…
Attention!
• No Payment = No decryption
• You really get the decryptor after payment
• Do not attempt to remove the program or run the anti-virus tools
• Attempts to self-decrypting files will result in the loss of your data
• Decoders other users are not compatible with your data, because each user’s unique encryption key
• If you can’t send a message, try to write with the other e-mail address, for example register mail.tutanota.com

CryptConsole-2018 virus
CryptConsole-2018 is the latest variant of the virus and remains extremely active in 2018.

As you can see, the victim is asked to send 0.7 or more Bitcoins to a provided Bitcoin address, make a screenshot of the transaction document and send it to criminals via email. Currently, known email addresses that are associated with the virus are:

  • someone_ne@india.com;
  • something_ne@india.com;
  • decipher_ne@outlook.com;
  • unCrypte@outlook.com;
  • qar48@tutanota.com;
  • xzet@tutanota.com;
  • szem@tutanota.com;
  • desparo@tuta.io
  • xser@tutanota.com
  • redbul@tutanota.com
  • heineken@tuta.io

The files are renamed accordingly using these email addresses, depending on the version. For example, a file called picture.jpg gets renamed to picture.jpg.someone_ne@india.com or picture.jpg.qar48@tutanota.com. This behavior mimics working ransomware. However, as we already mentioned, files do not get corrupted, unlike in the case of Cerber[5] or Spora viruses.

CryptConsole virus
Multiple AV engines recognize the executable file as malicious.

If this foolish virus has attacked you, better remove CryptConsole or its second version ASAP with anti-malware tools like Reimage or Plumbytes Anti-MalwareWebroot SecureAnywhere AntiVirus. There is already a decrypter for this virus available, and you can find its download link below the post.

What is interesting about this virus is that it suggests the victim try the imaginary “decryption service.” It asks to send a file not larger than 10MB to one of the emails mentioned above and include the personal ID, which is written in the HOW TO DECRYPT YOUR FILES ransom note. However, other viruses typically suggest this proof that decryptor exists for free, and CryptConsole ransomware doesn’t.

It says that if the victim wants to restore one file and find out that the decrypter actually works, the initial ransom price increases by 0.1 BTC. No matter what, you shouldn’t care about the price of the ransom because you can recover your files for free. Before you use the decrypter created by a malware researcher M. Gillespie, you should complete the CryptConsole elimination procedure using proper anti-malware tools.

Ransomware might sneak into device not only from a malicious email

Criminals distribute malicious payload using social engineering.[6] They often send thousands of spam emails directed to unsuspecting users. Their primary goal is to make the malicious file look like it is a safe one.

So they create a document named, for example, “Invoice,” “Scan,” “Purchase Order” or similar. Typically, they use .doc, .pdf or .txt file formats (however, other file types can be used as well), and insert a script into them, which has to be opened with Macro function. If the victim proceeds with opening the file, the malicious script downloads malware from the Internet and immediately infects the entire system with it, meaning that all data gets corrupted.

Other ransomware viruses can infect systems by using vulnerabilities in the system, so it is advisable to keep all programs up-to-date and protect the system with decent anti-malware software.

CryptConsole2 ransomware
CryptConsole2 came out shortly after the original version - in February 2018.

Delete CryptConsole and recover your files

Security experts[7] advise that the best way to remove CryptConsole virus is to perform a system scan with anti-malware software. Such scan checks the system and finds all malicious files associated with the malware. You might also detect some potentially unwanted programs on the system.

It goes without saying that to removing spyware/malware automatically takes less time and detects more infectious files than the manual method. Besides, ransomware is a very complex program, and it is tough to remove it. Therefore, before you run the system scan, read these CryptConsole removal instructions first. Then, you can download the decrypter and learn how to rename your files to previous states.

 

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If you failed to remove infection using Reimage, submit a question to our support team and provide as much details as possible.
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To remove CryptConsole virus, follow these steps:

Remove CryptConsole using Safe Mode with Networking

To start the removal process, reboot your PC using explanations provided below. This will help to deactivate the virus. In some cases, this step is not necessary, however, it is always better to remove malware when the computer is in a Safe Mode.

  • Step 1: Reboot your computer to Safe Mode with Networking

    Windows 7 / Vista / XP
    1. Click Start Shutdown Restart OK.
    2. When your computer becomes active, start pressing F8 multiple times until you see the Advanced Boot Options window.
    3. Select Safe Mode with Networking from the list Select 'Safe Mode with Networking'

    Windows 10 / Windows 8
    1. Press the Power button at the Windows login screen. Now press and hold Shift, which is on your keyboard, and click Restart..
    2. Now select Troubleshoot Advanced options Startup Settings and finally press Restart.
    3. Once your computer becomes active, select Enable Safe Mode with Networking in Startup Settings window. Select 'Enable Safe Mode with Networking'
  • Step 2: Remove CryptConsole

    Log in to your infected account and start the browser. Download Reimage or other legitimate anti-spyware program. Update it before a full system scan and remove malicious files that belong to your ransomware and complete CryptConsole removal.

If your ransomware is blocking Safe Mode with Networking, try further method.

Remove CryptConsole using System Restore

Try using System Resore

  • Step 1: Reboot your computer to Safe Mode with Command Prompt

    Windows 7 / Vista / XP
    1. Click Start Shutdown Restart OK.
    2. When your computer becomes active, start pressing F8 multiple times until you see the Advanced Boot Options window.
    3. Select Command Prompt from the list Select 'Safe Mode with Command Prompt'

    Windows 10 / Windows 8
    1. Press the Power button at the Windows login screen. Now press and hold Shift, which is on your keyboard, and click Restart..
    2. Now select Troubleshoot Advanced options Startup Settings and finally press Restart.
    3. Once your computer becomes active, select Enable Safe Mode with Command Prompt in Startup Settings window. Select 'Enable Safe Mode with Command Prompt'
  • Step 2: Restore your system files and settings
    1. Once the Command Prompt window shows up, enter cd restore and click Enter. Enter 'cd restore' without quotes and press 'Enter'
    2. Now type rstrui.exe and press Enter again.. Enter 'rstrui.exe' without quotes and press 'Enter'
    3. When a new window shows up, click Next and select your restore point that is prior the infiltration of CryptConsole. After doing that, click Next. When 'System Restore' window shows up, select 'Next' Select your restore point and click 'Next'
    4. Now click Yes to start system restore. Click 'Yes' and start system restore
    Once you restore your system to a previous date, download and scan your computer with Reimage and make sure that CryptConsole removal is performed successfully.

Bonus: Recover your data

Guide which is presented above is supposed to help you remove CryptConsole from your computer. To recover your encrypted files, we recommend using a detailed guide prepared by 2-spyware.com security experts.

Data Recovery Pro was designed to fix corrupted files. In some cases, it might help with decrypted files.

Windows Previous Versions can be useful if Windows Restore function was enabled at the time of file encryption.

If the virus did not delete Shadow Volume copies – this method will help.

If your files are encrypted by CryptConsole, you can use several methods to restore them:

Data Recovery Plus might be useful

Windows Previous Versions feature

  • Find an encrypted file you need to restore and right-click on it;
  • Select “Properties” and go to “Previous versions” tab;
  • Here, check each of available copies of the file in “Folder versions”. You should select the version you want to recover and click “Restore”.

Recover your files using Shadow Explorer

  • Download Shadow Explorer (http://shadowexplorer.com/);
  • Follow a Shadow Explorer Setup Wizard and install this application on your computer;
  • Launch the program and go through the drop down menu on the top left corner to select the disk of your encrypted data. Check what folders are there;
  • Right-click on the folder you want to restore and select “Export”. You can also select where you want it to be stored.

Restore files entirely with CryptConsole decryption tool

As we have already mentioned, there is a CryptConsole Decrypter available, and you can use it absolutely for free. Download the tool from here and start restoring your files. Warning: The Google Safe Browsing mode considers this download page as not secure. Use this tool at your own risk! Although we are sure that the tool is safe, better scan the system with anti-malware tools just to be sure. You can remove the decrypter right after restoring your files.

For the newest versions of CryptConsole ransomware, you should contact Michael Gillespie as every infection has to be fixed manually by the researcher. You can find his Twitter profile here.

Finally, you should always think about the protection of crypto-ransomwares. In order to protect your computer from CryptConsole and other ransomwares, use a reputable anti-spyware, such as Reimage, Plumbytes Anti-MalwareWebroot SecureAnywhere AntiVirus or Malwarebytes Anti Malware

About the author

Olivia Morelli
Olivia Morelli - Ransomware analyst

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References