What is LockOn ransomware? And how does it implement its attack?
LockOn ransomware is a file-encrypting Trojan infection discovered at the beginning of October 2017. This new ransomware is created using HiddenTear – an open source platform commonly used by cyber crooks in creating ransomware infections. LockOn ransomware’s first attacks were reported on October 9, 2017. According to researchers, it reaches computers using a malicious executable file named [HOT][+18] CHECHER PORN.exe, claiming to be a notification application that supposedly alerts computer users about new pornographic materials on various websites. Obviously, it is only a bait to trick users in downloading and installing the malicious file in their computer – this is a typical tactic for most Trojan infections that solely rely on its victims to install the infection themselves.
The minute it enters the system, it quickly scans all the drive the computer, looking for specific file formats to encrypt – especially the important ones. Specifically, it encrypts files with the following file formats:
.3gp, .7z, .apk, .avi, .bmp, .cdr, .cer, .chm, .conf, .css, .csv, .dat, .db, .dbf, .djvu, .dbx, .docm, ,doc, .epub, .docx .fb2, .flv, .gif, .gz, .iso .ibooks,.jpeg, .jpg, .key, .mdb .md2, .mdf, .mht, .mobi .mhtm, .mkv, .mov, .mp3, .mp4, .mpg .mpeg, .pict, .pdf, .pps, .pkg, .png, .ppt .pptx, .ppsx, .psd, .rar, .rtf, .scr, .swf, .sav, .tiff, .tif, .tbl, .torrent, .txt, .vsd, .wmv, .xls, .xlsx, .xps, .xml, .ckp, .zip, .java, .py, .asm, .c, .cpp, .cs, .js, .php, .dacpac, .rbw, .rb, .mrg, .dcx, .db3, .sql, .sqlite3, .sqlite, .sqlitedb, .psd, .psp, .pdb, .dxf, .dwg, .drw, .casb, .ccp, .cal, .cmx, .cr2.
As soon as it is done scanning the computer for files to encrypt, it does not waste any time and encrypt the files right away using a mix of RSA and AES encryption algorithm which makes it hard for its victims to recover the compromised files. These files become inaccessible to users and the only chance of ever recovering them is that if you’re lucky and LockOn ransomware did not delete their shadow volume copies, you can use them to restore your files to their previous state. However, if the ransomware deleted the shadow volume copies of your files, it would be next to impossible to recover them.
After the encryption, LockOn ransomware displays a ransom note in a program window which contains a notification that reads as follows:
“Your Files has been encrypted! ! :(.’
‘The whole of your computer has just been encrypted by LockOn to unlock your computer and retrieve your file please pay the ransom to the address bitcoin!
Here are the steps:
1 – Go to: h[tt]ps://www.localbitcoins[.]com
2 – Create an account
3 – Collect the sum stipulated below in bitcoins
4 – Sent to the address bitcoins 1EhHaeQ5x8Q4wF62QwqRUfoFrbYo2PLR7c
5 – You will receive a key that will unlock your computer!
Any attempt to reverse the ransomware or other will result in a destruction of the computer!”
Moreover, Lockon ransomware also displays the same ransom note – only this time, it is written in French as it seems to give the victims a choice of the ransom note language which is a common feature for some ransomware Trojans. Security researchers advise victims against paying the ransom to recover their files as there is a little to no chance that the victims will be able to recover the files and it would only spur on these crooks to keep on creating ransomware infections. The best thing victims could do is to use their backup files and wait until a free decrypting software is available.
How does LockOn ransomware proliferate?
As emphasized earlier, LockOn ransomware proliferates using a malicious executable file named [HOT][+18] CHECHER PORN.exe which spreads through malicious spam emails. This file is clearly suspicious and is meant to trick users into installing the Trojan infection themselves. Whenever you get these kinds of emails, delete them right away because once you download and open the file, LockOn ransomware is installed in the computer.
Step 1: Close the program Window displaying the ransom note and then tap Ctrl + Shift + Esc to open the Task Manger.
Step 2: Once you’ve opened the Task Manager, go to the Processes tab and look for [HOT][+18] CHECHER PORN.exe as well as LockOn ransomware’s process and end all their processes by clicking on End Task or End Process.
Step 3: Open Control Panel by pressing the Windows key + R, then type in appwiz.cpl and then click OK or press Enter.
Step 4: Look for LockOn ransomware or any suspicious program and then Uninstall it/them.
Step 5: Tap Win + E keys to launch File Explorer.
Step 6: Navigate to the following locations below and look for LockOn ransomware’s malicious components such as [HOT][+18] CHECHER PORN.exe and other suspicious files and then delete all of them.
Step 7: Close the File Explorer. Before you proceed to the next steps below, make sure that you are tech savvy enough to the point where you know exactly how to use and navigate your computer’s Registry. Keep in mind that any changes you make will highly impact your computer. To save you the trouble and time, you can just use PC Cleaner Pro, this system tool is proven to be safe and excellent enough that hackers won’t be able to hack into it. But if you can manage Windows Registry well, then by all means go on to the next steps.
Step 8: Tap Win + R to open Run and then type in regedit in the field and tap enter to pull up Windows Registry.
Step 9: Navigate to the following path:
Step 10: Delete the registry keys and sub-keys created by LockOn ransomware.
Step 11: Close the Registry Editor and empty your Recycle Bin.
Try to recover your encrypted files using the Shadow Volume copies
Restoring your encrypted files using Windows’ Previous Versions feature will only be effective if LockOn ransomware hasn’t deleted the shadow copies of your files. But still, this is one of the best and free methods there is, so it’s definitely worth a shot.
To restore the encrypted file, right-click on it and select Properties, a new window will pop-up, then proceed to Previous Versions. It will load the file’s previous version before it was modified. After it loads, select any of the previous versions displayed on the list like the one in the illustration below. And then click the Restore button.
It is important to make sure that nothing is left behind and that the LockOn is completely removed use the following antivirus program. To use it, refer to the instructions below.
Perform a full system scan using SpyRemover Pro. To do so, follow these steps:
- Turn on your computer. If it’s already on, you have to reboot
- After that, the BIOSscreen will be displayed, but if Windows pops up instead, reboot your computer and try again. Once you’re on the BIOS screen, repeat pressing F8, by doing so the Advanced Option shows up.
- To navigate the Advanced Optionuse the arrow keys and select Safe Mode with Networking then hit
- Windows will now load the SafeMode with Networking.
- Press and hold both R key and Windows key.
- If done correctly, the Windows Run Boxwill show up.
- Type in explorer http://www.fixmypcfree.com/install/spyremoverpro
A single space must be in between explorer and http. Click OK.
- A dialog box will be displayed by Internet Explorer. Click Run to begin downloading the program. Installation will start automatically once download is done.
- Click OK to launch it.
- Run SpyRemover Pro and perform a full system scan.
- After all the infections are identified, click REMOVE ALL.
- Register the program to protect your computer from future threats.