What is Tornado ransomware? And how does it implement its attack?
Tornado ransomware is a new crypto-malware designed to encrypt files to extort money from victims. As per the analysis done by security experts, it seems that this new crypto-malware is a new variant of InsaneCrypt ransomware. Its corrupted files can be recognized by the .tornado extension appended at the end of the affected files’ names. Once Tornado ransomware is able to infiltrate a targeted system, it will start to implement its attack by initiating a sequence of malicious actions. It will first connect to its Command and Control or C&C server in order to download additional malicious files it needs in its attack. These malicious files may be placed on essential Windows system folders like %AppData%, %Temp%, %Roaming%, %Common% and %System32%. After that, it will begin encrypting files using RSA encryption algorithm. According to researchers, it encrypts files with the following extensions:
.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
Once it is done encrypting the targeted files, Tornado ransomware drops a ransom note on the desktop of the affected computer. The ransom note is contained in a text file named key.txt. Here’s the content of the ransom note:
“All your files have been encrypted due to a security problem with your PC. If you want to restore them, write us to the e-mail: [email protected] have to pay for decryption in Bitcoins. The price depends on how fast you write to us. After payment, we will send you the decryption tool that will decrypt all your files.In case of no answer in 48 hours write us to these e-mails:
[redacted 512 hex]”
Paying the ransom is not recommended as you’d only end up losing your money so it is better to use other alternatives in recovering the encrypted files rather than negotiate with these crooks. Luckily, a decryptor is already made available by a security researcher named Michael Gillespie so there is no need for you to worry about a thing.
How does Tornado ransomware spread its malicious files?
Tornado ransomware spreads its malicious files via spam emails. The spam email may contain an infected email attachment that could be a macro-enabled document, an executable file, a PDF file or a link to the installer of Tornado ransomware. This is the reason why you shouldn’t just open any email that comes into your inbox, instead, you must carefully check if the email is worth opening or not as it may contain the malicious payload of Tornado ransomware and other similar threats.
Refer to the following removal guide to eliminate Tornado ransomware from your PC.
Step1. Open the Task Manager by simply tapping Ctrl + Shift + Esc keys on your keyboard.
Step2. Under the Task Manager, go to the Processes tab and look for any suspicious-looking process which takes up most of your CPU’s resources and is most likely related to Tornado ransomware.
Step3. After that, close the Task Manager.
Step4. Tap Win + R, type in appwiz.cpl and click OK or tap Enter to open Control Panel’s list of installed programs.
Step5. Under the list of installed programs, look for Tornado ransomware or anything similar and then uninstall it.
Step6. Next, close Control Panel and tap Win + E keys to launch File Explorer.
Step7. Navigate to the following locations below and look for Tornado ransomware’s malicious components such as [random file name].doc and key.txt as well as other suspicious files and then delete all of them.
Step8. 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.
Step9. Tap Win + R to open Run and then type in regedit in the field and tap enter to pull up Windows Registry.
Step10. Navigate to the following path:
Step11. Delete the registry keys and sub-keys created by Tornado ransomware.
Step12. 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 Tornado 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 Tornado ransomware 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 BIOS screen 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 Option use 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 Box will show up.
- Type in explorer http://www.fixmypcfree.com/install/spyremoverpro
A single space must be in between explorer and http. Click OK.
- A dialogue box will be displayed by Internet Explorer. Click Run to begin downloading the program. The installation will start automatically once a 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.