The Xorist-TAKA Ransomware, as it names suggests, is a ransomware threat that cybersecurity analysts have determined to be be based on Xorist Ransomware and, as a result, part of the Xorist family of ransomware threats. Victims of Xorist-TAKA will find that all of their files have suddenly become inaccessible and that a new extension - ' .TAKA' has been appended to their original filenames. The criminals behind the ransomware threat have employed nearly all of the methods used to get the attention of the affected users. They have designed the Xorist-TAKA Ransomware to change the image used by the victims as a desktop background while simultaneously dropping the ransom note as text files placed in every folder with encrypted data and being displayed in a pop-up window.
The message written on the desktop image is rather short, simply stating, 'YOU HAVE BEEN HACKED !' The text files with the ransom note are named 'HOW TO DECRYPT FILES.txt,' and their instructions are identical with the ones presented in the pop-up window.
Victims of Xorist-TAKA are instructed to contact the 'email@example.com' email address. The price placed on the decryption key possessed by the hackers is $50, payable in Bitcoin, but it can be lowered to half that amount, $25 if victims establish communication within the first 72 hours after the ransomware infection. It should be noted that only 70 attempts are possible to input the right decryption key. If that amount is exceeded, all of the encrypted data will supposedly be destroyed irreversibly.
The full text of the Xorist-TAKA Ransomware's note is:
'Attention! All your files are encrypted!
To restore your files and access them,
please send an SMS with the text firstname.lastname@example.org
You have 70 attempts to enter the code.
When that number has been exceeded,
all the data irreversibly is destroyed.
Be careful when you enter the code!
Price of private key and decrypt software is $50.
Discount available if you contact us first 72 hours, that's price for you is $25
BTC Wallet: 37t6hwuzJbq6PtEgaxyS3AWyLS99qMGrt8
Bitcoin ee Na Parle Bkash Payment korte Parbn tk2500[3days]
Contact me here: email@example.com.'
The ransom note contains the email address of the attackers. Victims are to contact the attackers and pay the ransom fee of $50 in bitcoin. The note also explains users can get a 50% discount if they reach out within 72 hours of infection. The note also warns against users attempting to guess the key, as it says that the data is corrupted forever if the password is entered incorrectly 70 times.
If you notice the TAKA file extension on your computer, then the infection process has already been completed, and your files are now locked up. Unfortunately, data recovery is often impossible without any intervention from the criminals behind the attack. Sometimes, the virus has bugs and flaws that security experts can exploit, but that isn’t the case with TAKA.
No matter what, however, you should never pay the ransom to the attacker. More often than not, the attackers never live up to their end of the deal, and you’ll become a victim of a scam too. The hackers never send the decryption tools even after getting the payment they ask for. The best thing to do would be to remove the ransomware using an antivirus tool. While removing the virus won’t undo the damage, it will prevent further infections. You wouldn’t want to get your data back only to have files get encrypted again straight away.
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Is There a Way to Restore Encrypted Files?
The good news is that not all is lost. There may be a way to get your data back. Your best option for restoring lost data is through an external backup. If you have a backup of your files, then just restore them after removing the TAKA ransomware end encrypted files from your computer.
If you don’t have a backup ready, you may still be able to use data recovery tools to restore your lost files. Shadow Volume Copies are an excellent option if you don’t have your own backup as well. The problem with relying on these methods is that ransomware infections like this often remove the Shadow Volume Copies. There is a chance they haven’t been touched and that you can use them, however. If not, then data recovery software could possibly still be able to get the job done. There are many advanced options for data recovery these days, so you should hopefully be able to find something that works for you.
How Did Xorist-TAKA Ransomware Get on My Computer?
While every virus has its own little differences, most viruses have similar infection vectors. If you have a Xorist-TAKA infection on your computer, it would likely happen due to one of three things;
- Phishing Emails
Phishing emails are a common tactic for spreading malware. Threat actors write emails to appear genuine and send them to unsuspecting users. This tactic is referred to as "spray and pray" because hackers send as many as possible in the hopes that some people bite and are tricked. The messages generally say things like the reader missed a delivery or a payment failed and they have to follow a link or download an attachment to learn more. Their computer is infected with Xorist-TAKA ransomware if they do either of those things.
- Direct Delivery
Some cybercriminals like to cut out the middle-man and deliver the payload to people directly. Spreadsheets and documents with macros are the most popular form of this infection method. The documents are made to be compatible with Office and they ask users to enable macros when opened. Macros are little scripts that add extra functionality to a document. In this case, the document gains the power to download and install the malware. Cybercriminals also hide the code for the virus in freeware programs and fake software updaters to trick people.
- Websites and Internet Services
Cybercriminals may share the installation file for the ransomware on social media and popular download portals. They use botnets and hacked social media accounts to make the links appear more legitimate to better trick users.
How to Protect Against Ransomware Attacks
There are several things you can do to protect your computer against ransomware attacks such as Xorist-TAKA. For a start, you should aim to download and install software and apps directly from official sources. Avoid using mirror sites and freeware sites when you can. You should certainly avoid using torrent sites and other peer-to-peer networks.
Avoid using pirated software as well. Not only is it illegal, but hackers regularly hide viruses inside cracked programs and illegal activation tools. They regularly have malware packed inside of them. Even if they let you use the software as promised, they still install malicious software on your computer as well as part of a trojan virus chain infection.
Make sure that you keep computer programs and your operating system updated to the latest version. These updates primarily close security gaps that cyber criminals exploit and so it is worth taking the time to run the update. Once again, be sure to use official download channels or in-app updaters for these updates.
Avoid opening, reading, and interacting emails from people and companies you don’t know. Double-check emails that appear to come from legitimate sources. Check for basic errors or changes to website addresses. They will look similar, but there are small differences that don’t hold up to scrutiny.
The best thing you could do for your computer would be to install some kind of antivirus software. Antivirus programs form the first line of defense for your computer and prevent malicious programs from getting in.