Coot Virus — Update October 2019
The Coot virus as one of the popular and active STOP ransomware samples is actively being pushed to users worldwide. It is one of the later variants of this subset of viruses and the used algorithm is a strong one. As a result, it is difficult to restore the system as many advanced modules may have been started.
Other threats that are very similar to the Coot virus can lead to dangerous system changes that can lead to errors, data loss and also further difficulty in the recovery process.
Distribution of Coot Virus:
Coot virus is a new data locker ransomware that has been released in active attack campaigns against computer users worldwide. The threat could be utilizing common tactics of distribution to infect computer systems.
One of the easiest ways for the criminals to spread the payload of Coot ransomware is by attaching it to email messages that are later released in active attack campaigns. The method allows hackers to send the virus to large lists of potential victims. The attachments to malicious email spam messages usually have Word documents or other types of files that users open without hesitation. Once opened on a target host these compromised files trigger the ransomware payload and infect the device with the Coot cryptovirus. Another infection tactic related to emails is hyperlink inserted in the content of the messages. The links are usually labeled as leading to a familiar website or a file of user interest.
Computer criminals behind this new ransomware can be using malicious sites or download portals to distribute malware of different kinds, including the Coot virus. A popular option is the use of infected documents which may be of different types ‒ spreadsheets, rich text documents, presentations, and databases. They are modified to initiate the virus once the built-in scripts are run. Usually when the files are opened a notification will ask the users to run the macros (scripts). If this is done the infection follows.
The hacker-controlled sites are specialist portals that have been created either manually or automatically by the criminals behind the Coot virus. They can either directly distribute the threat by initiating various scripts or automated operations or link to such instances. Redirects are usually caused by email interaction, ad networks or other browsing activity. However one of the main sources is the availability of browser hijackers. They are malicious add-ons made for the most popular web browsers ‒ Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome, Internet Explorer, Opera, Microsoft Edge and Safari. Once installed they not only infect the users with the malware but also redirect the victims to a hacker-controlled site. Depending on the configuration the browser hijackers can also steal sensitive information such as any stored passwords, account credentials, history, bookmarks, form data and settings.
Impact of Coot Virus:
The so-called Coot virus has been detected in active attack campaigns. It is based on the code of the infamous ransomware family STOP. The code of this threat is designed to plague essential system settings with the purpose to reach target types of files and encode them with sophisticated cipher algorithm.
The beginning of the attack is marked by the execution of the Coot payload file. Soon after the occurrence of this event, the threat becomes able to pass through several attack stages. At first, it triggers the creation of additional malicious files that support all the following operations. The ransomware could either create or drop them on the system. Typically, threats like Coot Virus are designed to place malicious files in system folders like %Roaming %, %Windows %, %AppData %, %Local %, %Temp%
Once the Coot Virus establishes the files, it starts executing them in a predefined order. As a result, it affects some essential system settings. Affected could be some main registry keys stored by the Registry Editor, legitimate processes and other major components that control the regular system performance.
Following system corruption, Coot ransomware utilizes a built-in encryption module to complete its main purpose – data encryption. Since this module is designed to transform the code of targeted files with a sophisticated cipher algorithm, the files remain unusable until their code is reverted back to its original state.
All files that are renamed with the extension .coot are encrypted by the ransomware. Unfortunately, they could be all files that store valuable data of you like:
Following data corruption, Coot STOP drops the text file _readme.txt which contains its ransom message. This file may automatically be loaded on the screen as its purpose is to blackmail you into paying hackers a ransom fee. Here is what its text usually informs:
Remove Coot Ransomware Virus and Restore PC;
Coot Ransomware Virus – Manual Removal Steps:
- Click on Organize button
- Select Folder and search options
- Select the View tab
- Go under Hidden files and folders and mark Show hidden files and folders option
- Open View tab
- Mark Hidden items option
Repair Windows Registry
Recover Encrypted Files
- Hit WIN Key
- Select “Open System Restore” and follow the steps
4. Restore your personal files using File History
- Hit WIN Key
- Type restore your files in the search box
- Select Restore your files with File History
- Choose a folder or type the name of the file in the search bar
- Hit the “Restore” button