|Algorithm||AES-256 encryption. If ZAQI cannot establish a connection to crooks server before starting the encryption process, it uses the offline key. This key is the same for all victims(!), making it possible to decrypt .zaqi files in the future.|
|Ransom||From $490 to $980 (in Bitcoins)|
|Distribution||Third-party downloaders, installers, peer-to-peer networks, RDP exploits, etc.,|
|Other variants|| |
ZAQI ransomware attack is always a thing that is better to avoid. This virus harms too much, and not only to your files but also to your wallet. Moreover, it also breaks into your computer’s configurations and makes your system much weaker. Thus, it is better to prevent its appearance than to think about how to deal with the consequences of its activity.
Almost all cases of ZAQI virus injection are related to the use of “free” programs. These apps are about to be purchased, but hackers remove the license checking to be launched and used without any payments. While dealing with license checking, hackers can easily add malware to the program code. Which one - depends only on how much they are paid for this. ZAQI ransomware is just another example of such a virus.
AES-256 is the encryption algorithm used by this virus for file encryption. It is not the strongest among existing, but its strength is heavily increased by the key storing on the remote server. Since servers are controlled by ransomware maintainers, there is no way to get vital besides paying the ransom. Brute force is entirely useless because of the vast amount of possible keys (>1*10^78). File decryption tools may give you a chance, but the opportunity to get your files back is low.
The ZAQI ransomware uses the AES-256 encryption algorithm. That is not the strongest method, but it still provides an overwhelming amount of possible decryption keys. To brute force the 78-digit number of keys, you need 3.5 unvigintillion years (1*10^65), even if you use the most powerful regular PC. Quantum computers can show a bit better results, but it is still too slow to get your files back while you are alive.
The exact algorithm of encryption is next: malware scans each folder for the files it is able to encrypt. Then, when it finds the target, it makes a copy of your file, removes the original one, encrypts the copy and leaves it instead of the removed original. Such a procedure is done to prevent the situation when you have already opened the file, so ransomware is not able to read it because of the Windows restrictions. To each encrypted copy, the virus adds the specific extension - ".zaqi". Then, ransomware creates a _readme.txt file in the folder where the encrypted file is located, and goes to the next folder.
Such an encryption method can be exploited for file recovery. Since the original file is deleted, you may try to recover it using the file recovery tools. The less time is passed - the bigger the chance to get your files back, so hurry up!
Another specific moment that can help you to use the files even after the encryption is the fact that ZAQI ransomware encrypts only the first 150KB of each file. Hence, you can try to run a big file, such as video or music, without the encryption. Similar feature also works with other ransomware families - Dharma, Conti and Makop encrypt the same 150KB.
Ransom note: _readme.txt
Ransom note is the same for the whole ransomware family. In fact, it is one of the main signs of to which family the certain ransomware belongs. Here is the typical note for STOP/Djvu family:
ATTENTION! Don't worry. You can return all your files! All your files like photos, databases, documents and other important are encrypted with strongest encryption and unique key. The only method of recovering files is to purchase decrypt tool and unique key for you. This software will decrypt all your encrypted files. What guarantees you have? You can send one of your encrypted file from your PC and we decrypt it for free. But we can decrypt only 1 file for free. File must not contain valuable information. You can get and look video overview decrypt tool: hxxps://we.tl/t-WJa63R98Ku Price of private key and decrypt software is $980. Discount 50% available if you contact us first 72 hours, that's price for you is $490. Please note that you'll never restore your data without payment. Check your e-mail "Spam" or "Junk" folder if you don't get answer more than 6 hours. To get this software you need write on our e-mail: email@example.com Reserve e-mail address to contact us: firstname.lastname@example.org Your personal ID: XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
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