• 2196
  • 0

Clop Ransomware: What is it & How to Protect Yourself

Michelle Wilson - April 21, 2022

Clop Ransomware - What is it & How to Protect Yourself

The Clop Ransomware is a dangerous file-encrypting virus that actively manages to avoid unprotected security systems by saving files and planting a .Clop extension. This ransomware is part of the Cryptomix ransomware family and exploits AES cipher to encrypt videos, pictures, databases, or music. Effortlessly, the virus .CEOP or .CLOP extension. This extension functions by preventing victims from accessing personal data on the system. For instance, “samplefile.jpg” becomes “samplefile.jpg.Clop”.

Through this function, criminals pressure victims into paying the ransom within a specific time limit for the promise of fixing the data. This ransomware is dangerous malware as it holds grave consequences. It can contaminate most operating systems, including Windows XP, Windows 7, Windows 8, and Windows 10.

What is Clop ransomware?

The virus’s name originates from “klop,” meaning “bed bug.” For those individuals unfamiliar with the term, a bed bug is an insect from the genus Cimex. It feeds on human blood, often at night.

Clop ransomware is potentially the worst computer threat that makes individual entries into the Windows Registry, where it gains durability to start or restrain different processes in the Windows domain to stay hidden from typical antivirus programs.

The Clop Ransomware Operating Mode

The Clop ransomware’s targets focus almost exclusively on institutions and organizations across the globe. The ransomware seldom targets individuals and personal networks, suggesting the malware attackers focus on the financial potential in mind. Currently, the Clop ransomware attackers have encrypted and stolen private data such as financial records, thousands of emails, data backups, and vouchers from multiple companies.

Understanding Clop Ransomware Associations

Most recently, Clop ransomware is associated with many cybercriminals who use Accellion File Transfer Appliance (FTA) vulnerabilities: CVE-2021-27101, CVE-2021-27102, CVE-2021-27104, and CVE-2021-27103. Additionally, evidence of an affiliate using web shell “DEWMODE” is also connected with Accellion FTA devices. These exploits highlight the flaws that lead to the compromise of high-profile organizations.

When a company fails to pay the ransom, stolen data will release on the dark web, most commonly on the ‘CLOP^_-LEAKS’ data leak site. Clop ransomware works to alter predefined browser settings and helps operate several functionalities to run built-in encryption sections. It stores all critical files on the system and essentially makes them useless. Should a victim try to open the damaged file, a ransom message notifies the user of the encryption and instructs them on payment methods (whether Bitcoin or cryptocurrencies).

Should I Pay the Ransomware?

Experts and specialists agree that victims should never pay the ransom, regardless of the cost. Studies show that once a cybercriminal receives the funds, most victims are ignored without a chance of recovering their encrypted data. Most experts recommend a forward-thinking solution when it comes to an agreeable resolution. This prevention includes investing time and consideration into backing up critical files.

Always keep regular backups of documents on a remote server, like the Cloud, or utterly unplugged storage devices (an external hard drive).

How Does Clop Ransomware Infect My Device?

Clop ransomware enters the system in various ways, including spam email attachments, hyperlinks, trojans, cracks, unprotected Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) connections, and infected websites. Many dangerous infections enter the computer through download links present in the body of an email, which often mimics a well-known organization, like insurance companies or banks. Likewise, pornographic websites are another significant cause of ransomware infections. Once the malware injects into the system, a fake certificate is issued to the Clop virus, elevating privileges, and initiating the clearnetworkdns_11-22-33.bat file.

These privileges allow the malware to overwrite and change the system files. It reads multiple technical details such as computer names and sends them off to threat actors. Clop ransomware creates \Users\CliHmnxMn6Ps folders where additional malicious files are implemented. Finally, the malware cycles through the computer for various files to encrypt. Any .jpg, .mp3, .doc, or .mkv files are targeted. After the encryption, all files transform into a .Clop ending, making it impossible to access.

Are the Files Corrupted?

No, the files are not corrupted on the system, only locked by an encryption key hackers have access to. All victims need the key to remove the Clop ransomware, especially when trying to recover their files, or will face the files repeatedly locking. Malware is a costly problem that can leave many victims without their files or system. Unfortunately, Clop ransomware requires a specific key to unlock the files, making them obsolete if locked. Paying the ransom puts the cybercriminal at a significant advantage, putting the decryption in the hands of the very thieves that blocked access.

Preventing a Clop Ransomware Infection

Prevention is always easier than a cure for a malware infection, especially with Clop ransomware. Always pay attention to your computer safety, especially when browsing the internet or installing, downloading, or updating the software. Ensure that all email attachments or links are safe to access. If possible, always run the download through an antivirus program before opening the link or attachment. Report the sender and delete the email if you don’t recognize or trust the sender and the attachment source.

Download Directly from the Official Source

Always download the applications from official sources, especially when direct download links are available. While many third-party download websites are available, they are more likely to hold viruses and malware. It’s better to pay for the cost of the software or application than to risk malware or viruses in the network.

Keep Software Updates Regular

When it comes to software updates, continuously monitor for new versions or patchwork to keep the system running smoothly. Only download these updates through legitimate sources or developers (avoiding links through emails or third-party websites). Pirated software is a cybercrime with a massive probability of issues. Out-of-date software leaves many vulnerabilities open, which spreads malware on the system. If you’re not sure whether the software is authentic, ask yourself whether the platform requires the typical payment for the software. Pirated software or television series are typically discounted or free to use through media that contain pop-ups or ads.

Conclusion

Clop ransomware is a malicious malware that infects various systems and networks. The encryption quickly blocks access to files that the average user needs, including documents, videos, and photographs. While most people will want to pay the ransom to unlock the folders, it doesn’t guarantee access. The easiest way to address ransomware attacks is through preventative measures, as paying the ransom doesn’t guarantee the decryption of your files. Keep all computers and devices up-to-date, complete with a high-quality antivirus program. Never use third-party websites or pirated software on your computer system.

Before opening any links, attachments, or downloads, always consider the sender before opening. Verify the email is from a genuine account that you recognize. Businesses will rarely contact you for account verifications through email or text messages. When in doubt, it’s better to delete the email and get the company information (email, chat, or phone number) through their company website.

Related Posts