This Ransomware is still in the Christmas spirit

January 10, 2017

Ransomware continues to be the most prevalent malware nowadays and this week, the SonicWALL Threat Research team received a report of yet another variant. This ransomware however appears to still be in the Christmas spirit a couple of weeks after the holiday. Besides encrypting the victim's files, this ransomware also gathers information from the compromised computer and sends them out to a remote server.

Infection Cycle:

Upon execution, this ransomware makes a DNS query to the following server:


It then gathers information about the compromised machine such as the computer name, user login information, whether the user has administrative privileges, computer system information, currently running processes and installed programs. All these data are then sent out to a remote server.

It appends the extension ".RMCM1" to all the files it encrypted. It also leaves a copy of the file named "YOUR_FILES_ARE_DEAD.HTA" in every directory where files have been encrypted.

This .HTA file opens a window titled "Merry X-Mas!" and warns the user that their files will be deleted if payment has not been made within the given time limit. Contact information of the cybercriminals is listed as part of this warning message as well.

To ensure that this warning message appears during start up, the following key has been added to the registry:

  • HKCRSofwateMicrosoftWindowsCurrentVersionRun "Adobe2" "%USER%DesktopYOUR_FILES_ARE_DEAD.HTA"

Because of the prevalence of these types of malware attacks, we urge our users to back up their files regularly.

SonicWALL Gateway AntiVirus provides protection against this threat with the following signatures:

  • GAV: Ransom.XMAS (Trojan)
  • GAV: Ransom.XMAS_2 (Trojan)