Skip to main content

CryptXXX ransomware gets even tougher to crack, pulls in $45,000 in three weeks

A pair of hands on a laptop keyboard with two displays.
Image used with permission by copyright holder
The authors of the CryptXXX ransomware have pulled in more than $45,000 in ransoms in just three weeks, based on the transactions coming into the Bitcoin address associated with the malware.

SentinelOne, a security company, found that the latest version of CryptXXX is more robust and tougher to decrypt than previous iterations. These changes have apparently paid off for the crooks, who reportedly received about 70 Bitcoins in their Bitcoin wallet since June 4. As of this writing, that’s worth just over $45,000.

The firm notes that the people behind the scheme quickly moved the funds from this address, which was active from June 4-21.

It’s likely that they are using a Bitcoin tumbler, which obscures the details of the next wallet, to cover their tracks. They’ve also probably started using a new wallet since then to avoid any possible detection.

“With this kind of success, it’s likely we’ll continue to see this family and other ransomware families continue to grow and evolve,” said SentinelOne’s Caleb Fenton in a blog post.

There’s been a sort of cat-and-mouse game between ransomware creators and security companies. Kaspersky Lab recently released a decryptor software tool for users to decrypt their files free of charge, rather than pay the ransom, if they got infected by CryptXXX. The ransom is typically a couple of hundred dollars a pop.

Once this free tool was released, it forced the cybercriminals to rework their code so the encryption couldn’t be so easily broken. Then the vicious cycle continued when Kaspersky updated its own software. Now this latest version of CryptXXX once again skirts the power of the decryptor tool.

The new version also has a feature built-in that prevents retrieving backups; it does, for some reason, allow the victim to decrypt one file for free with a 512KB cap.

“This is a good idea from a psychological standpoint since the malware authors know that people are more likely to pay for something if they know that it will work,” said Fenton.

There have been previous cases of shoddily-coded ransomware variants out there that not even the authors have been able to crack after their victims have coughed up the Bitcoins.

Jonathan Keane
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Jonathan is a freelance technology journalist living in Dublin, Ireland. He's previously written for publications and sites…
A new wave of powerful laptops rises to challenge the MacBook Pro
Apple MacBook Pro 16 downward view showing keyboard and speaker.

The MacBook Pro got really powerful in its most recent update. The 16-inch M3 Max configuration bumps the graphics performance significantly, making it unlike anything you can buy for professional content creators.

But Windows laptops are responding. There's a new wave of non-gaming laptops that are integrating GPUs up to an RTX 4070 and challenging the performance of the MacBook Pro -- often at a much lower price.
Samsung Galaxy Book4 Ultra

Read more
How to insert a checkbox in Word on Windows and Mac
A person using a computer in bed.

Whether you’re outlining a recipe or putting together a daily to-do list, Microsoft Word is a great tool for keeping all your ideas and information organized. Beyond its word processing capabilities, you’ll even be able to create electronic checkboxes that you can tick and untick. It’s really easy to do, and we put together this step-by-step guide to teach you how.

Read more
The most common Zoom problems and how to fix them
zoom privacy feature freeze active users meeting office

Is Zoom giving you problems and you're not quite sure how to solve them? Fortunately, troubleshooting Zoom issues doesn't always have to be difficult. You can actually fix quite a few of its problems yourself. To help get your Zoom calls working properly, we’ve collected the most common Zoom problems users face and have provided easy solutions to be able to fix them.

If you also use m or are making the switch to Zoom because of issues with Teams, check out our guide to fixing Microsoft Teams problems; maybe you will find a solution there so you won't have to make the switch.
Webcam or audio not working

Read more