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Jhon Woddy Ransomware

Posted: January 23, 2017

Threat Metric

Threat Level: 10/10
Infected PCs: 41
First Seen: January 23, 2017
OS(es) Affected: Windows

The 'Jhon Woddy' Ransomware is a clone of the DNRansomware (AKA DoNotOpen Ransomware), a Trojan that encrypts your files with the AES and asks for Bitcoin payments to restore them. Due to poor decryption functionality, malware experts strongly discourage paying any fees, especially for PC users who could restore their content through backups. Any anti-malware programs that are effective against past versions of this threat also may delete the 'Jhon Woddy' Ransomware without its encryption attack succeeding in the first place.

The New Fad for Script Kiddies

Although some Trojan families guard their code jealously, making it available to threat actors paying fees for the privilege, others are widely-circulated for free, such as Hidden Tear. In either case, the result is a series of nearly identical threats, such as the DNRansomware and the 'Jhon Woddy' Ransomware almost inevitably. The latter is a clone of the DNRansomware, including that Trojan's ransom details, which makes it likely that the same group of people is administering the 'Jhon Woddy' Ransomware, as well.

The 'Jhon Woddy' Ransomware uses the AES encryption for locking your files, with content such as text documents, images, spreadsheets or movies being at an especially high risk. With a successful lock-down, the 'Jhon Woddy' Ransomware appends the extension '.killedxxx' (the same one in use by some versions of the DNRansomware) to their names, helping the victim identify which content it's blocking. The 'Jhon Woddy' Ransomware also displays a pop-up that may block access to the desktop or other applications and demands 0.1 Bitcoin in return for what malware analysts verify as being a non-working decryptor.

The Trojan's threat actors also are recycling a social engineering tactic between the 'Jhon Woddy' Ransomware and its relative: claiming that the ransom is for poor computer science students in Iraq. Given the semi-publicly available nature of the 'Jhon Woddy' Ransomware's code in the con artist underground, the assertion's veracity is highly dubious.

The Penalty of Having a Tender Heart

Victims who assume that the 'Jhon Woddy' Ransomware is telling the truth and transfer the Bitcoin ransom to recover their files will discover, as malware experts did, that the decryptor is non-functional and can't reverse the encoding damages. Meanwhile, the relative affordability of the 'Jhon Woddy' Ransomware's 0.1 Bitcoin ransom makes it most likely that the Trojan is installing itself through vectors targeting recreational PC owners, such as torrents or freeware bundles. However, spam, such as an e-mail attachment with embedded threat-installing macros, also is a common delivery mechanism for threats of this classification.

The 'Jhon Woddy' Ransomware has no unusual code obfuscation or protective features that would prevent most anti-malware solutions from identifying it. Scanning potentially corrupted files before opening them, enabling visible extensions and disabling unwanted browser features can maximize the opportunities for removing the 'Jhon Woddy' Ransomware before any encryption can occur. So far, malware experts only are seeing this campaign targeting English speakers, much like the DNRansomware.

'Skids,' as they're often known, are rarely capable of launching large scale or well-organized campaigns. However, for the typical PC owner, such a differentiation may be moot since all it takes is a single Trojan like the DNRansomware to turn every file that they value into the digital equivalent of garbage.