Being hit by ransomware usually means that you no longer have access to your files unless you pay a ransom or find another way to decrypt them, but a newly released tool allows users to move encrypted files to a new location.
Dubbed CryptoSearch, and still a beta release, the application is powered by the ID Ransomware service that was launched last year, and comes from the same security researcher, Michael Gillespie. Built for Windows computers, the tool was designed to detect encrypted files and allow users store them to a new location for future decryption operations.
The program was designed to connect to ID Ransomware to retrieve malware definitions at least once, meaning that it requires an Internet connection to work. This also means that it will always stay updated with the latest available definitions on newly discovered ransomware families.
According to Gillespie, the tool was designed this way to deliver increased flexibility when it comes to the detection of encrypted files. “It will identify files by known filename pattern or extension, or for some variants, the hex pattern in the encrypted file,” the security researcher explains.
Upon first run, CryptoSearch will connect to the website to fetch the latest available information, and this is the only network activity that can be associated with the program. The application doesn’t gather or upload information pertaining to the system it is used on, its developer explains.
CryptoSearch was designed to save the used definitions to a local file located in the same folder as the application itself. This allows the tool to work in offline mode if Internet connectivity isn’t available or ID Ransomware isn’t reachable after the initial run.
Ransomware victims can also use this program to manually search for a particular extension or byte pattern. Available search options include List Files (lists the encrypted files), List Clean folders (will also list folders that are clean and do not have encrypted files), Search Directory (search a specified directory), Search Computer (search the whole computer, all drive letters found, including mapped drives).
After performing the computer scan, users can either use the Export List option to save a list of the encrypted files to a text file, or the Archive Files option to copy or move the encrypted files to another location for archiving. The archived files retain the full folder structure, including the drive letter.
“Please note that this program does not decrypt data. It is simply a tool for users to find exactly what files were encrypted, and optionally move them to another location before cleaning or formatting a system,” the security researcher also notes.
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