Another variant of the infamous STOP/Djvu Ransomware family has been uncovered, and this time it is ZATE Ransomware. Like other strains from the same ransomware group, this version also locks important files and then demands a ransom fee to restore file access. Threats like ZATE Ransomware can spread via software bundling, so if you often download freeware or pirated apps distributed via torrent or cracked software sites, you may easily end up installing this threat.
ZATE Ransomware locks most popular file types, including photos, music, documents, and videos. During the file encryption process, the malware adds the .ZATE extension to affected files, leaving a ransom note on the user’s desktop and in every folder containing encrypted files. There are no free online decryption tools available that could unlock the encrypted files. The only reliable way to recover affected files is to restore them from a backup. Victims can also attempt to use alternative data recovery options, but there is no guarantee that alternative data recovery tools will be able to unlock all the encrypted files.
After download and installation, ZATE Ransomware leverages the AES encryption algorithm to lock up target files. It then demands a ransom in exchange for the decryption key. The decryption key costs $980, but the ransomware’s operators will offer a 50% discount, and only charge $490, if the victim contacts them within the first 72 hours after infection. The hackers can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com. We discourage establishing contact with the hackers however, as there is no guarantee that they will provide decryption tools after payment or even communicate with you.
How Do I Deal with the ZATE Ransomware Infection?
To protect yourself from the ZATE Ransomware attack, you should practice safe web browsing habits like refraining from opening email attachments from unknown senders and downloading programs from unreliable sources. You should also have a reputable malware remediation tool installed on your computer. That way, you can regularly scan for elements associated with this troublesome ransomware infection and other malware. Also, to reduce the potential damage of a future ransomware infection, please consider backing up your files on an external hard drive or cloud storage.