New Version of TeslaCrypt Changes Encryption Scheme

July 14, 2015 – 5:26 PM

A new version of the nasty TeslaCrypt ransomware is making the rounds, and the creators have added several new features, including an improved encryption scheme and some details designed to mimic CryptoWall.

TeslaCrypt is among the more recent variants of ransomware to emerge and the malware, which is a variant of CryptoLocker, is unique in that it targets files from gaming platforms as well as other common file types. Version 2.0.0 of TeslaCrypt, discovered recently by researchers at Kaspersky Lab, no longer uses a typical GUI to show users the warning about their files being encrypted. Instead, the malware opens a page in the user’s browser to display a warning message that is taken directly from CryptoWall.

That change, researchers speculated, could be a way to make TeslaCrypt seem more intimidating.

“Why use this false front? We can only guess – perhaps the attackers wanted to impress the gravity of the situation on their victims: files encrypted by CryptoWall still cannot be decrypted, which is not true of many TeslaCrypt infections,” Fedor Sinitsyn of Kaspersky Lab wrote in an analysis of the new ransomware.

But the more significant modification in version 2.0.0 is the inclusion of an updated encryption method. TeslaCrypt, like many other ransomware variants, encrypts the files on victims’ machines and demands a payment in order to obtain the decryption key. The payment typically must be in Bitcoin and the attackers using crypto ransomware have been quite successful in running their scams. Estimates of the revenue generated by variants such as CryptoLocker run into the millions of dollars per month.


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