SABA Virus (.saba File) Ransomware 🔐 Decrypt & Restore Data

Written by Brendan Smith

Saba virus is a STOP/DJVU family of ransomware-type infections. This virus encrypts your files (video, photos, documents) that a specific “.saba” extension can track. It uses a strong encryption method, which makes it impossible to calculate the key in any way.

I have gathered a complete collection of all possible solutions, tips, and tricks to neutralize the Saba virus as well as the decryption or restoration of data. In some instances, it is simple to retrieve your files. In other cases, it’s impossible.

Brendan Smith
Brendan Smith
IT Security Expert

First, scan your PC with antivirus tool!

I will try to help you remove Saba virus and will assist how to decrypt or restore encrypted files. There are several universal methods for recovering encrypted .saba files, which will be demonstrated below. Reading the entire instruction manual carefully and understanding it all is vital. Do not skip any steps. Each of these steps is very important and must be completed by you.
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The Saba virus introduces itself into an operating system on a computer, starts encrypting files, and adds a “.saba” extension to the encrypted files. The virus then demands a key ransom to unlock the encrypted files. A text file “_readme.txt” usually contains the ransom note.

Saba uses a unique key for each victim, except when it cannot connect with its command and control server (C&C Server) before starting the encryption process. In such cases, Saba employs the offline key, which encrypts files across all users during a ransomware attack.

Is Saba virus?

☝️ Saba can be correctly identified as a STOP/DJVU ransomware-type virus.

Saba

🤔 Saba virus is ransomware that originates from the DJVU/STOP family. Its primary purpose is to encrypt files that are important for you. After that ransomware virus asks its victims for a ransom fee ($490 – $980) in BitCoin.

The Saba ransomware is a specific threat that encrypts your files and then forces you to pay to restore them.

Saba virus is similar to other the same DJVU family: Gash, Sato, Fofd, Foty. This virus encrypts all popular file types and adds its “.saba” extension to all files. For example, the file “1.jpg”, will be amended into “1.jpg.saba“. As soon as the encryption is successfully accomplished, the virus drops a special text file “_readme.txt” and drops it into all folders that contain the modified files.

The image below gives a clear vision of how the files with the “.saba” extension look like:

Saba Virus - encrypted .saba files

Saba File (STOP/DJVU Ransomware)

NameSaba Virus
Ransomware family1DJVU/STOP2 ransomware
Extension.saba
Ransomware note_readme.txt
RansomFrom $490 to $980 (in Bitcoins)
Contactsupport@fishmail.top, datarestorehelp@airmail.cc
DetectionWin32/GenKryptik.GJIN, Win32/GenKryptik.GJIP, VHO:Trojan-Proxy.Win32.Lethic
Symptoms
  • Encrypted most of your files (photos, videos, documents) and added a particular “.saba” extension;
  • Can delete Volume Shadow copies to make victim’s attempts to restore data impossible;
  • Adds a list of domains to HOSTS file to block access to certain security-related sites;
  • Installs password-stealing Trojan on the system, like Vidar Stealer or RedLine Stealer;
  • Manages to install a SmokeLoader backdoor;
Fix Tool To remove possible malware infections, scan your PC:


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This message asking payment is for getting files back via decryption key:

_readme.txt (SABA Ransomware)

_readme.txt of SABA Ransomware – The scary alert demanding from users to pay the ransom to decrypt the encoded data contains these frustrating warnings

Saba ransomware arrives as a set of processes to perform different tasks on a victim’s computer. One of the first ones being launched is winupdate.exe, a tricky process that displays a fake Windows update prompt during the attack. This is meant to convince the victim that a Windows update causes a sudden system slowdown. However, at the same time, the ransomware runs another process (usually named after four random characters) which starts scanning the system for target files and encrypting them. Next, the ransomware deletes Volume Shadow Copies from the system using the following CMD command:

vssadmin.exe Delete Shadows /All /Quiet

Once deleted, it becomes impossible to restore the previous computer state using System Restore Points. The thing is, ransomware operators are getting rid of any Windows OS-based methods that could help the victim to restore files for free. In addition, the crooks modify the Windows HOSTS file by adding a list of domains and mapping them to the local IP. As a result, the victim will run into a DNS_PROBE_FINISHED_NXDOMAIN error when accessing one of the blocked websites.

We noticed that ransomware attempts to block websites that publish various how-to guides for computer users. By restricting specific domains, the crooks try to prevent the victim from accessing relevant and helpful ransomware-attack-related information online. The virus also saves two text files on the victim’s computer that provide attack-related details – the victim’s public encryption key and personal ID. These two files are called bowsakkdestx.txt and PersonalID.txt.

Saba ransomware virus saves public encryption key and victim's id in bowsakkdestx.txt file

After all these modifications, the malware doesn’t stop. Variants of STOP/DJVU tend to drop Vidar password-stealing Trojans on compromised systems. This threat has a lengthy list of capabilities, such as:

  • Stealing Steam, Telegram, Skype login/password;
  • Stealing cryptocurrency wallets;
  • Downloading malware to the computer and running it;
  • Stealing browser cookies, saved passwords, browsing history, and more;
  • Viewing and manipulating files on victim’s computer;
  • Allowing the hackers to remotely perform other tasks on the victim’s computer.

The cryptography algorithm used by DJVU/STOP ransomware family is AES-256. So, if your data got encrypted with an online decryption key, which is totally unique, the sad reality is that it is impossible to decrypt files without a unique key.

In case Saba worked in online mode, it is impossible for you to gain access to the AES-256 key. It is stored on a remote server owned by the criminals who promote the Saba infection.

For receiving the decryption key, the payment should be $980. To obtain the payment details, the victims are encouraged by the message to contact the frauds by email (support@fishmail.top).

The message by the ransomware states the following information:

ATTENTION!

Don't worry, you can return all your files!

All your files like photos, databases, documents and other important are encrypted with strongest encryption and unique key.
The only method of recovering files is to purchase decrypt tool and unique key for you.
This software will decrypt all your encrypted files.

What guarantees you have?

You can send one of your encrypted file from your PC and we decrypt it for free.
But we can decrypt only 1 file for free. File must not contain valuable information.

You can get and look video overview decrypt tool:

https://we.tl/t-WJa63R98Ku

Price of private key and decrypt software is $980.
Discount 50% available if you contact us first 72 hours, that's price for you is $490.

Please note that you'll never restore your data without payment.

Check your e-mail "Spam" or "Junk" folder if you don't get answer more than 6 hours.

To get this software you need write on our e-mail:

support@fishmail.top

Reserve e-mail address to contact us:

datarestorehelp@airmail.cc

Your personal ID:
XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

Do not pay for Saba!

Please, try to use the available backups, or Decrypter tool

_readme.txt file also indicates that the computer owners must get in touch with the Saba representatives within 72 hours starting from the moment of files were encrypted. On the condition of getting in touch within 72 hours, users will be granted a 50% rebate. Thus the ransom amount will be minimized to $490). However, stay away from paying the ransom!

I strongly recommend not contacting these crooks and not paying. One of the most real working solutions to recover lost data – just using the available backups or use Decrypter tool.

All such viruses apply similar actions to generate a unique decryption key to recover the ciphered data.

Thus, manually recovering the ciphered data is impossible unless you’re dealing with ransomware still in the development stage or one that possesses some hard-to-track flaws. The only solution to prevent the loss of valuable data is to regularly make backups of crucial files.

Note that even if you regularly maintain backups, you should store them in a specific location without leaving them lying around or connected to your main workstation.

You may keep the backup on a USB flash drive or alternative external storage. Optionally, you can use online (cloud) information storage.

Maintaining backup data on your common device can be ciphered similarly to other data. Therefore, keeping the backup on your main computer is not a good idea.

How I was infected?

Ransomware has various methods to build into your system. But it doesn’t matter what method was used in your case.

Saba infection attack

Saba ransomware attack following a successful phishing attempt.

Nevertheless, these are the common leaks through which it may be injected into your PC:

  • hidden installation along with other apps, especially the utilities that work as freeware or shareware;
  • dubious link in spam emails leading to the virus installer
  • online free hosting resources;
  • using illegal peer-to-peer (P2P) resources for downloading pirated software.

There were cases when the Saba virus was disguised as some legitimate tool, for example, in the messages demanding to initiate some unwanted software or browser updates. This is typically the way how some online frauds aim to force you into installing the Saba ransomware manually by actually making you directly participate in this process.

The bogus update alert will not indicate that you will inject the virus. This installation will be concealed under some alert mentioning that you allegedly should update Adobe Flash Player or some other dubious program.

Using cracked apps is both illegal and may cause serious damage, including the injection of serious malware such as the Saba ransomware.

To avoid injecting the Saba ransomware into your device, there is no 100% guarantee to prevent your PC from getting damaged. However, there are certain tips you can follow to prevent Saba penetration. Be cautious while installing free software today.

Always read what the installers offer in addition to the main free program. Avoid opening dubious email attachments and not open files from unknown addresses. Keep your security program updated.

The malware does not openly identify itself and won’t appear in the list of your available programs. Instead, it will be masked under some malicious process running regularly in the background, starting from the moment when you launch your PC.

How To Remove Saba Virus?

In addition to encoding a victim’s files, the Saba infection has also started to install the Vidar Stealer on computers to steal account credentials, cryptocurrency wallets, desktop files, and more.3
Reasons why I would recommend GridinSoft4

There is no better way to recognize, remove and prevent ransomware than to use anti-malware software from GridinSoft.

  1. Download Removal Tool.

    You can download GridinSoft Anti-Malware by clicking the button below:

  2. Run the setup file.

    When setup file has finished downloading, double-click on the setup-antimalware-fix.exe file to install GridinSoft Anti-Malware on your system.

    Run Setup.exe

    An User Account Control asking you about allowing GridinSoft Anti-Malware to make changes to your device. So, you should click “Yes” to continue with the installation.

    GridinSoft Anti-Malware Setup

  3. Press the “Install” button.

    GridinSoft Anti-Malware Install

  4. Once installed, Anti-Malware will automatically run.

    GridinSoft Anti-Malware Splash-Screen

  5. Wait for complete.

    GridinSoft Anti-Malware will automatically scan your computer for Saba infections and other malicious programs. This process can take 20-30 minutes, so I suggest you periodically check on the status of the scan process.

    GridinSoft Anti-Malware Scanning

  6. Click on “Clean Now”.

    When the scan has finished, you will see the infection list that GridinSoft Anti-Malware detected. To remove them click on the “Clean Now” button in the right corner.

    GridinSoft Anti-Malware Scan Result
  7. Use Trojan Killer for special instances

    In certain instances, Saba ransomware can block the running of setup files of different anti-malware programs. You must use a removable drive with a pre-installed antivirus tool in this situation.

    A really small number of security tools can be set up on USB drives, and in most cases, antiviruses that can do so require obtaining quite an expensive license. For this instance, I recommend you use another solution of GridinSoft – Trojan Killer Portable. It has a 14-day cost-free trial mode that offers the exclusive features of the paid version 5. This term will be 100% enough to wipe malware out.

How To Decrypt .saba Files?

Restore solution for big “.saba files

Try removing .saba extension on a few BIG files and opening them. Either the Saba infection read and did not encrypt the file, or it bugged and did not add the filemarker. If your files are very large (2GB+), the latter is most likely. Please, let me know in the comments if that will work for you.

The newest extensions were released around the end of August 2019 after the criminals made changes. This includes Foza, Vypt, Coza, etc.

As a result of the changes made by the criminals, STOPDecrypter is no longer supported. It has been removed and replaced with the Emsisoft Decryptor for STOP Djvu Ransomware developed by Emsisoft.

You can download free decryption tool here: Decryptor for STOP Djvu.

  1. Download and run the decryption tool.

    Start downloading the decryption tool.

    Launch the decryption utility as an administrator. You need to agree with the license terms that will come up. For this purpose, click on the “Yes” button:

    Emsisoft Decryptor - license terms

    As soon as you accept the license terms, the main decryptor user interface comes up:

    Emsisoft Decryptor - user interface

  2. Select folders for decryption.

    Based on the default settings, the decryptor will automatically populate the available locations to decrypt the currently available drives (the connected ones), including the network drives. Extra (optional) locations can be selected with the help of the “Add” button.

    Decryptors suggest several options considering the specific malware family. The current options are presented in the Options tab and can be activated or deactivated there. You may locate a detailed list of the currently active Options below.

  3. Click on the “Decrypt” button.

    As soon as you add all the desired locations for decryption to the list, click on the “Decrypt” button to initiate the decryption procedure.

    Note that the main screen may turn you to a status view, letting you know of the active process and the decryption statistics of your data:

    Emsisoft Decryptor - the decryption statistics

    The decryptor will notify you once the decryption procedure is completed. If you need the report for your papers, you can save it by choosing the “Save log” button. Note that it is also possible to copy it directly to your clipboard and paste it into emails or messages here if you need to do so.

The Emsisoft Decryptor might display different messages after a failed attempt to restore your saba files:

✓ Error: Unable to decrypt a file with ID: [your ID]
No corresponding decryption key exists in the Emsisoft decryptor’s database.
✓ No key for New Variant online ID: [your ID]
Notice: this ID appears to be an online ID. Decryption is impossible
Your original files were encrypted with an online key. So no one else has the same encryption/decryption key pair. Recovery of saba files without paying the criminals is impossible. 🙁
✓ Result: No key for new variant offline ID: [example ID]
This ID appears to be an offline ID. Decryption may be possible in the future.
An offline key was used, but files could not be restored (the offline decryption key isn’t available yet). But receiving this message is good news for you because restoring your Saba files in the future might be possible. 🙂
It can take a few weeks or months until the decryption key gets found and uploaded to the decryptor. Please follow updates regarding the decryptable DJVU versions here.
✓ Remote name could not be resolved
It indicates a DNS issue on your PC. Our first recommendation is to reset your HOSTS file back to default.

How to Restore .saba Files?

In some cases, Saba ransomware is not doom for your files…

Saba ransomware encryption mechanism feature is next: it encrypts every file byte-by-byte, then saves a file copy, deleting (and not overriding!) the original file. Hence, the information on the file location on the physical disk is lost, but the original file is not deleted from the physical disk. The cell, or the sector where this file was stored, can still contain this file, but the file system does not list it and can be overwritten by data that has been loaded to this disk after the deletion. Hence, it is possible to recover your files using special software.

I recently had my pc infected by the Saba virus. It managed to bypass 2 Antivirus software and two malware fighters.

Anyway, after realizing it was an online algorithm, it was impossible to retrieve my encrypted files. I also had my backup drive plugged in at the time of the virus, and this was also infected, or so I thought. Every folder within my backup drive had been infected and was encrypted. However, despite losing some important files, I retrieved almost 80% of my 2TB storage.

I noticed the readme.txt ransom note in every folder when I started going through the folders. I opened some of the folders and found that all files that were not in a subfolder within that folder had been encrypted. However, I found a flaw and a glimmer of hope when I went into the subfolders in other folders and found that these files had not been encrypted. Every folder within my c and d drives, including subfolders, had been encrypted, but this was not the case with the backup drive. Having subfolders created within a folder has saved 80% of my data.

As I said, I believe this to be only a small loophole on a backup drive. I’ve since found 10 % of my data on another hard drive on a different pc. So my advice is if you use a backup drive, create subfolders. I was lucky, I guess. But I was also unlucky that the virus hit as I transferred some files from my backup.

Hopefully, this can help others in my situation.

Jamie Newland
Some pointers for recovery repair of Saba files (true for all STOP/DJVU variants):

  • I have seen Saba variants fail to encrypt deeper nested folders so that you can check that. You may find those are not encrypted.
  • This ransomware saves encrypted data to a new file and deletes the original. So there’s a slight chance part of that deleted file can be recovered using file recovery software. It’s unlikely the folder structure can be restored, so a free tool like PhotoRec may be as good as any.
  • This ransomware only partially encrypts (about the first 150 KB), so the not encrypted part may be recoverable depending on file size and type of data.
  • Joep

    Recovering your files with PhotoRec

    The creators of PhotoRec originally designed the open-source program to recover files from damaged disks or deleted files. Over time, the program has gained the ability to recover files with 400 different extensions, making it useful for data recovery after a ransomware attack.

    To use the app, you need to download it by clicking the link provided. It is free to download, but the developer cannot guarantee that your files will be recovered. PhotoRec is part of a pack of utilities created by TestDisk. After downloading the archive, locate the TestDisk name and open it to access PhotoRec.

    To open PhotoRec, find and open the file named “qphotorec_win.exe”. No installation is required since all the necessary files are included in the archive. You can even store the program on a USB drive and use it to help someone else recover their files after being attacked by DJVU/STOP ransomware.

    PhotoRec file in the folder

    After the launch, you will see the screen showing you the full list of your disk spaces. However, this information is likely useless because the required menu is slightly higher. Click this bar, then choose the disk which was attacked by ransomware.

    Choose the disc in PhotoRec

    After choosing the disk, you need to choose the destination folder for the recovered files. This menu is located at the lower part of the PhotoRec window. The best decision is to export them on a USB drive or any other removable disk.

    Choosing the destination folder of recovery

    You need to specify the file formats. This option is located at the bottom, too. As mentioned, PhotoRec can recover files in about 400 different formats.

    Choose the file format

    Finally, you can start file recovery by pressing the “Search” button. You will see the screen where the results of the scan and recovery are shown.

    Recovery process

    Saba files recovery guide


    Frequently Asked Questions

    🤔 How can I open “.saba” files?


    No way. These files are encrypted by ransomware. The contents of .saba files are not available until they are decrypted.

    🤔 Saba files contain important information. How can I decrypt them urgently?


    If your data remaining in the .saba files are very valuable, you most likely made a backup copy.
    If not, then you can try to restore them through the system function – Restore Point.
    All other methods will require patience.

    🤔 You have advised using GridinSoft Anti-Malware to remove Saba. Does this mean that the program will delete my encrypted files?


    Of course not. Your encrypted files do not pose a threat to the computer. What happened has already happened.

    You need GridinSoft Anti-Malware to remove active system infections. The virus that encrypts your files is most likely still active and periodically runs a test for the ability to encrypt even more files. Also, these viruses often install keyloggers and backdoors for further malicious actions (for example, theft of passwords and credit cards).

    🤔 Saba virus has blocked the infected PC: I can’t get the activation code.


    In this situation, you need to prepare the memory stick with a pre-installed Trojan Killer.

    🤔 Decryptor did not decrypt all my files, or not all of them were decrypted. What should I do?


    Have patience. You are infected with the new STOP/DJVU ransomware version, and decryption keys have not yet been released. Follow the news on our website.

    We will keep you posted when new Saba keys or decryption programs appear.

    🤔 What can I do right now?


    The Saba ransomware encrypts only the first 150KB of files. So MP3 files are rather large; some media players (Winamp, for example) may be able to play the files, but – the first 3-5 seconds (the encrypted portion) will be missing.

    You can try to find a copy of an original file that was encrypted:

    • Files you downloaded from the Internet that were encrypted, and you can download again to get the original.
    • Pictures that you shared with family and friends that they can send back to you.
    • Photos that you uploaded on social media or cloud services like Carbonite, OneDrive, iDrive, Google Drive, etc.)
    • Attachments in emails you sent or received and saved.
    • Files on an older computer, flash drive, external drive, camera memory card, or iPhone where you transferred data to the infected computer.

    Video Guide

    My favorite video tutorial is How to use GridinSoft Anti-Malware and Emsisoft Decryptor to fix ransomware infections.

    If the guide doesn’t help you to remove Saba virus, please download the GridinSoft Anti-Malware that I recommended. Do not forget to share your experience in solving the problem. Please leave a comment here! This can help other victims to understand they are not alone. And together, we will find ways to deal with this issue.

    I need your help to share this article.

    It is your turn to help other people. I have written this guide to help people like you. You can use the buttons below to share this on your favorite social media Facebook, Twitter, or Reddit.
    Brendan Smith
    SABA Ransomware — How To Restore & Decrypt Files?

    Name: SABA Virus

    Description: SABA Virus is a STOP/DJVU family of ransomware-type infections. This virus encrypts your files, video, photos, and documents that a specific Saba extension can track. So, you can't use them at all after that. SABA ransomware asks victims for a ransom fee ($490 - $980) in Bitcoin.

    Operating System: Windows

    Application Category: Virus

    Sending
    User Review
    4.29 (17 votes)
    Comments Rating 0 (0 reviews)

    References

    1. My files are encrypted by ransomware. What should I do now?
    2. About DJVU (STOP) Ransomware.
    3. Windows passwords vulnerability (Mimikatz HackTool): https://howtofix.guide/mimikatz-hacktool/
    4. GridinSoft Anti-Malware Review from HowToFix site: https://howtofix.guide/gridinsoft-anti-malware/
    5. Trojan Killer Review: https://howtofix.guide/trojan-killer/

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    About the author

    Brendan Smith

    Journalist, researcher, web content developer, grant proposal editor. Efficient and proficient on multiple platforms and in diverse media. Computer technology and security are my specialties.

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