Xatz virus is a STOP/DJVU family of ransomware-type infections. This virus encrypts your files (video, photos, documents) that a specific “.xatz” 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, techniques, and techniques for neutralizing the Xatz virus as well as the decryption of data. In some cases, it is simple to recover your files. Sometimes, it’s impossible.
📌 Be careful!
Payment of the ransom doesn’t guarantee that you will get your data back. The cybercriminals responsible for the Xatz virus are notoriously untrustworthy. There have been instances where they failed to provide the decryption key even after receiving the ransom.
Once the Xatz virus is introduced into the computer system, it encrypts files and adds the “.xatz” extension to the encrypted files. The virus requires an exchange of ransom for a decryption code that will unlock the encrypted files. Most of, the time the ransom note is displayed as either a text file “_readme.txt”.
The Xatz key is unique for each victim, with one limitation:
- If Xatz cannot establish a connection with its command and control servers (C&C Server) before beginning the process of encryption, it will use offline keys. The key used is the same across all users, making it feasible to decrypt encrypted files during a ransomware attack.
Is Xatz virus?
☝️ Xatz can be correctly identified as a STOP/DJVU ransomware-type virus.
🤔 Xatz virus is ransomware that originates from the DJVU/STOP family. Its primary purpose is to encrypt files that are important to you. After that ransomware virus asks its victims for a ransom fee ($490 – $980) in BitCoin.
The Xatz ransomware is a kind of malware that encrypted your documents and then forces you to pay for them. Djvu/STOP ransomware family was first revealed and analyzed by virus analyst Michael Gillespie.
Xatz virus is similar to other the same DJVU family: Xash, Gatz, Gash. This virus encrypts all popular file types and adds its own “.xatz” extension into all files. For example, the file “1.jpg”, will be amended into “1.jpg.xatz“. As soon as the encryption is accomplished, the virus creates a specific text file “_readme.txt” and puts it into all folders that contain the modified files.
The image below gives a clear vision of how the files with the “.xatz” extension look like:
|Ransomware family1||DJVU/STOP2 ransomware|
|Ransom||From $490 to $980 (in Bitcoins)|
|Contact||[email protected], [email protected]|
|Detection||Trojan:Win32/Zegost.RC!MTB, Python/Agent.AAC, Win32/Filecoder.Cerber.X|
To remove possible malware infections, scan your PC:
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This message asking payment is for restoring files via decryption key:
Xatz ransomware arrives as a set of processes meant 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 sudden system slowdown is caused by a Windows update. 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 to it and mapping them to the localhost 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. It is evident that by restricting specific domains, the crooks are trying to prevent the victim from reaching 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.
After all these modifications, the malware doesn’t stop. Variants of STOP/DJVU tend to drop Vidar password-stealing Trojan 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 perform other tasks on the victim’s computer remotely.
The cryptography algorithm used by DJVU/STOP ransomware 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 Xatz 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 frauds who promote the Xatz ransomware.
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 ([email protected]).
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: [email protected] Reserve e-mail address to contact us: [email protected] Your personal ID: XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
Do not pay for Xatz!
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 Xatz 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 that you do not contact these frauds and do not pay. One of the most real working solutions to recover lost data – just using the available backups, or use Decrypter tool.
The peculiarity of all such viruses apply a similar set of actions for generating the unique decryption key to recover the ciphered data.
Thus, unless the ransomware is still in the stage of development or possesses some hard-to-track flaws, manually recovering the ciphered data is a thing you can’t perform. The only solution to prevent the loss of your valuable data is to regularly make backups of your crucial files.
Note that even if you do maintain such backups regularly, they ought to be put into a specific location without loitering not being connected to your main workstation.
For instance, the backup may be kept on the USB flash drive or some alternative external hard drive storage. Optionally, you may refer to the help of online (cloud) information storage.
Needless to mention, when you maintain your backup data on your common device, it may be similarly ciphered as well as other data.
For this reason, locating the backup on your main computer is surely not a good idea.
How I was infected?
Ransomware has a various methods to built into your system. But it doesn’t really matter what way was used in your case.
Xatz attack following a successful phishing attempt.
- 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 Xatz 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 Xatz ransomware manually by actually making you directly participate in this process.
Surely, 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.
Of course, the cracked apps represent the damage too. Using P2P is both illegal and may result in the injection of serious malware, including the Xatz ransomware.
To sum up, what can you do to avoid injecting the Xatz ransomware into your device? Even though there is no 100% guarantee to prevent your PC from getting damaged, there are certain tips I want to give you to prevent Xatz penetration. You must be cautious while installing free software today.
Make sure you always read what the installers offer in addition to the main free program. Stay away from opening dubious email attachments. Do not open files from unknown addresses. Of course, your current security program must always be updated.
The malware does not speak openly about itself. It will not be mentioned in the list of your available programs. However, it will be masked under some malicious process running regularly in the background, starting from the moment when you launch your computer.
How To Remove Xatz Virus?
In addition to encoding a victim’s files, the Xatz virus has also started to install the Vidar Stealer on the system 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 GridinSoft5.
Download Removal Tool.
You can download GridinSoft Anti-Malware by clicking the button below:
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 computer.
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.
Press the “Install” button.
Once installed, Anti-Malware will automatically run.
Wait for complete.
GridinSoft Anti-Malware will automatically start scanning your computer for Xatz infections and other malicious programs. This process can take a 20-30 minutes, so I suggest you periodically check on the status of the scan process.
Click on “Clean Now”.
When the scan has finished, you will see the list of infections that GridinSoft Anti-Malware has detected. To remove them click on the “Clean Now” button in right corner.
Trojan Killer for special instances
In some certain instances, Xatz ransomware can block the running of setup files of different anti-malware programs. In this situation, you need to utilize the removable drive with a pre-installed antivirus tool.
There is a really little number of security tools that are able to be set up on the USB drives, and antiviruses that can do so in most cases require to obtain quite an expensive license. For this instance, I can recommend you to use another solution of GridinSoft – Trojan Killer Portable. It has a 14-days cost-free trial mode that offers the entire features of the paid version 6. This term will definitely be 100% enough to wipe malware out.
How To Decrypt .xatz Files?
Restore solution for big “.xatz files“
Try removing .xatz extension on a few BIG files and opening them. Either the Xatz ransomware read and did not encrypt the file, or it bugged and did not add the filmmaker. 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.
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.
Download and run the decryption tool.
Start downloading the decryption tool.
Make sure to 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:
As soon as you accept the license terms, the main decryptor user interface comes up:
Select folders for decryption.
Based on the default settings, the decryptor will automatically populate the available locations in order 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 normally suggest several options considering the specific malware family. The current possible 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.
Click on the “Decrypt” button.
As soon as you add all the desired locations for decryption to the list, click on the “Decrypt” button in order 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:
The decryptor will notify you as soon as the decryption procedure is completed. If you need the report for your personal 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 xatz files:
✓ Error: Unable to decrypt a file with ID: [your ID]
✓ No key for New Variant online ID: [your ID]
Notice: this ID appears to be an online ID, decryption 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.
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
How to Restore .xatz Files?
In some cases Xatz ransomware is not doom for your files…
Xatz 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 of 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 it is not listed by the file system 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.
Anyway, after realizing it was an online algorithm, it is 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.
When I started going through the folders, I noticed the readme.txt ransom note in every folder. 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 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 a further 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 was transferring some files from my backup.
Hopefully, this can help some other people in my situation.Jamie Newland
Recovering your files with PhotoRec
PhotoRec is an open-source program, which is originally created for files recovery from damaged disks, or for files recovery in case they are deleted. However, as time has gone by, this program got the ability to recover the files of 400 different extensions. Hence, it can be used for data recovery after the ransomware attack
At first, you need to download this app. It is 100% free, but the developer states that there is no guarantee that your files will be recovered. PhotoRec is distributed in a pack with other utility of the same developer – TestDisk. The downloaded archive will have a TestDisk name, but don’t worry. PhotoRec files are right inside.
To open PhotoRec, you need to find and open “qphotorec_win.exe” file. No installation is required – this program has all the files it needs inside of the archive, hence, you can fit it on your USB drive, and try to help your friend/parents/anyone who was been attacked by DJVU/STOP ransomware.
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 placed a bit higher. Click this bar, then choose the disk which was attacked by ransomware.
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 desicion is to export them on USB drive or any other type of removable disk.
Then, you need to specify the file formats. This option is located at the bottom, too. As it was mentioned, PhotoRec can recover the files of about 400 different formats.
Finally, you can start files recovery by pressing the “Search” button. You will see the screen where the results of the scan and recovery are shown.
Xatz files recovery guide
Frequently Asked Questions
No way. These files are modified by ransomware. The contents of .xatz files are not available until they are decrypted.
If your data remained in the .xatz files are very valuable, then most likely you 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.
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 install keyloggers and backdoors for further malicious actions (for example, theft of passwords, and credit cards) often.
In this situation, you need to prepare the memory stick with a pre-installed Trojan Killer.
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 Xatz keys or decryption programs appear.
The Xatz ransomware encrypts only the first 150KB of files. So MP3 files are relatively 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 just 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.
Also, you can contact the following government fraud and scam sites to report this attack:
- In the United States: On Guard Online;
- In Canada: Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre;
- In the United Kingdom: Action Fraud;
- In Australia: SCAMwatch;
- In New Zealand: Consumer Affairs Scams;
- In India, go to Indian National Cybercrime Reporting Portal.
- In France: Agence nationale de la sécurité des systèmes d’information;
- In Poland: KOMENDA GŁÓWNA POLICJI;
- In Portugal: Polícia Judiciária;
- In Italy: Polizia di Stato;
- In Spain: Cuerpo Nacional de Policía;
- In Germany: Bundesamt für Sicherheit in der Informationstechnik;
- In Ireland: An Garda Síochána;
To report the attack, you can contact local executive boards (A full list you can find here). For instance, if you live in the USA, you can have a talk with FBI Local field office, IC3 or Secret Service.
How to use GridinSoft Anti-Malware to fix ransomware infections.
If the guide doesn’t help you to remove Xatz 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 article to help users like you. You can use the buttons below to share this on your favorite social media Facebook, Twitter, or Reddit.Brendan Smith
XATZ Ransomware — How To Restore & Decrypt Files?
Name: XATZ Virus
Description: XATZ Virus is a STOP/DJVU family of ransomware-type infections. This virus encrypts your files, video, photos, documents that can be tracked by a specific xatz extension. So, you can't use them at all after that XATZ ransomware asks victims for a ransom fee ($490 - $980) in Bitcoin.
Operating System: Windows
Application Category: Virus
User Review( votes)
- My files are encrypted by ransomware, what should I do now?
- About DJVU (STOP) Ransomware.
- Windows passwords vulnerability (Mimikatz HackTool): https://howtofix.guide/mimikatz-hacktool/
- GridinSoft Anti-Malware Review from HowToFix site: https://howtofix.guide/gridinsoft-anti-malware/
- More information about GridinSoft products: https://gridinsoft.com/products
- Trojan Killer Review: https://howtofix.guide/trojan-killer/