Tool Finally Released to Decrypt Thanatos Ransomware


For those who were effected by the Thanatos ransomware a tool has been released by Cisco Talos on Git Hub to assist with the decryption of those files.


When run, the Thanatos malware looks for files recursively in the following directories:


For each file found, the malware derives an encryption key from the number of milliseconds that the infected computer has been running (via a call to GetTickCount), encrypts the file using 256-bit AES encryption, and then discards the encryption key.

It would be practically impossible to brute-force guess the 256-bit AES encryption key directly, but since the malware derives this key from the system uptime (a 32-bit value) the key is effectively 32-bits in length. On the virtual machine that I tested on, around 100,000 key derivations and AES decryption operations (on one AES block worth of data, needed for decryption success verification) could be performed every second, meaning in the worst case it would take around 12 hours to successfully guess the key if the system uptime value was random. The system uptime is not random, though. The maximum number of milliseconds you can store in a 32-bit value comes out to be 49.7 days worth, and many people tend to shutdown or hibernate their computers before then (or let them sleep from time to time). Thus, the system uptime at time of infection is likely to be a fairly low value – starting at 0 and guessing your way up is a decent approach.

A further optimization is enabled by the fact that the system uptime is written to the Windows Event Logs around once per day. Also, the malware does not modify the .THANATOS file creation dates, so with this information the search space can be reduced to approx. the number of milliseconds within the 24 hours before infection. At 100k attempts per second, it would take around 14 minutes to guess the key under these conditions.


Download here:

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