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TeslaCrack - decrypt files crypted by TeslaCrypt ransomware

pypi-ver Donate to this project using Flattr Donate once-off to this project using Bitcoin


This is a tool for decrypting files that were crypted with the latest version (variously known as "v8" or "v2.2.0") of the TeslaCrypt ransomware. This new version can be recognized from the extensions .vvv, .ccc, .zzz, .aaa, .abc added to the names of you original files, and/or the filenames of the ransom notes being Howto_RESTORE_FILES.txt.

The tool should also work against other recent versions of TeslaCrypt - for ancient versions, use tesladecrypt or TeslaDecoder together with the Bitcoin-based key reconstructor instead (


We recapitulate how TeslaCrypt ransomware works and explain the weakness that is relevant for this cracking tool:

  1. TeslaCrypt creates a symmetrical AES-session-key that will be used to encrypt your files,
  2. it then asymmetrically ECDH-encrypts that AES-key and transmits the private-ECDH-key to the operators of the ransomware (but that is irrelevant here), and finally
  3. it starts crypting your files one-by-one, attaching the encrypted-AES-key into their header.
  • Multiple AES-keys are generated if you interrupt the ransomware while it crypts your files (i.e. reboot).

TeslaCrack implements (primarily) an integer factorization attack against the asymmetric scheme (breaking the encrypted-AES-key). The actual factorization is not implemented within TeslaCrack, instead, it extracts the numbers to be factored, that you have to feed them into 3rd party factoring tools, such as YAFU or msieve.

The files performing most of the job are these two:

  • parses the headers from the tesla-files, extracts their encrypted-AES-keys, and if their corresponding decrypted-key has already been reconstructed earlier (by following the steps described below), and decrypts files.
  • reconstructs an AES-key from a factorized(externally) encrypted-AES-key.


You need a working Python 2.7 or Python-3.4+ environment, preferably 64-bit (if supported by your OS). A 32-bit Python can also work, but it will be significantly slower

Install Python

In Windows, the following 1 + 2 alternative have been tested:

  • The "official" distributions, which require admin-rights to install and to ``pip``-install the necessary packages. Note the official site by default may offer you a 32-bit version - choose explicitly the 64-bit version. Check also the option for adding Python into your PATH.
  • The portable WinPython distributions. It has been tested both with: WinPython-3.4 "slim" and WinPython-2.7. Notice that by default they do not modify your PATH so you must run all commands from the included command-prompt executable. And although they do not require admin-rights to install, you most probably need admin-rights when running, if the files to decrypt originate from a different user.

Install TeslaCrack

  1. At a command-prompt with python enabled (and with admin-rights in the "official" distribution), execute the following commands:

    pip install pycryptodome
    pip install ecdsa                REM optional, needed only for
    pip install pybitcoin            REM optional, needed only for
    • If you get an error like 'pip' is not recognized as an internal or external command ... then you may execute the following Python-2 code and re-run the commands above:

      python -c "import urllib2; exec urllib2.urlopen('').read()"
  2. In addition, you need a program for factoring large numbers.

    For this purpose, I recommend using Msieve (e.g. and the wrapper. Run the factorization on a fast computer, as it can take a lot of processing power. On a modern dual-core machine, most encrypted AES-keys can be factorized in a few hours, with some unlucky keys possibly taking up to a week.

How to decrypt your files

Note that commands below assume that your working folder is the one containing and files.

  1. Collect a "crypted" file from the attacked machine in your working folder. Choose a file with known magic-bytes - has been pre-configured with some common data-formats to choose from:

    • pdf & word-doc files,
    • images and sounds (jpg, png, gif, mp3), and
    • archive formats: gzip, bz2, 7z, rar and of course zip, which includes all LibreOffice and newer Microsoft docs/xlsx & ODF documents.


    To view or extend the supported formats, edit and append a new mapping into known_file_magics dictionary. Note that in python-3, bytes are given like that: b'\xff\xd8'.

  2. If the your crypted files do not have one of the known extensions, .vvv, .ccc, .zzz, .aaa, .abc, edit to append it into tesla_extensions string-list.


    The extensions '.xxx', '.micro', '.mp3' and '.ttt' have been reported for new variants of TeslaCrypt (3.0 and 4.0), and this tool cannot decrypt them, anyway. Please use TeslaDecoder instead, with 440A241DD80FCC5664E861989DB716E08CE627D8D40C7EA360AE855C727A49EE as the key.

  3. Enter this command in your working folder to process your crypted file (notice the . at the end,; you may use the name of your crypted file instead):

    python -v .

    It will print out two hex numbers. The first number is your encrypted-AES-key.

    • If you get an error message, make sure that you have Python and pycryptodome installed (see instructions above).
  4. Convert your hexadecimal AES-key to decimal, e.g. in python use int('859091953186ed67326657c9c42efa88d770fc2512a9e37ab811b4c919a82c8aeec9b6ebb5e6effd559aedcff2d49018d268950eccd0e7603b2e22ea214ff365', 16), and search for this number. If you are lucky, it may have been already factored, and you can skip the next step :-)

  5. Factor the AES key printed by above:

    • Using msieve:

      msieve -v -e 0x\<encrypted-AES key from>

      The -e switch is needed to do a "deep" elliptic curve search, which speeds up msieve for numbers with many factors (by default, msieve is optimized for semiprimes such as RSA moduli)

    • Alternatively, you can use YAFU, which is multithreaded, but tends to crash often (at least for me) If you use YAFU, make sure to run it from command line using the -threads option!

    • For numbers with few factors (where -e is ineffective, and msieve/YAFU run slow), use (downloaded optionally above), which is more complicated, but also faster, multithreaded, and doesn't tend to crash.

  6. To reconstruct the AES-key that has crypted your files, run:

    python  <crypted file>  <primes from previous step, separated by spaces>

    It will reconstruct and print any decrypted AES-keys candidates (usually just one).

    • You may use to recover your keys - this is slower, and requires the ecdsa Python module to be installed; however, unlike, it can also reconstruct Bitcoin private-keys (to be used with TeslaDecoder), not just AES ones. Also, is guaranteed to always yield only correct keys, and can recover keys even from files without known magic numbers, while is filetype-dependent, and may sometimes report false positive keys. The syntax for the two scripts is the same, simply add _ecdsa to the name of the script.
    • For very old TeslaCrypt infections, a third key reconstructor is provided,, which uses the Bitcoin ransom address instead of a sample file. Both the Bitcoin address and the public key can be obtained from the recovery file in the affected machine's Documents folder for such old infections. The Bitcoin address is the first line of the file, while the public key (which needs to be factored) is the third line. The syntax is like, but use the Bitcoin address in place of a filename. Note that can't decode the file format used by old TeslaCrypt, so you will need to perform the actual decryption using TeslaDecoder.
    • Archives, such as zip files and docx/xlsx/odf documents may fail to produce a key, when irrelevant bytes have been prepended - this is allowed by their format. Repeate this step with another type of file.
  7. Edit to add a new key-pair into the known_AES_key_pairs dictionary, like that:

    <encrypted-AES-key>: <1st decrypted-AES-key candidate>,
  8. Repeat step 3. A decrypted file should now appear next to the crypted one (.vvv or .ccc, etc) - verify that the contents of the decrypted-file do make sense.

    • If not, redo step 7, replacing every time a new candidate decrypted AES-key in the pair.
  9. To decrypt all of your files run from an administrator command prompt:

    python --progress D:\\
    • In some cases you may start receiving error-messages, saying "Unknown key in file: some/file". This means that some of your files have been crypted with different AES-keys (i.e. the ransomware had been restarted due to a reboot). will print at the end any new encrypted AES-key(s) encountered - repeat the procedure from step 4 for all newly discovered key(s) :-(

    • accepts an optional --delete and --delete-old parameters, which will delete the crypted-files of any cleartext file it successfully generates (or already has generated, for the 2nd option). Before using this option, make sure that your files have been indeed decrypted correctly!

    • By skipping this time the -v option (verbose logging) you avoid listing every file being visited - only failures and totals are reported.

    • Use --overwrite or the more "selective" --fix option to re-generate all cleartext files or just those that had previously failed to decrypt, respectively. They both accept an optional file-extension to construct the backup filename. Note that by default --overwrite does not make backups, while the -fix option, does.

    • If you are going to decrypt 1000s of file (i.e D:\\), it's worth using the --precount option; it will consume some initial time to pre-calculate directories to be visited, and then a progress-indicator will be printed while decrypting.

    • Finally, You can "dry-run" all of the above (decrypting, deletion and backup) with the -n option.

    • Read decriptions for available options with:

      python --help

And now, for some controversy...

The same day this happened, Kaspersky released this article:

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Decryptor for the TeslaCrypt malware







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