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.Aes-ni File Virus – Remove and Restore Files

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This article has been created to help you fully remove the AES-NI ransomware infection and restore .aes-ni encrypted files.

A ransomware virus has been detected in April 2017, oriented towards English-speaking users. The virus may spread worldwide, but it stops once it detects it has been activated on countries from the former Soviet Union. The AES-NI ransomware aims to encrypt the files on the computers infected by it using ECB mode and AES-256 encryption algorithm. It then locks the files with RSA-2048, generating unique decryption keys which are then sent to the servers of the cyber-criminals. Then, AES-NI drops a ransom note, named !!! READ THIS – IMPORTANT !!!.txt in which it demands a hefty ransom to be paid in order for the cyber-criminals to restore the encrypted files back to working state. In case you have been infected by the AES-NI ransomware, recommendations are to read this article.

Threat Summary


AES-NI Virus

Short DescriptionEncrypts important documents and other files on computers it infects. Asks for a ransom to be paid.
SymptomsThe victim may see a ransom note, named !!! READ THIS – IMPORTANT !!!.txt and the files encrypted with and added .aes-ni file extension.
Distribution MethodVia an Exploit kit, Dll file attack, malicious JavaScript or a drive-by download of the malware itself in an obfuscated manner.
Detection Tool See If Your System Has Been Affected by AES-NI Virus


Malware Removal Tool

User ExperienceJoin our forum to Discuss AES-NI Virus.
Data Recovery ToolWindows Data Recovery by Stellar Phoenix Notice! This product scans your drive sectors to recover lost files and it may not recover 100% of the encrypted files, but only few of them, depending on the situation and whether or not you have reformatted your drive.

AES-NI Ransomware – Infection Process

The infection file of the AES-NI ransomware may be a heavily obfuscated JavaScript that is malicious or a dropper file. It may also be a Trojan horse or other malware, such as botnet that has previously compromised the victim PC.

The distribution of the infection file may be conducted via massive spam e-mail campaigns that aim for one thing only – to trick users into either clicking on the malicious file or a malicious web link that is embedded within the body of the e-mail sent. One example of such message can be seen below:

Besides e-mail, cyber-criminals who are behind the AES-NI infection may authorize themselves to upload malicious files on file-sharing websites, like torrent sites, for example. Such files may be presented to the user as key generators to activate a license for a given program or a crack or patch for different software.

Other infection methods may include attacks via fake updates or as a result of a malicious browser redirect. Such can happen if the user has an ad-supported potentially unwanted application, also known as PUA.

Once an infection has happened, by any of those scenarios, AES-NI ransomware’s malicious files may be dropped on the infected computer. They include:

  • !!! READ THIS – IMPORTANT !!!.txt
  • .key.aes_ni files
  • Exectuable files located in the %System Drive%, %AppData% or %Windows% folders.

.Aes-ni File Virus – Infection Activity

Besides the primary malicious files of AES-NI, the virus may also create duplicate files or support modules of different file types (.dll, .tmp, .vbs, .bat, .exe) that may be located in the following Windows directories:

  • %AppData%
  • %Roaming%
  • %Local%
  • %LocalLow%
  • %SystemDrive%
  • %Windows%
  • %System32%

The activity of the virus may also include the modifications of Windows Registry sub-keys in a way that the malicious executable that encrypts files runs on system start-up. The keys targeted for this are the following:


In those keys, the AES-NI virus may create custom value strings with the path to the malicious files, so if you are removing the virus manually, you can open the key and see where the malicious file is located.

The AES-NI virus also performs a check of the location of the compromised computer, and if the computer is from one of the former Soviet Union countries, the AES-NI ransomware self-deletes and does not encrypt any files.

Other activities of the AES-NI ransomware infection may include the modification of the Window Shadow copies via the following administrative Winodws Command prompt command lines:

→ process call create “cmd.exe /c
vssadmin.exe delete shadows /all /quiet
bcdedit.exe /set {default} recoveryenabled no
bcdedit.exe /set {default} bootstatuspolicy ignoreallfailures

The Encryption Process of AES-NI Ransomware

To encrypt files, this ransomware virus uses the so-called ECB encryption mode. This encryption mode includes several different encryption sequences. The mode is also known as Electronic Code Book mode. This mode is used when more than one block of data with the same key is encrypted once. The encryption algorithm for the ECB mode is called Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) and is the strongest AES-256 bit. Then , the AES-NI ransomware may combine the file encryption with the RSA algorithm which generates a unique decryption key for each file or set of files. The decryption keys may then be sent via encrypted connection to the servers of the cyber-criminals who are behind AES-NI ransomware.

Among the files encrypted by AES-NI ransomware may be the following:

  • Documents.
  • Music.
  • Videos.
  • Recordings.
  • Images.
  • Database files.

After the encryption process has completed, the AES-NI ransomware sets a custom file extension to the encrypted files and they appear like the following:

The final step of the encryption process is to notify the victim of the encrypted files. This happens by dropping the ransom note of the virus, named !!! READ THIS – IMPORTANT !!!.txt. It has the following content:

==========================# aes-ni ransomware #==========================
█████╗ ██████╗██████╗ ███╗ ██╗ ██╗
██╔═██╗██╔═══╝██╔═══╝ ████╗ ██║ ██║
██████║█████╗ ██████╗███╗██╔██╗██║ ██║
██╔═██║██╔══╝ ╚═══██║╚══╝██║╚████║ ██║
██║ ██║██████╗██████║ ██║ ╚███║ ██║
╚═╝ ╚═╝╚═════╝╚═════╝ ╚═╝ ╚══╝ ╚═╝
SORRY! Your files are encrypted.
File contents are encrypted with random key (AES-256 bit; ECB mode).
Random key is encrypted with RSA public key (2048 bit).
We STRONGLY RECOMMEND you NOT to use any “decryption tools”.
These tools can damage your data, making recover IMPOSSIBLE.
Also we recommend you not to contact data recovery companies.
They will just contact us, buy the key and sell it to you at a higher price.
If you want to decrypt your files, you have to get RSA private key.
In order to get private key, write here:
[email protected]
Also there is one fast way to contact us.
If you are familiar with Jabber, write us to JID: [email protected] (it is Jabber, not e-mail address!)
You can get Jabber account for example at https://www.xmpp.jp/signup
IMPORTANT: In some cases malware researchers can block our e-mails.
If you did not receive any answer on e-mail in 48 hours,
please do not panic and write to BitMsg (https://bitmsg.me) address:
or create topic on https://www.bleepingcomputer.com/ and we will find you there.
Also it will be better if you download Tor browser here: https://www.torproject.org/download/download-easy.html.en
Download, install and run it; then visit our site (from Tor browser): http://kzg2xa3nsydva3p2.onion/index.php
Please do not visit this site from standard browser: it just will not open. You need Tor Browser to open .onion sites.
There is a form, you can write us there if all e-mails are blocked and we will contact you very fastly.
If someone else offers you files restoring, ask him for test decryption.
Only we can successfully decrypt your files; knowing this can protect you from fraud.
You will receive instructions of what to do next.
You MUST refer this ID in your message:
{Unique ID}Also you MUST send all “.key.aes_ni” files from C:\ProgramData if there are any.
==========================# aes-ni ransomware #==========================

Source: id-ransomware-blogspot.bg

Remove .AES-NI Virus and Get Your Data Back

Before removing the AES-NI ransomware, it is strongly recommended to back up all your files. Then, we advise following the removal instructions down below. They are carefully designed to help isolate the threat first and remove it second. For maximum effectiveness, experts strongly advise removing AES-NI ransomware automatically by performing a scan with a particular anti-malware software. It will also protect the system in the future.

For the restoration of the files, keep following this article, as a free decryptor is yet to be released. However, you can still restore chunk of the files by using some of the alternative methods for file recovery below in step “2. Restore files encrypted by AES-NI Virus”.

Ventsislav Krastev

Ventsislav has been covering the latest malware, software and newest tech developments at SensorsTechForum for 3 years now. He started out as a network administrator. Having graduated Marketing as well, Ventsislav also has passion for discovery of new shifts and innovations in cybersecurity that become game changers. After studying Value Chain Management and then Network Administration, he found his passion within cybersecrurity and is a strong believer in basic education of every user towards online safety.

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