.arena Files Virus (Dharma Ransomware) – Remove and Restore Data

.Arena Files Virus (Dharma Ransomware) – Remove and Restore

This article aims to help you by showing you how to remove the latest Dharma ransomware variant and how to restore files encrypted with the .arena file extension by it.

A new version of Dharma ransomware has been detected out in the wild. The Dharma ransomware is a cryptovirus that has evolved from the CrySiS variants which were decryptable when they were released. It aims to encrypt your files and make them no longer able to be opened unless they are unlocked with a special decryption software available only to the cyber-criminals. If you have become one of the victims of Dharma .arena ransomware, we recommend that you read the following article in order to familiarize yourself with the virus and learn how to remove it and try to get your encrypted files working without having to pay to cyber-crooks.

Threat Summary

Name.arena Dharma Virus
TypeRansomware, Cryptovirus
Short DescriptionEncrypts the files on the infected computer and then demands from victims to pay a ransom “fee” in order to send decryption software.
SymptomsFiles are encrypted with the file extension set as the e-mail for contact and the .arena suffix. The ransom note FILES ENCRYPTED.txt also appears.
Distribution MethodSpam Emails, Email Attachments, Executable files
Detection Tool See If Your System Has Been Affected by .arena Dharma Virus


Malware Removal Tool

User ExperienceJoin Our Forum to Discuss .arena Dharma 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.

.arena File Virus – Update December 2017

In the beginning of December, another ransomware started using the .arena extension to mimick the .arena file virus in a way. Currently, the reason is unknown, but the virus mimicking the extension is a variant of GlobeImposter. As to the extension of the GlobeImposter variant – the variant spotter by malware researchers uses precisely the following extension:

  • .[paradisecity@cock.li].arena

That is used as a secondary extension, retaining the original one of encrypted files, which is typical for most GlobeImposter versions.

Update October 2017: The arena variant of Dharma ransomware is continuing to spread with new e-mail spam campaigns as well as multiple other methods.

How Does .arena Dharma Infect

Similar to it’s predecessor CrySiS ransomware, Dharma can be “delivered”via multiple methods. The primary one of those methods is if the virus is spread via spammed e-mails which have either:

  • A malicous fle uploaded as an e-mail attachment.
  • A web link leading to the automatic download of the malicious file.
  • A web link which directly causes the infection.
  • A malicious script causing the infection after you simply open to read the e-mail message (rare occurrence).

When cyber-criminals upload files in the e-mails sent by them, they make sure that those files are heavily concealed so that the e-mail protection system does not block them. This is why they either change the extension of the malicious infection file, for example “.r03” or archive it in a .zip or .rar or other format. The messages aim to convince victims with false statements that the e-mail attachment is legitimate, for example.

“Attached is the copy of your payment receipt.”

.arena File Ransomware – Malicious Activity

After it has encrypted the files on a infected PC, the Arena ransomware virus aims to perform multiple different actions on the computers infected by it. The first of those is to drop its malicious files on the infected computer. They can be located in the following Windows folders:

  • %AppData%
  • %Roaming%
  • %Local%
  • %LocalLow%
  • %Temp%

Among those files may be the ransom note of this virus, named FILES ENCRYPTED.txt and having the following message to victims:

All your data has been locked us
You want to return?
write email sindragosa@bigmir.net

When the files are dropped, some of them may be excecuted automatically and may run different functions. These functions aim to grand Dharma ransomware with administrative permissions over the infected computer, allowing it to perform different modifications on it. One of those modifications is to create registry entries in multiple different Windows Registry sub-keys, such as the Run and RunOnce keys, responsible for auto running files on Windows Start:

→ HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\

In addition to this, Dharma ransomware may also execute batch files (.bat) to run commands in the Windows Command Prompt as administrator. This allows the virus to stop system processes and delete the Volume Shadow Copies (backed up files) on the infected comptuer, preventing any file recovery via this method:

→ vssadmin delete shadows /for={volume} /oldest /all /shadow={ID of the Shadow} /quiet

.arena File Virus – Encryption

In order to encrypt the files on the computer, the .arena version of Dharma ransomware uses the AES encryption algorithm. It makes it possible so that the files targeted by Dharma to be rendered temporarily useless, generating a unique decryption key that is believed to be asymmetric.

The files encrypted by .arena file virus are reported to be often used file types, such as documents, audio files, pictures and others. The virus targets files of commonly used file types, like the following:


After the files are detected and encrypted, they assume the following looks:


The files can no longer be opened and the victim is asked to contact the e-mail where further instructions are received on how to make a payment to get the decryptor. Paying the cyber-criminals is highly inadvisable, primarily because it may result in supporting criminal activity and you may not get your decryptor as promised.

Remove Dharma Ransomware and Restore .arena Encrypted Files

In order to remove this ransomware virus, we strongly suggests to backup your files firstly and then to follow the instructions for decryption and removal below. If you lack the experience in manual malware removal, experts often advise users to turn to an advanced anti-malware software which not only performs the removal automatically, but also protects your computer in the future as well.

In order to restore files that have been encrypted by this ransomware virus, you can try to restore them using the alternative file recovery instructions below in step “2. Restore files encrypted by .arena Dharma”. They are not 100% effective but they may recover some encrypted files.


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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Windows Mac OS X

How to Remove .arena Dharma Virus from Windows.

Step 1: Boot Your PC In Safe Mode to isolate and remove .arena Dharma Virus


Manual Removal Usually Takes Time and You Risk Damaging Your Files If Not Careful!
We Recommend To Scan Your PC with SpyHunter

Keep in mind, that SpyHunter’s scanner is only for malware detection. If SpyHunter detects malware on your PC, you will need to purchase SpyHunter's malware removal tool to remove the malware threats. Read our SpyHunter 5 review. Click on the corresponding links to check SpyHunter's EULA, Privacy Policy and Threat Assessment Criteria

1. Hold Windows key() + R

2. The "Run" Window will appear. In it, type "msconfig" and click OK.

3. Go to the "Boot" tab. There select "Safe Boot" and then click "Apply" and "OK".
Tip: Make sure to reverse those changes by unticking Safe Boot after that, because your system will always boot in Safe Boot from now on.

4. When prompted, click on "Restart" to go into Safe Mode.

5. You can recognise Safe Mode by the words written on the corners of your screen.

Step 2: Uninstall .arena Dharma Virus and related software from Windows

Here is a method in few easy steps that should be able to uninstall most programs. No matter if you are using Windows 10, 8, 7, Vista or XP, those steps will get the job done. Dragging the program or its folder to the recycle bin can be a very bad decision. If you do that, bits and pieces of the program are left behind, and that can lead to unstable work of your PC, errors with the file type associations and other unpleasant activities. The proper way to get a program off your computer is to Uninstall it. To do that:

1. Hold the Windows Logo Button and "R" on your keyboard. A Pop-up window will appear.

2. In the field type in "appwiz.cpl" and press ENTER.

3. This will open a window with all the programs installed on the PC. Select the program that you want to remove, and press "Uninstall"
Follow the instructions above and you will successfully uninstall most programs.

Step 3: Clean any registries, created by .arena Dharma Virus on your computer.

The usually targeted registries of Windows machines are the following:

  • HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run
  • HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run
  • HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\RunOnce
  • HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\RunOnce

You can access them by opening the Windows registry editor and deleting any values, created by .arena Dharma Virus there. This can happen by following the steps underneath:

1. Open the Run Window again, type "regedit" and click OK.

2. When you open it, you can freely navigate to the Run and RunOnce keys, whose locations are shown above.

3. You can remove the value of the virus by right-clicking on it and removing it.
Tip: To find a virus-created value, you can right-click on it and click "Modify" to see which file it is set to run. If this is the virus file location, remove the value.

Before starting "Step 4", please boot back into Normal mode, in case you are currently in Safe Mode.
This will enable you to install and use SpyHunter 5 successfully.

Step 4: Scan for .arena Dharma Virus with SpyHunter Anti-Malware Tool

1. Click on the "Download" button to proceed to SpyHunter's download page.

It is recommended to run a scan before purchasing the full version of the software to make sure that the current version of the malware can be detected by SpyHunter. Click on the corresponding links to check SpyHunter's EULA, Privacy Policy and Threat Assessment Criteria.

2. After you have installed SpyHunter, wait for it to update automatically.


3. After the update process has finished, click on the 'Malware/PC Scan' tab. A new window will appear. Click on 'Start Scan'.


4. After SpyHunter has finished scanning your PC for any files of the associated threat and found them, you can try to get them removed automatically and permanently by clicking on the 'Next' button.


If any threats have been removed, it is highly recommended to restart your PC.

Step 5 (Optional): Try to Restore Files Encrypted by .arena Dharma Virus.

Ransomware infections and .arena Dharma Virus aim to encrypt your files using an encryption algorithm which may be very difficult to decrypt. This is why we have suggested a data recovery method that may help you go around direct decryption and try to restore your files. Bear in mind that this method may not be 100% effective but may also help you a little or a lot in different situations.

1. Download the reccomended Data Recovery software by clicking on the link underneath:

If the above link does not work for you and your region, try the other two links below, that lead to the same product:


2. On the download page, click on the "Download" button:

3. Click on "Save File" button:

4. Accept all agreements and click "Next":

5. After all the "Next" steps, click on "Install" and then wait for the installation to complete:

6. Run the software. Click on the location to scan for missing or deleted files and click on "Scan":

7. Wait for the scan to complete, it may take some time. Be advised that this scan is not 100% guaranteed to recover all files, but it does have some chance to get your data back:

Windows Mac OS X

Get rid of .arena Dharma Virus from Mac OS X.

Step 1: Uninstall .arena Dharma Virus and remove related files and objects

Manual Removal Usually Takes Time and You Risk Damaging Your Files If Not Careful!
We Recommend To Scan Your Mac with SpyHunter for Mac
Keep in mind, that SpyHunter for Mac needs to purchased to remove the malware threats. Click on the corresponding links to check SpyHunter’s EULA and Privacy Policy

1. Hit the ⇧+⌘+U keys to open Utilities. Another way is to click on “Go” and then click “Utilities”, like the image below shows:

2. Find Activity Monitor and double-click it:

3. In the Activity Monitor look for any suspicious processes, belonging or related to .arena Dharma Virus:

Tip: To quit a process completely, choose the “Force Quit” option.

4. Click on the "Go" button again, but this time select Applications. Another way is with the ⇧+⌘+A buttons.

5. In the Applications menu, look for any suspicious app or an app with a name, similar or identical to .arena Dharma Virus. If you find it, right-click on the app and select “Move to Trash”.

6: Select Accounts, after which click on the Login Items preference. Your Mac will then show you a list of items that start automatically when you log in. Look for any suspicious apps identical or similar to .arena Dharma Virus. Check the app you want to stop from running automatically and then select on the Minus (“-“) icon to hide it.

7: Remove any left-over files that might be related to this threat manually by following the sub-steps below:

  • Go to Finder.
  • In the search bar type the name of the app that you want to remove.
  • Above the search bar change the two drop down menus to “System Files” and “Are Included” so that you can see all of the files associated with the application you want to remove. Bear in mind that some of the files may not be related to the app so be very careful which files you delete.
  • If all of the files are related, hold the ⌘+A buttons to select them and then drive them to “Trash”.

In case you cannot remove .arena Dharma Virus via Step 1 above:

In case you cannot find the virus files and objects in your Applications or other places we have shown above, you can manually look for them in the Libraries of your Mac. But before doing this, please read the disclaimer below:

Disclaimer! If you are about to tamper with Library files on Mac, be sure to know the name of the virus file, because if you delete the wrong file, it may cause irreversible damage to your MacOS. Continue on your own responsibility!

1: Click on "Go" and Then "Go to Folder" as shown underneath:

2: Type in "/Library/LauchAgents/" and click Ok:

3: Delete all of the virus files that have similar or the same name as .arena Dharma Virus. If you believe there is no such file, do not delete anything.

You can repeat the same procedure with the following other Library directories:

→ ~/Library/LaunchAgents

Tip: ~ is there on purpose, because it leads to more LaunchAgents.

Step 2: Scan for and remove .arena Dharma Virus files from your Mac

When you are facing problems on your Mac as a result of unwanted scripts and programs such as .arena Dharma Virus, the recommended way of eliminating the threat is by using an anti-malware program. Combo Cleaner offers advanced security features along with other modules that will improve your Mac’s security and protect it in the future.

Step 3 (Optional): Try to Restore Files Encrypted by .arena Dharma Virus on your Mac.

Ransomware for Mac .arena Dharma Virus aims to encode all your files using an encryption algorithm which may be very difficult to decode, unless you pay money. This is why we have suggested a data recovery method that may help you go around direct decryption and try to restore your files, but only in some cases. Bear in mind that this method may not be 100% effective but may also help you a little or a lot in different situations.

1. Download the recommended Data Recovery Mac app by clicking on the link underneath:

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