THREAT REMOVAL

Arestocrat (Department of Justice) Virus – Unlock Your PC

Article created to help you remove the Arestocrat lockscreen Department of Justice ransomware infection and unlock your infected computer.

A ransomware virus, detected as Ransom.Arestocrat detected first In 2013 has still proven to be active and lock the screens on the computers infected by it. The infection downloads malicious files and modifies settings on the infected computer so that it is possible to cause the screen to freeze. The Arestocrat virus then displays a false message that It is the Department of Justice and accuses the user of illegal activity. However, fact is that all departments of the government do not operate this way and if you have seen the locked screen from Arestocrat, we strongly suggest to read the following material thoroughly.

Threat Summary

Name
TypeRansomware (Lockscreen)
Short DescriptionLocks the computer, displaying a fake government message from DOJ.
SymptomsA message from the Department of Justice is displayed with ransom demands.
Distribution MethodSpam Emails, Email Attachments, File Sharing Networks.
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Arestocrat Virus – How Does It Infect

To spread online, the hackers behind this lockscreen type of virus may take advantage of multiple different tools and kits. The most often used of those are:

  • Exploit kits.
  • File joiners that combine malicious code with legitimate executables.
  • Spamming bots or services.
  • A pre-created list of fake e-mail addresses with good quality.
  • A list with e-mail addresses to spam.
  • Hacked online accounts.
  • Shady domains and servers for command and control.

The usage of these tools may result in the spamming of malicious files as well as web links that contain the Arestocrat infection. These may be accompanied by an e-mail message with a very convincing statement, whose only aim is to get the user to either click on the malicious web link or open the attachment. Example images of such spam e-mails can be seen below:


Besides using new methods to infect users, the cyber-criminals also use new deceitful tricks, such as use the name of the user of the e-mail account in the e-mail’s text, for further trust and convincing.

In addition to spammed e-mails, the above-mentioned tools may also be used to spread the Arestocrat virus in multiple other ways, such as:

  • Via fake updates of Adobe or Windows posted on shady sites or downloaded via unwanted software.
  • Through fake program licensing patches or key generators uploaded from hacked online accounts on torrent websites.
  • Via game cracks, patches or Self-Extracting archives. (SFX)

Arestocrat Virus – Further Information

As soon as the user opens the infection file or web link, a malicious code may be executed. This code connects to a distribution host and via an unsecured web port downloads the payload of Arestocrat lockscreen. After the payload has been downloaded on the infected computer, it may be situated on the following locations:

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

As soon as this malware has been situated, it may begin to heavily modify the Windows Registry Editor. The following Windows Registry sub-keys may be targeted for modification:

→ HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\Shell Folders\Local AppData
HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\Shell Folders\Templates
HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\Shell Folders\AppData
HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\Shell Folders\Cache
HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\Shell Folders\Cookies
HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\Shell Folders\History
HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\Shell Folders\AppData
HKLM\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\Shell Folders\CommonAppData
HKLM\System\CurrentcontrolSet\Hardware Profiles\0001\Software\Microst\windows\CurrentVersion\Internet Settings\ProxyEnable
HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Internet Settings\Connections\SavedLegacySettings
HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows\Run\qcgce2mrvjq91kk1e7pnbb19m52fx
HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Command Processor\AutoRun
HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon\Shell
HKCR\CLSID\{random alpha numerical key}\InProcServer32\ThreadingModel
HKCR\CLSID\{random alpha numerical key}\InProcServer32\TheadingModel\(Default)
HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Internet Settings\ZoneMap\UNCAsIntranet
HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Internet Settings\ZoneMap\AutoDetect

After this modification has been performed the lockscreen virus may cause a force reset on the computer of the user after which the Arestocrat Lockscreen may appear:

From there, the user may be demanded to pay a “fee” to get access back to his computer. Such type of police ransomware viruses are nothing new and fortunately they do not encrypt files, meaning they can be removed.

Remove Arestocrat Lockscreen Ransom Completely

For the removal process of this ransomware, we strongly suggest you to follow the removal instructions below. They are carefully designed to help you bypass the lockscreen by booting your computer into safe mode, after which perform the removal either manually or automatically. For maximum effectiveness, we recommend to remove malicious objects automatically by following the removal instructions below and downloading an advanced anti-malware program. Such will remove the files from your computer and revert all the settings back to normal by removing the malicious objects controlling them and in the meantime protect your computer against future ransomware infections.

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Ventsislav Krastev

Ventsislav is a cybersecurity expert at SensorsTechForum since 2015. He has been researching, covering, helping victims with the latest malware infections plus testing and reviewing software and the newest tech developments. Having graduated Marketing as well, Ventsislav also has passion for learning new shifts and innovations in cybersecurity that become game changers. After studying Value Chain Management, Network Administration and Computer Administration of System Applications, he found his true calling within the cybersecrurity industry and is a strong believer in the education of every user towards online safety and security.

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Windows Mac OS X Google Chrome Mozilla Firefox Microsoft Edge Safari Internet Explorer

How to Remove from Windows.


Step 1: Boot Your PC In Safe Mode to isolate and remove

OFFER

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 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 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 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.

IMPORTANT!
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 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.

SpyHunter5-update-2018


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

SpyHunter5-Free-Scan-2018


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.

SpyHunter-5-Free-Scan-Next-2018

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


Windows Mac OS X Google Chrome Mozilla Firefox Microsoft Edge Safari Internet Explorer

Get rid of from Mac OS X.


Step 1: Uninstall and remove related files and objects

OFFER
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 :

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 . 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 . 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 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 . 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
/Library/LaunchDaemons

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


Step 2: Scan for and remove malware from your Mac

When you are facing problems on your Mac as a result of unwanted scripts, programs and malware, 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.



Windows Mac OS X Google Chrome Mozilla Firefox Microsoft Edge Safari Internet Explorer


Remove from Google Chrome.


Step 1: Start Google Chrome and open the drop menu


Step 2: Move the cursor over "Tools" and then from the extended menu choose "Extensions"


Step 3: From the opened "Extensions" menu locate the unwanted extension and click on its "Remove" button.


Step 4: After the extension is removed, restart Google Chrome by closing it from the red "X" button at the top right corner and start it again.


Windows Mac OS X Google Chrome Mozilla Firefox Microsoft Edge Safari Internet Explorer


Erase from Mozilla Firefox.

Step 1: Start Mozilla Firefox. Open the menu window


Step 2: Select the "Add-ons" icon from the menu.


Step 3: Select the unwanted extension and click "Remove"


Step 4: After the extension is removed, restart Mozilla Firefox by closing it from the red "X" button at the top right corner and start it again.



Windows Mac OS X Google Chrome Mozilla Firefox Microsoft Edge Safari Internet Explorer


Uninstall from Microsoft Edge.


Step 1: Start Edge browser.


Step 2: Open the drop menu by clicking on the icon at the top right corner.


Step 3: From the drop menu select "Extensions".


Step 4: Choose the suspected malicious extension you want to remove and then click on the gear icon.


Step 5: Remove the malicious extension by scrolling down and then clicking on Uninstall.



Windows Mac OS X Google Chrome Mozilla Firefox Microsoft Edge Safari Internet Explorer


Remove from Safari.


Step 1: Start the Safari app.


Step 2: After hovering your mouse cursor to the top of the screen, click on the Safari text to open its drop down menu.


Step 3: From the menu, click on "Preferences".

stf-safari preferences


Step 4: After that, select the 'Extensions' Tab.

stf-safari-extensions


Step 5: Click once on the extension you want to remove.


Step 6: Click 'Uninstall'.

stf-safari uninstall

A pop-up window will appear asking for confirmation to uninstall the extension. Select 'Uninstall' again, and the will be removed.


How to Reset Safari
IMPORTANT: Before resetting Safari make sure you back up all your saved passwords within the browser in case you forget them.

Start Safari and then click on the gear leaver icon.

Click the Reset Safari button and you will reset the browser.


Windows Mac OS X Google Chrome Mozilla Firefox Microsoft Edge Safari Internet Explorer


Eliminate from Internet Explorer.


Step 1: Start Internet Explorer.


Step 2: Click on the gear icon labeled 'Tools' to open the drop menu and select 'Manage Add-ons'


Step 3: In the 'Manage Add-ons' window.


Step 4: Select the extension you want to remove and then click 'Disable'. A pop-up window will appear to inform you that you are about to disable the selected extension, and some more add-ons might be disabled as well. Leave all the boxes checked, and click 'Disable'.


Step 5: After the unwanted extension has been removed, restart Internet Explorer by closing it from the red 'X' button located at the top right corner and start it again.


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