THREAT REMOVAL

.CONTACTUS Files Virus – How to Remove and Restore Your Data

This article has been created in order to help explain what is the .CONTACTUS ransomware virus and how to remove it from your computer plus restore files, encrypted by it.

A new ransomware infection, believed to be an updated variant of .PAUSA ransomware has been reported by security researchers to encrypt the files on the computers infected by it and then leave behind the .CONTACTUS file suffix. The ransomware also drops a ransom note, called !!!RESTORE_FILES!!!.txt which aims get victims to pay a hefty ransom fee to the cyber-criminals in order to get their files restored back to their working state.

Threat Summary

Name .CONTACTUS Files Virus
Type Ransomware, Cryptovirus
Short Description Aims to encrypt the files on your PC and then leaves behind a ransom note, asking you to pay ransom to restore files.
Symptoms Files are encrypted with the .CONTACUS file extension added to them. A ransom note is dropped, known as !!!RESTORE_FILES!!!.txt
Distribution Method Spam Emails, Email Attachments, Executable files
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User Experience Join Our Forum to Discuss .CONTACTUS Files Virus.
Data Recovery Tool Windows 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.

.CONTACTUS Ransomware – Spread

The .CONTACUS ransomware could infect victims computers using different methods. One of those methods is via a payload dropper file which is basically an intermediary malware, that is obfuscated and aims to evade various antivirus programs and other protection software. These types of files are usually dropped as a result of the infection file being uploaded on web pages and posing as a fake setup of a program, a fake document and even a fake license activator, such as cracks, patches and even key generator programs. Usually the websites on which these files are uploaded are torrent sites or software providing sites with low reputation.

.CONTACTUS Ransomware Virus – More Information

.CONTACTUS is the type of ransomware which aims to encrypt the files on your computer and then ask for a payment to be made in order to get the files of the virus back to normal again. It has so far been detected in quite the different versions, such as:

All of the variants use a ransom note which does not differ much among them. In this variant, the ransom note detected in question is called !!!RESTORE_FILES!!!.txt and it has the following message to victims:

All your important files were encrypted on this PC.
All files with .CONTACTUS extension are encrypted.
Encryption was produced using unique private key RSA-1024 generated for this computer.
To decrypt your files, you need to obtain private key + decrypt software.
To retrieve the private key and decrypt software, you need to CONTACTUS us by email decryption@bitmessage.ch send us an email your !!!RESTORE_FILES!!!.txt file and wait for further instructions.
For you to be sure, that we can decrypt your files – you can send us a 1-3 any not very big encrypted files and we will send you back it in a original form FREE.
Price for decryption $600 if you contact us first 72 hours.
Your personal id:
[redacted 40 characters] E-mail address to contact us:
decryption@bitmessage.ch
Reserve e-mail address to contact us:
decryption@india.com

In addition to it’s ransom note, the virus also drops other files as a part of it’s payload, that may be located in the following Windows directories:

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

Once these files are dropped on the victim’s computer, they may start to perform a set of unwanted activities, such as create mutexes, create copies of the virus, in case the original variants of the files are deleted on the victim PC. In addition to those activities, the .CONTACTUS files virus may also set a registry value string with data pointing out to it’s file that is responsible for the actual encryption process in the Run and RunOnce registry sub-keys in Windows. They are located as follows:

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

Besides this, the .CONTACUS ransomware virus may have one more trick up it’s sleeve. The malware may use a script that execues the following commands in Windows command prompt in order to delete the shadow volume copies of the infected computer:

→ sc stop VVS
sc stop wscsvc
sc stop WinDefend
sc stop wuauserv
sc stop BITS
sc stop ERSvc
sc stop WerSvc
cmd.exe /C bcdedit /set {default} recoveryenabled No
cmd.exe /C bcdedit /set {default} bootstatuspolicy ignoreallfailures
C:\Windows\System32\cmd.exe” /C vssadmin.exe Delete Shadows /All /Quiet

.CONTACTUS Files Virus – Encryption Process

In order for it to encrypt the files on the infected computers, the .CONTACTUS ransomware infection may initiate a system scam that checks your computer for often used file types, such as the following:

→ “PNG .PSD .PSPIMAGE .TGA .THM .TIF .TIFF .YUV .AI .EPS .PS .SVG .INDD .PCT .PDF .XLR .XLS .XLSX .ACCDB .DB .DBF .MDB .PDB .SQL .APK .APP .BAT .CGI .COM .EXE .GADGET .JAR .PIF .WSF .DEM .GAM .NES .ROM .SAV CAD Files .DWG .DXF GIS Files .GPX .KML .KMZ .ASP .ASPX .CER .CFM .CSR .CSS .HTM .HTML .JS .JSP .PHP .RSS .XHTML. DOC .DOCX .LOG .MSG .ODT .PAGES .RTF .TEX .TXT .WPD .WPS .CSV .DAT .GED .KEY .KEYCHAIN .PPS .PPT .PPTX ..INI .PRF Encoded Files .HQX .MIM .UUE .7Z .CBR .DEB .GZ .PKG .RAR .RPM .SITX .TAR.GZ .ZIP .ZIPX .BIN .CUE .DMG .ISO .MDF .TOAST .VCD SDF .TAR .TAX2014 .TAX2015 .VCF .XML Audio Files .AIF .IFF .M3U .M4A .MID .MP3 .MPA .WAV .WMA Video Files .3G2 .3GP .ASF .AVI .FLV .M4V .MOV .MP4 .MPG .RM .SRT .SWF .VOB .WMV 3D .3DM .3DS .MAX .OBJ R.BMP .DDS .GIF .JPG ..CRX .PLUGIN .FNT .FON .OTF .TTF .CAB .CPL .CUR .DESKTHEMEPACK .DLL .DMP .DRV .ICNS .ICO .LNK .SYS .CFG”

After this is done, the .CONTACUS ransomware may begin to alter data on the files, by using a combination of two main encryption algorithms:

  • AES (Advanced Encryption Standard), which generates an assymetric decryption key.
  • RSA (Rivest-Shamir-Adleman), that begins to create a unique decryption key for each file.

The files, encrypted by the .CONTACTUS files virus may appear like the following:

The two algorithms make it virtually impossible to break the encryption, because of the sheer randomness used by the encryption module of the ransomware. And even though it is difficult to decrypt files directly, because for this to happen, researchers do need to crack the ransomware’s code, security analysts strongly advise not to pay any ransom to the crooks. This is because of two main reasons – you cannot trust them to recover your files and paying only supports their criminal activity.

Remove .CONTACUS Ransomware and Restore Encrypted Files

In order to make sure that this ransomware virus is gone from your computer, it is strongly reccomended that you follow the removal instructions underneath this article. They have been created to help you delete the malicious objects of this virus either manually, by using the information in this article or automatically, if you want a fast and safe solution. For maxmimum effecitiveness, security researchers strongly advise to automatically remove the encrypted files of this ransomware infection, by using an advanced anti-malware software. It will automatically remove all of the malware-related files from your computer while in the same time ensuring that your PC remains protected against future threats as well.

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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 .CONTACTUS Files Virus from Windows.


Step 1: Boot Your PC In Safe Mode to isolate and remove .CONTACTUS Files Virus

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 .CONTACTUS Files 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 .CONTACTUS Files 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 .CONTACTUS Files 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.

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 .CONTACTUS Files 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.

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 .CONTACTUS Files Virus from Mac OS X.


Step 1: Uninstall .CONTACTUS Files Virus 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 .CONTACTUS Files 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 .CONTACTUS Files 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 .CONTACTUS Files 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 .CONTACTUS Files 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 .CONTACTUS Files 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
/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 .CONTACTUS Files Virus 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 .CONTACTUS Files Virus 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 .CONTACTUS Files Virus 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 .CONTACTUS Files Virus 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 .CONTACTUS Files Virus 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 .CONTACTUS Files Virus 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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