THREAT REMOVAL

.exo (ExoLock) Files Virus – How to Remove and Restore Files

This article aims to help you by showing how to remove the 2.0 variant of ExoLock ransomware and restore .exo encrypted files.

A new ransomware infection has resurfaced as the second variant of ExoLock ransomware. The virus, also dubbed by it’s other name Atchbo Ransomware2.0v aims to encrypt the files on your computer and demands a payment of 0.007 BitCoin to get them restored back to a working state, according to @malwrhunterteam. To further scare off victims of this malware to make the ransom payoff, the .exo files ransomware drops a .txt file named UnlockYourFiles.txt, which has instructions on how to transfer money into a BitCoin wallet and make the payment to the cyber-criminals who are behind the ransomware. If your computer has been infected by this ransomware, reccomendations are to read this article and learn the methods to remove it and try to get your encrypted files back without having to pay the ransom.

Threat Summary

Name .exo Ransomware
Type Ransomware, Cryptovirus
Short Description New variant of ExoLock ransomware. Encrypts the files on your computer after which demands a ransom payoff of 0.007 BTC to get them back.
Symptoms The files on your PC are encrypted with an added .exo file extension, the wallpaper is changed and a text file is added.
Distribution Method Spam Emails, Email Attachments, Executable files
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User Experience Join Our Forum to Discuss .exo Ransomware.
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.

.exo Files Ransomware – Update November 2017

The .exo Files cryptovirus or also known as the ExoLock Ransomware is still circling around the Web, encrypting users’ files. The newest version allows for anybody to be able to make their own version of the malware using an application called “ExoBuilder” made by Exelic – probably the developer of the virus.

You can see how the builder looks like from the screenshot below:

Extensions which the ransomware can encrypt are revealed in the following list:

→.sql, .mp4, .7z, .rar, .m4a, .wma, .avi, .wmv, .csv, .d3dbsp, .zip, .sie, .sum, .ibank, .t13, .t12, .qdf, .gdb, .tax, .pkpass, .bc6, .bc7, .bkp, .qic, .bkf, .sidn, .sidd, .mddata, .itl, .itdb, .icxs, .hvpl, .hplg, .hkdb, .mdbackup, .syncdb, .gho, .cas, .svg, .map, .wmo, .itm, .sb, .fos, .mov, .vdf, .ztmp, .sis, .sid, .ncf, .menu, .layout, .dmp, .blob, .esm, .vcf, .vtf, .dazip, .fpk, .mlx, .kf, .iwd, .vpk, .tor, .psk, .rim, .w3x, .fsh, .ntl, .arch00, .lvl, .snx, .cfr, .ff, .vpp_pc, .lrf, .m2, .mcmeta, .vfs0, .mpqge, .kdb, .db0, .dba, .rofl, .hkx, .bar, .upk, .das, .iwi, .litemod, .asset, .forge, .ltx, .bsa, .apk, .re4, .sav, .lbf, .slm, .bik, .epk, .rgss3a, .pak, .big, .wallet, .wotreplay, .xxx, .desc, .py, .m3u, .flv, .js, .css, .rb, .png, .jpeg, .txt, .p7c, .p7b, .p12, .pfx, .pem, .crt, .cer, .der, .x3f, .srw, .pef, .ptx, .r3d, .rw2, .rwl, .raw, .raf, .orf, .nrw, .mrwref, .mef, .erf, .kdc, .dcr, .cr2, .crw, .bay, .sr2, .srf, .arw, .3fr, .dng, .jpe, .jpg, .cdr, .indd, .ai, .eps, .pdf, .pdd, .psdv, .dbf, .mdf, .wb2, .rtf, .wpd, .dxg, .xf, .dwg, .pst, .accdb, .mdb, .pptm, .pptx, .ppt, .xlk, .xlsb, .xlsm, .xlsx, .xls, .wps, .docm, .docx, .doc, .odb, .odc, .odm, .odp, .ods, .odt, .jpeg, .dll, .md, .cpp, .h, .lib

An advice left in the notes of the ransomware builder suggests to leave out the .exe extension out of the list.

.exo Files Ransomware – Infection Methods

When it comes to this variant of ExoLock ransomware, there may be different methods that exist for infection. The main one which is used in over 80% of the ransomware infections nowadays is called malspam and it uses spam e-mails with malicious attachments or web links that lead to such to infect your PC. Such e-mails often claim that they come from reputable companies, such as:

  • FedEx.
  • PayPal.
  • DHL.
  • Amazon.
  • AliExpress.
  • Your bank.

The e-mails usually contain false statements in them that aim to convince you into opening the e-mail attachment, such as:

  • This is the receipt from your new purchase. The product will be delivered in 2-3 days.
  • Suspicious activity in your bank account has been detected. Open the attachment for full banking transfer history.
  • Please refer to the following order receipt attached and make the payment. Deadline for payment 24 hours.

In addition to via spam e-mails, the malicious executable, belonging to .exo ransomware can also be encountered to be disguised as:

  • Fake setups.
  • Fake game cracks.
  • Key generator.
  • Program license activators.

ExoLock Ransomware – More Information

The .exo files virus is a variant of the ExoLock ransomware, which previously came out back in September with low infection rate. The virus is from the file encryption type, which means that it renders the files on your PC no longer to be able to be opened, until you pay the cyber-crooks behind it a hefty ransom fee in BitCoin.

When the malicious executable which distributes this virus infects your computer, you may not notice it, because it has software obfuscators which aim to conceal it from antivirus programs. During the infection, the virus automatically connects to a distribution site and downloads it’s malicious payload on your computer. The payload may have more than one malicious files of the following file types:

→ .dll, .tmp, .exe, .vbs, .wsf, .js, .bat

The files may be located In the following Windows directories:

  • %AppData%
  • %Local%
  • %LocalLow%
  • %Roaming%
  • %Temp%
  • %Windows%
  • %Documents and Settings%

Among the files dropped is an image which is later set as the wallpaper of the infected computer. It looks like the following:

Along with the wallpaper, the .exo files virus also drops a .txt file ransom note, named UnlockYourFiles.txt. It has the following ransom message in it:

BTC Address: {ID}
All files have ben infected ! ! !
Get decrypt your files in 4 steps
1. Go to www.anycoindirect.eu/en/buy/bitcoins
2. Pay 0.01 bitcoins to the BITCOIN Address below
3. Once confirmed your files will be decrypted
4. And you can enjoy your computer ! ! !

In addition to making sure that you know of it’s presence on your computer system, the ExoLock 2.0 ransomware may also set registry entries in the Run and Run once Windows registry sub-keys, which have the following locations:

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

Among the malicious activities of .exo files virus may also be to execute as an administrator commands in Windows Command Prompt which delete the backed up files (Shadow Volume Copies) on your Windows machine. The commands are as follows:

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

.exo Ransomware – How Does It Encrypt

ExoLock ransomware reportedly may use the AES encryption cipher to render the files on your computer no longer able to be opened. This cipher generates a unique asymmetric key which us used for the decryption. However since these keys are concealed, the only way for direct decryption is to pay the cyber-crooks, which is highly-inadvisable.

The files which are targeted for encryption by Exolock ransomware have been reported to be:

  • Videos.
  • Images.
  • Music.
  • Backup file formats.
  • Archives.
  • Virtual Drive type of files.
  • Files, related to often used programs.
  • Documents.

The encryption process done by .exo files virus is programmed in a way so that it does not affect critical Windows files that may damage your OS. It also does not encrypt the whole file, but only portion of it’s code, enough to make it no longer able to be opened. This eventually results in the files looking like the following:

Remove .exo Files Ransomware and Restore Encoded Files

If you want to remove this ransomware virus, we advise you to follow the removal instructions below. They are specifically created to help you delete the virus step-by-step either manually or automatically. For maximum effectiveness, security experts strongly advise to download an advanced anti-malware software which will automatically scan for and remove all related files and objects created by .exo ransomware on your computer and protect it against future infections without having to reinstall your OS.

In addition to this, be advised that if you want to recover your files, there are other solutions instead of paying the ransom to cyber-extortionists you cannot trust. We have suggested several alternative methods which may help you restore some or most of your encrypted files in step “2. Restore files encrypted by .exo Ransomware” below.

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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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Attention! SensorsTechForum strongly recommends that all malware victims should look for assistance only by reputable sources. Many guides out there claim to offer free recovery and decryption for files encrypted by ransomware viruses. Be advised that some of them may only be after your money.

As a site that has been dedicated to providing free removal instructions for ransomware and malware since 2014, SensorsTechForum’s recommendation is to only pay attention to trustworthy sources.

How to recognize trustworthy sources:

  • Always check "About Us" web page.
  • Profile of the content creator.
  • Make sure that real people are behind the site and not fake names and profiles.
  • Verify Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter personal profiles.


OFFER

REMOVE IT NOW (PC)
with Anti-Malware
We recommend you to download SpyHunter and run free scan to remove all virus files on your PC. This saves you hours of time and effort compared to doing the removal yourself.
SpyHunter 5 free remover allows you, subject to a 48-hour waiting period, one remediation and removal for results found. Read EULA and Privacy Policy


Windows Mac OS X

How to Remove .exo Ransomware from Windows.


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

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 .exo Ransomware 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 .exo Ransomware 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 .exo Ransomware 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 .exo Ransomware 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.

Step 5 (Optional): Try to Restore Files Encrypted by .exo Ransomware.

Ransomware infections and .exo Ransomware 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:

Simply click on the link and on the website menus on top, choose Data Recovery - Data Recovery Wizard for Windows or Mac (depending on your OS), and then download and run the tool.


Windows Mac OS X

Get rid of .exo Ransomware from Mac OS X.


Step 1: Uninstall .exo Ransomware 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 .exo Ransomware:

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 .exo Ransomware. 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 .exo Ransomware. 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 .exo Ransomware 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 .exo Ransomware. 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.


Click the button below below to download SpyHunter for Mac and scan for .exo Ransomware:


Download

SpyHunter for Mac



Step 3 (Optional): Try to Restore Files Encrypted by .exo Ransomware.

Ransomware infections and .exo Ransomware 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:

Simply click on the link and on the website menus on top, choose Data Recovery - Data Recovery Wizard for Windows or Mac (depending on your OS), and then download and run the tool.


.exo Ransomware FAQ

What is .exo Ransomware ransomware and how does it work?

.exo Ransomware is a ransomware infection - the malicious software that enters your computer silently and blocks either access to the computer itself or encrypt your files.

Many ransomware viruses use sophisticated encryption algorithm how to make your files inaccessible. The goal of ransomware infections is to demand that you pay a ransom payment to get access to your files back.

How does .exo Ransomware ransomware infect my computer?

Via several ways..exo Ransomware Ransomware infects computers by being sent via phishing e-mails, containing virus attachment.

This attachment is usually masked as an important document, like an invoice, bank document or even a plane ticket and it looks very convincing to users.

After you download and execute this attachment, a drive-by download occurs and your computer is infected with the ransomware virus.

Another way, you may become a victim of .exo Ransomware is if you download a fake installer, crack or patch from a low reputation website or if you click on a virus link. Many users report getting a ransomware infection by downloading torrents.

How to open ..exo Ransomware files?

You can't. At this point the ..exo Ransomware files are encrypted. You can only open them once they are decrypted.

Decryptor did not decrypt my data. What now?

Do not panic and backup the files. If a decryptor did not decrypt your ..exo Ransomware files successfully, then do not despair, because this virus is still new.

One way to restore files, encrypted by .exo Ransomware ransomware is to use a decryptor for it. But since it's a new virus, advised that the decryption keys for it may not be out yet and available to the public. We will update this article and keep you posted as soon as this decryptor is released.

How Do I restore "..exo Ransomware" files (Other Methods)?

Yes, sometimes files can be restored. We have suggested several file recovery methods that could work if you want to restore ..exo Ransomware files.

These methods are in no way 100% guarantee that you will be able to get your files back. But if you have a backup, your chances of success are much greater.

How do I get rid of .exo Ransomware ransomware virus?

The safest way and the most efficient one for the removal of this ransomware infection is the use a professional anti malware software. It will scan for and locate .exo Ransomware ransomware and then remove it without causing any additional harm to your important ..exo Ransomware files.

Also, keep in mind that viruses like .exo Ransomware ransomware also install Trojans and keyloggers that can steal your passwords and accounts. Scanning your computer with an anti-malware software will make sure that all of these virus components are removed and your computer is protected in the future.

What to Do If nothing works?

There is still a lot you can do. If none of the above methods seem to work for you, then try these methods:

  • Try to find a safe computer from where you can can login on your own line accounts like One Drive, iDrive, Google Drive and so on.
  • Try to contact your friends, relatives and other people so that they can check if they have some of your important photos or documents just in case you sent them.
  • Also, check if some of the files that were encrypted it can be re-downloaded from the web.
  • Another clever way to get back some of your files is to find another old computer, a flash drive or even a CD or a DVD where you may have saved your older documents. You might be surprised what will turn up.
  • You can also go to your email account to check if you can send any attachments to other people. Usually what is sent the email is saved on your account and you can re-download it. But most importantly, make sure that this is done from a safe computer and make sure to remove the virus first.

More tips you can find on our forums, where you can also asks any questions about your ransomware problem.

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