KeyHolder Ransomware Still Active - Remove It And Restore the Encrypted Files - How to, Technology and PC Security Forum |

KeyHolder Ransomware Still Active – Remove It And Restore the Encrypted Files

keyholder-ransomware-sensorstechforum-thumbnailA notorious ransomware, known by the name keyholder has started to spread again, reports on forums indicated. It carries the symbolical name KeyHolder and uses a XOR cipher to encrypt various files of encrypted users’ computers. Not only this, but KeyHolder ransomware also demands users to pay the sum of 500$ to get the files back. It is strongly believed that KeyHolder`s creators are the same people behind another malware – CryptorBit. Users affected by this ransomware, should not fall for the demands of the cyber-crooks and instead follow instructions like the ones in this article to remove KeyHolder ransomware and try to restore their data.

Threat Summary

Short DescriptionThe ransomware encrypts files with the XOR cipher and uses CFB mode and asks a ransom payment of 500$ for decryption.
SymptomsFiles are encrypted and become inaccessible. A ransom note with instructions for paying the ransom shows as .txt and .html files.
Distribution MethodSpam Emails, Email Attachments, File Sharing Networks.
Detection Tool See If Your System Has Been Affected by KeyHolder


Malware Removal Tool

User ExperienceJoin our forum to Discuss KeyHolder Ransomware.
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.

KeyHolder Ransomware – Spreading Methods

In order to infect users, KeyHolder’s creators may have used more than one methods:

  • Malicous URLs shared on social media from compromised accounts to their friendlists.
  • URLs spread via malvertising.
  • Malicious .exe files posted on shady websites, posing as cracks, game cheats, fake installers or other software.
  • Spread via redirects to malicious web links caused by PUPs, like DNS Locker, for example.
  • Web links posted on spam e-mail messages..

Users should beware of all of those spreading tactics and more that they do not know about, because cyber-criminals are constantly developing their methods of infection.

KeyHolder Ransomware Viewed In Detail

After infection, the KeyHolder crypto-virus immediately drops a malicious file on the victim PC. The file may be dropped in various Windows directories, for example:

  • %AppData%
  • %Roaming%
  • %Local%
  • %Temp%
  • %Program Files%
  • %Windows%
  • %User`s Profile%

After this, KeyHolder ransomware immediately begins scanning the infected computer for the most widely used file extensions and encrypt them on a random basis. Some of the extensions KeyHolder ransomware may encode are the following:


After encryption, when an encoded file is opened, Windows does not recognize it and looks for a program to open it. The ransomware uses a XOR cipher along with a so-called CFB mode which additionally secures the encrypted files and makes direct decryption a rather risky process.

In addition to this menace, the ransomware adds two new files which contain its ransom instructions:



  • HOW_DECRYPT.html


KeyHolder Ransomware – Conclusion, Deleting and File Restoration

In conclusion, KeyHolder Ransomware only pretends to use the immensely strong RSA-2048 encryption algorithm. However, it uses a CFB mode which additionally makes direct decryption even more impossible. This ransomware is a very serious variant and it has been existing since 2014 without any resolution from that date. However, malware researchers are continuing to look into the virus and we will post an update as soon as there is a decryptor. Meanwhile we strongly advise removing this rasomware either manually or automatically in safe mode using an advanced anti-malware program. We also recommend following step “3. Restore Files Encrypted by KeyHolder Ransomware” below to alternatively attempt and restore your data. Ofcourse, the methods there are with no 100 percent guarantee you will recover your data, but you may at least get some of your files back, if lucky.


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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