THREAT REMOVAL

Kraken Virus – Remove and Restore .kraken Encrypted Files

This article aims to help you learn how to remove Kraken ransomware and restore your files if they have been encrypted by the virus.

Kraken is a ransomware type of virus that attacks the files on the computers it encrypts. Once caused an infection, Kraken ransomware begins employing encryption to render the files no longer openable. After this has been done, the virus releases “_help_your_files.html” type of file to notify the user and get him to pay a hefty sum as a ransom fee. In case you have become a victim of Kraken ransomware, we urge you not to pay any form of ransom to the cyber-criminals and read this article to learn more about Kraken and methods to eliminate it and try to restore the files.

Threat Summary

Name

Kraken

TypeRansomware
Short DescriptionThe malware encrypts users files using a strong encryption algorithm, making direct decryption possible only via a unique decryption key available to the cyber-criminals.
SymptomsThe user may witness ransom notes and “instructions” linking to a web page and a decryptor. Changed file names and the file-extension .adk has been used.
Distribution MethodVia an Exploit kit, Dll file attack, malicious JavaScript or a drive-by download of the malware itself in an obfuscated manner.
Detection Tool See If Your System Has Been Affected by malware

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Malware Removal Tool

User ExperienceJoin our forum to Discuss Kraken.
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.

How Does the Kraken Virus Infect

The malware may use a variety of file types that may be embedded in spammed e-mail messages. Such e-mails usually contain very specific messages, sometimes even oriented towards the user of the e-mail. Nobody is yet aware how cyber-criminals manage to achieve to even get the name of the victim correctly, but they usually use this information to generate fake e-mails that aim to get the user to open an attachment by sending out a fake e-mail, for example:

→ “Dear { Your Name }
There is suspicious activity on your bank account. “
(Scenario 1)
“Please visit the following web link to verify your information: “
{ malicious URL }
(Scenario 2)
“For more information on your transaction history, please view the attachment on this e-mail.”

After the user clicks on a web link or opens the attachment, he or she may become infected as a result of a malicious script injected straight onto the processes of the Windows machine targeted. And there are different types of infection vectors as well. The types of files to beware of are usually:

.jse, .js, .wsf, .bat, .hta, .html, .htm, .vbs

But these are only the suspicious files. The Kraken ransomware may also spread with the aid of malicious macros inserted directly into the files of the user PC. These macros may be embedded in legitimately seeming documents, such as Microsoft Office files or Adobe Reader .pdf’s.

Kraken Ransomware – Further Analysis

After a malicious attachment is open, the Kraken virus may begin to download the payload files onto several key Windows locations, such as:

%AppData%
%Local%
%Roaming%
%WinDir%
%Temp%

After these malicious files are dropped onto the computer of the user, the ransomware is focused on performing several different activities, such as modifying the Windows Registry Editor into driving the malicious files to run at system startup. This is achieved by attacking the following registry keys in Windows and creating custom value strings in them with modified data:

→ 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

After the registry entries have been modified, the Kraken ransomware may begin encrypting user files. The virus targets a wide database of file types to encode. Amongst the file types Kraken Ransomware encrypts are:

  • Videos.
  • Audio files.
  • Images.
  • Microsoft Office documents.
  • Adobe documents.

After the files are encrypted, not only they are no longer openable, but also contain a base64 name and the .kraken file extension, for example:

After encryption, the ransomware drops it’s “_help_your_files.html” file, which interestingly enough has an expiration timer to pay the sum of approximately 2 BTC and looks like the following:

In addition to the main ransom screen, the .html file also has additional instructions on how to purchase BitCoin.

Unlike a TOR-based web page, this ransomware uses all the instructions it requires in the HTML file which is innovative and very well thought out, because the countdown timer will not stop even if the PC is offline. Despite the offer, malware researchers strongly advise against laying down your trust to cyber-criminals and paying the ransom. Instead it is recommended to remove Kraken from your computer and seek alternate techniques to get the files back, like the ones In the instructions below, at least until a free decryptor is released, which, if happens, we will make sure to notify you on this web page.

Kraken Ransomware – Removal and File Restoring Instructions

To try and restore your files, first, you should do it on a safe computer. This is why we advise you to remove Kraken ransomware, using the instructions below. In case you are having difficulties in removing the virus manually, malware researchers strongly recommend using an advanced malware removal software that will take care of the threat automatically.

After having removed Kraken from your computer, advices are to focus on restoring your files. We have surely suggested several alternative methods that you can try, but make sure to backup your files first, because these methods may damage them. Furthermore, some of our users have reported restoring up to 50 files using data recovery software, so we suggest you begin with this method first. It is no guarantee that it will be successful but it is a good temporary solution until decryptor is released.

Avatar

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 Spy Hunter
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 Kraken from Windows.


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

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 Kraken 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 Kraken 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 Kraken 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 Kraken 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 Kraken.

Ransomware infections and Kraken 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 Kraken from Mac OS X.


Step 1: Uninstall Kraken 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 Kraken:

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 Kraken. 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 Kraken. 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 Kraken 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 Kraken. 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.


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

Ransomware infections and Kraken 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.


Kraken FAQ

What is Kraken ransomware and how does it work?

Kraken 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 Kraken ransomware infect my computer?

Via several ways.Kraken 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 Kraken 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 .Kraken files?

You can't. At this point the .Kraken 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 .Kraken files successfully, then do not despair, because this virus is still new.

One way to restore files, encrypted by Kraken 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 ".Kraken" files (Other Methods)?

Yes, sometimes files can be restored. We have suggested several file recovery methods that could work if you want to restore .Kraken 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 Kraken 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 Kraken ransomware and then remove it without causing any additional harm to your important .Kraken files.

Also, keep in mind that viruses like Kraken 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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