Kraken Virus – Remove and Restore .kraken Encrypted Files - How to, Technology and PC Security Forum |

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



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 Kraken


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:


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

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.


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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