THREAT REMOVAL

LightningCrypt Ransomware (Restore .LIGHTNING Files)

This article aims to help you remove the LightningCrypt ransomware virus from your computer and restore the files encrypted with .LIGHTNING file extension added to them.

Discovered at the end of May 2017, the LightningCrypt ransomware is a well-designed virus that uses the AES encryption algorithm to render the files on the infected computer no longer able to be opened. The files are then appended the .LIGHTNING file extension to them and then the virus uses the LighningCrypt_Recover_Instuctions.txt ransom note to scare off victims to pay a ransom of 0.17 BTC to get the files decrypted and working again. The virus threatens to deleted the files on each try of the victim to erase it. In case your computer has been infected by LightningCrypt ransomware, we recommend that you read this article to understand this virus and how to remove it and try to get back the data.

Threat Summary

Name LightningCrypt
Type Ransomware, Cryptovirus
Short Description Encrypts important files on the compromised computer and asks the victim to pay 0.17 BTC in order to get the encrypted files decoded.
Symptoms Drops a ransom note in a text file, an animated screen message and changes the wallpaper on the victim PC. Adds .LIGHTNING file extension to the encrypted files.
Distribution Method Spam Emails, Email Attachments, Executable files
Detection Tool See If Your System Has Been Affected by malware

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User Experience Join Our Forum to Discuss LightningCrypt.
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.

LightningCrypt – Distribution

In order for this ransomware to be effective while infecting victims, the creators of LightningCrypt may spread the virus via spam e-mails that infect victims via tricking them. The messages in those e-mails may pretend that the attachments uploaded along them are legitimate documents, like invoices or other important files. Some messages may even be sent without a description, known as “blank slate” malspam. But most of them have convincing messages like the following:

Other methods by which computers can become infected with LightningCrypt ransomware is via fake installers as well as fake updates of programs or fraudulent license activators and key generators.

Lightning Crypt – More Information

As soon as the malicious executable which is essentially the loader of LightningCrypt is downloaded, multiple files are dropped onto the victim PC:

  • ChkDsk.exe – the malicious executable of the ransomware.
  • LightningCrypt_Recover_Instructions.txt – the ransom note in a text file.
  • LightningCrypt_Recover_Instructions.png – an image file.

Besides those files, multiple support modules that may be temporary or .dll files might be seen in other system folders of Windows as well as the usually targeted directories:

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

In addition to this, the ransomware virus also connects to multiple different hosts, as reported by Amigo-A:

→ xxxx://arizonacode.bplaced.net (144.76.167.69:80 – Germany)
xxxx://rammichael.com/downloads/7tt_setup.exe
xxxx://lolaail.bplaced.net/4rw4w.exe
xxxx://lolaail.bplaced.net/4rw5wdecryptor.exe
xxxx://rammichael.com/
xxxx://lupa-romana.de/blog/tag/marcus-antonius/

Since the executable to which the virus connects is called 4rw4w.exe, the ransomware is believed to be related in a way to 4rw5w Ransomware virus, which was detected at the beginning of May 2017.

In addition to this activity, the LightningCrypt ransomware virus also drops multiple different ransom notes all with similar demands:

YOU BECAME A VICTIM OF THE LIGHTNINGCRYPT RANSOMWARE!
ALL YOUR FILES HAVE BEEN ENCRYPTED WITH RSA 2048
DONT TRY TO DELETE ME
FOR EACH TRY TO DO ANYTHING I WILL DELETE FILES
PAY 0.17 BITCOINS TO THIS ADDRESS:
1LSgvYFY7SDNje2Mhsm51FxhqPsbvXEhpE
YOU CAN BUY BITCOINS ON “BLOCKCHAIN.INFO”
SEND YOUR UNIQE ID IN THE DESCRIPTION OF THE BITCOIN PAYMENT
YOU CAN FIND THEM ON YOUR DESKTOP IN “LIGHTNINGCRYPT_UNIQEID.TXT”
AFTER THE PAYMENT YOUR FILES WILL BE DECRYPTED!
HAVE FUN ;)
£ PAY 0.17 Bitcoins to : {BITCOIN WALLET}

LightningCrypt – Encryption Process

The encryption of LightningCrypt is supported by one of the most powerful encryption algorithms which may still be in use by the NSA today – AES, also known as Advanced Encryption Standard. The files targeted by LightningCrypt for file encryption are the following:

.avi, .dll, .DOC, .DOCX, .DOT, .DOTM, .exe, .jpg, .lnk, .mp3, .mp4, .NEF, .ODT, .PDF, .pif, .png, .png, .rar, .txt, .url, .wav, .zip

After the virus encrypts the files they assume the .LIGHTNING file extension and victims see them as the following:

Remove LightningCrypt and Restore .LIGHTNING Files

Before beginning the removal process of LightningCrypt ransomware, recommendations are to backup the files beforehand, because the virus may have a fail safe function that may delete them if you tamper with it.

After doing so, we recommend following the steps bellow to get rid of all the virus files. In case manual removal proves to be not fully effective, security experts often advise using anti-malware software for the removal.

As soon as you have already removed LightningCrypt from your computer system, we recommend following the alternative methods in step “2. Restore files encrypted by LightningCrypt” below. They are not a full guarantee to work, but you may restore at least some of the encrypted files by this ransomware virus, at least until malware researchers come up with a decrypter for this threat. We also recommend you to check this article since we will update it when such software is released.

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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 LightningCrypt from Windows.


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

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 LightningCrypt 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 LightningCrypt 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 LightningCrypt 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 LightningCrypt 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 LightningCrypt.

Ransomware infections and LightningCrypt 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 LightningCrypt from Mac OS X.


Step 1: Uninstall LightningCrypt 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 LightningCrypt:

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 LightningCrypt. 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 LightningCrypt. 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 LightningCrypt 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 LightningCrypt. 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 LightningCrypt:


Download

SpyHunter for Mac



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

Ransomware infections and LightningCrypt 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.


LightningCrypt FAQ

What is LightningCrypt ransomware and how does it work?

LightningCrypt 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 LightningCrypt ransomware infect my computer?

Via several ways.LightningCrypt 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 LightningCrypt 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 .LightningCrypt files?

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

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

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

Also, keep in mind that viruses like LightningCrypt 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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