THREAT REMOVAL

New Dharma v2 Ransomware – Remove and Restore [lavandos@dr.com] Files

dharma-v2-ransomware-sensorstechforum-ransom-noteA ransomware virus, carrying the name Dharma which means righteousness in Indian, has been released in a new variant. The second version of the virus is reported to be even more dangerous than it’s first iteration, encrypting files in a very cunning way enough to render them no longer openable and adding the lavandos@dr.com file extension. The v2 Dharma is also more focused on encrypting PE types of files as well. Since the new Dharma gives a deadline of 72 hours, users are often advised not to pay any ransom in BitCoin requested by the crooks at lavandos@dr.com. Instead, we recommend reading this article to get familiar with the second version of Dharma ransomware and learn alternative ways to remove the virus files and restore your data.

Threat Summary

Name

Dharma

Type Ransomware
Short Description Dharma encrypts user files and leaves as contact e-mail addresses to contact the criminals behind it and pay the ransom fee.
Symptoms Changes file extension of encrypted files to [lavandos@dr.com]. Changes wallpaper to one with ransom instructions that have the backup ransom e-mail – lavandos@india.com.
Distribution Method Via an Exploit kit, Dll file attack, malicious JavaScript or a drive-by download of the malware itself in an obfuscated manner.
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User Experience Join our forum to Discuss Dharma.
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.

Dharma Ransomware – How Did I Get Infected

This particular type of ransomware virus is very cunning in it’s methods of spreading, primarily because it uses heavy obfuscation for the infection malware. Proof of this is the fact that during the first detections, VirusTotal reports that only 7 of 56 Antivirus programs have managed to detect it:

new-dharma-ransomware-infection-files-sensorstechforum

This means that the cyber-criminals have most likely utilized a combination of different tools to conceal the malicious file of Dharma on entering the computer. Such tools may be file joiners to combine the files, distribution malware, like a Trojan.Dropper and an exploit kit. But bear in mind that JavaScript may also be used in an attack conducted by Dharma ransomware as well.

The most conventional methods of distributing such malicious files/scrips are either via malicious web links or files. Therefore, the malicious files exhibited with Dharma ransomware may be slithered in every way possible into your computer which supports those two objects. One method may be the sending of fake phishing e-mails which contain a malicious attachment causing the infection or a URL, while other more unconventional methods may involve torrents, social media and even chat services.

More about Dharma Ransomware

The Dharma virus is very particular in what it does after an infection takes place. Initially, it may make sure that it shuts down all of the processes related to any security software or Windows defense that may stop the encryption from happening. This includes injection scripts in important Windows processes, like sysdm.cpl or svchost.exe. Then the new Dharma ransomware may delete any backups on the encrypted computer, such as backups related to shadow volume copies, if file history is enabled on the compromised computer.

But Dharma ransomware may also have other defensive features as well. One of those features may be to shut down or self-delete if the virus is run in a virtual environment.

To encrypt user files, Dharma ransomware is going to look for files that are often opened and used, like documents, databases, pictures, videos, music and other types of files. Then it may append either RSA or AES or a combination of both of those or other weaker ciphers to render encrypted files no longer able to be opened. The virus also adds it’s distinctive e-mail as a file extension to the encrypted files:

dharma-v2-ransomware-sensorstechforum-ransom-note

dharma-v2-ransomware-encrypted-file-sensorstechforum

After the encryption is complete, the virus changes the wallpaper of the encrypted computer, which allows Dharma to notify the user to contact the e-mail of the cyber-criminals for further instructions/negotiations. The ransom note on the wallpaper has the following instructive message, calling the user a friend:

→ “//hallo, our dear friend!
//looks like you have some troubles with your security.
//all your files are now encrypted.
//using third-party recovering software will corrupt your data.
//you have only one way to get them back safely – using our decryption tool.
//to get original decryption tool contact us with email. In subject like write your ID, which you can find in name of every crypted file, also attach to email 3 crypted files.
lavandos@dr.com
//it is in your interest to respond as soon as pissible to ensure the restoration of your files, because we won’t keep your decryption keys at our servers more than 72 hours in interest of our security.
//P.S. only in case you don’t receive a response from the first email address within 24 hours, please use this alternative email address.
lavandos@india.com”

Even though the ransom note in the wallpaper set by Dharma is “motivating”, experts advise users not to give in to the fear and not discuss anything with the crooks. Instead, it is recommended to remove Dharma and focus on restoring your files using alternative methods.

Remove Dharma Ransomware and Restore Enciphered Files

To delete Dharma completely and effectively, you may want to follow the universal removal instructions for ransomware below. However, if you believe that Dharma ransomware’s removal is difficult to perform manually, experts recommend that the best way to perform the removal is by downloading and installing an advanced anti-malware scanner on the compromised computer to perform the removal automatically.

Whatever the case may be, after the removal of the new Dharma virus, we suggest that you focus on backing up the files that have been encrypted for when a decryptor is released. Not only this, but we also advise that you try some alternative methods to restore the files, like the ones we mentioned in step “2. Restore Files Encrypted by Dharma” below. They have not yet been tested on Dharma, and this is why we advise that you create copies of the encrypted files if you attempt them.

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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 Dharma from Windows.


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

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 Dharma 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 Dharma 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 Dharma 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 Dharma 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 Dharma.

Ransomware infections and Dharma 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 Dharma from Mac OS X.


Step 1: Uninstall Dharma 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 Dharma:

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 Dharma. 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 Dharma. 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 Dharma 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 Dharma. 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 Dharma:


Download

SpyHunter for Mac



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

Ransomware infections and Dharma 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.


Dharma FAQ

What is Dharma ransomware and how does it work?

Dharma 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 Dharma ransomware infect my computer?

Via several ways.Dharma 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 Dharma 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 .Dharma files?

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

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

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

Also, keep in mind that viruses like Dharma 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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