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Qqqe Virus (Ransomware) – Decrypt .qqqe Files – Removal Guide

What Is QQQE Virus?


The Qqqe is the name of a ransomware infection that has been spotted in the wild. Computer infections of this type are created by hackers who aim to extort money from victims. When it slithers inside your computer system it will try to run an unnoticed attack. At the end of the attack your valuable files appear with the specific .qqqe extension.

In order to blackmail you into paying a lot of money (in Bitcoin) for the decryption tool of .qqqe files, the virus leaves the _readme.txt ransom note on each system it infects. That file contains a notification that explains the situation to victims and suggests to them how they can cat further. Following the steps listed there is not a good option.

It’s worth mentioning that the Qqqe virus belongs to the STOP/DJVU family of threats. There are hundreds of variants being active around the globe. The good news is that some variants of this ransomware have been cracked by security specialists who managed to release a free decryption tool. We’ve included a link and instructions on how to find and use this tool.

But first, learn how to remove the Qqqe virus from your computer so that you can use the system securely.

Qqqe Virus Summary

Name Qqqe virus, also known as UDS:Trojan.Win32.Chapak.gen, Ransom:Win32/StopCrypt.KM!MTB, Win32:PWSX-gen [Trj], Win32:PWSX-gen [Trj], A Variant Of Win32/GenKryptik.FHJB – more detections of this virus on VirusTotal
File Extension .qqqe
Type Ransomware, Cryptovirus
Short Description The ransomware encrypts files stored on computer system drives and demands a ransom for their recovery.
Symptoms The Qqqe Virus locks personal files by using a strong encryption algorithm. After appending the .Qqqe extension to them, the ransomware restricts the access to their data.
Ransom Demanding Note _readme.txt
Distribution Method Spam Emails, Email Attachments
Detection Tool See If Your System Has Been Affected by malware


Malware Removal Tool

Qqqe Virus – How Did I Get Infected?

The Qqqe virus which is based on the code of the so-called STOP Ransomware. Like some other variants that have recently been released in the wild, Yoqs Virus, Qqqw Virus, Fhkf Virus, Qqqe may obtain access to computer systems via a couple of methods.

One of them is known to be malspam. The malware is sent to people’s email inboxes in the form of an email attachment, a link to hacked page or both. The attachment contaning the malicious ransomware code could be pretending to be an important document of the following types:

  • Invoice.
  • Ticket for event or flight.
  • Work project.
  • Receipt.

How these attachments work is via malicious macros that get triggered after you open the file. Then the infection process beings and the ransomware acts like the patterns shown below:

Qqqe virus may also be propagated via shady websites that host it in the form of:

  • Software or game cracks.
  • Self extracting archives or other forms of archives and extractors.
  • Fake patch for a program.
  • Fake install executables.
  • Cracks for portable versions of apps.
  • Key generators.

Qqqe Ransomware – What Does It Do?

The activation of the virus on a computer system enables the ransomware to connect to a remote host. The established connection supports the transfer of additional malicious files from the host to the PC. You may have not noticed all those processes but in the background of all other running apps the virus may situate malicious files in the following Windows directories:

  • %SystemDrive%
  • %AppData%
  • %Temp%
  • %System%
  • %Local%
  • %system32%
  • %Windows%
  • %LocalLow%

The virus drops the file _readme.txt which contains its ransom note. Its informaion lets you know more about the situation and gives you instructions on how to pay the ransom to the cyber criminals:

STOP ransomware virus ransom message

Furthermore, this infection could also tamper with the Windows registry editor. The following registries that control essential processes on the system may be infected:

  • HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run
  • HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run
  • HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\RunOnce
  • HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\RunOnce

Adding value strings in those sub-keys of the Windows Registry Editor helps the Qqqe virus to run automatically its files each time you start your computer.

What Are .qqqe Files?

The .qqqe files are your original files but encrypted by the ransomware. Their data is changed by the use of a cypher – the AES encryption algorithm. Qqqe virus may lock your most important files that usually carry the following file extensions:

  • Audio (.mp3, .wav, etc.).
  • Picture file kinds (.jpg, .png, .etc).
  • Videos (.mp4, .avi, etc.).
  • Archive file formats (.zip, .rar, etc).
  • Documents of different types (.docx, .pptx, etc.).
  • Others.

At the same time, it skips encrypting important Windows files in order to save the proper system performance and convince you to pay the ransom to crooks.

After the encryption process, the corrupted files show up with different names changed by the use of the following pattern:


How to Remove Qqqe Virus

Qqqe virus infection can be removed from your computer system by following the instructions posted underneath this article. These steps will assist you to get rid of this threat either manually or automatically. For the most effective removal, it is strongly recommended to do the removal automatically, preferably by using the power of advanced anti-malware software. Such a program is specifically created with the main idea to best assist you in the detection and removal of any malware, like the Qqqe virus and protect your device in the future as well.

How to Decrypt .qqqe Files?

In order to decrypt files wtht help of the free decryption tool, locked .qqqe files must contain an offline decryption key. This key is used with the main purpose to decrypt the files by using the official software for description that has been created by independent malware researchers.

Read our STOP Ransomware File Decryption Guide or watch the video guide below to see how to use the official decryption software for this virus and try to get your files to work again.

Video guide for using the STOP Ransomware Decryptor:

If your decryption key is online-based, however, we would strongly suggest that you back up the files and try using the alternative methods that have been posted in the guide below. It has been created with the main idea to help you restore as many files as you can but it does not come with a 100% chance guarantee of succeeding.

Removal Video Guide for Qqqe Virus

In case you were looking for a more convenient way to remove this version of the nasty ransomware, then one of our best suggestions is to just watch our video removal guide. It contains extended guidance on how to use the instructions that are illustrated below, plus some extra tips on how you can recover your files. We will also appreciate if you leave us a comment and I need this article if you need some extra help or just have some type of an inquiry. We will try to respond as quickly as possible.

Gergana Ivanova

Highly motivated writer with 5+ years of experience writing for ransomware, malware, adware, PUPs, and other cybersecurity-related issues. As a writer, I strive to create content that is based on thorough technical research. I find joy in the process of creating articles that are easy to understand, informative, and useful. Follow me on Twitter (@IRGergana) for the latest in the field of computer, mobile, and online security.

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Step 1: Scan for Qqqe 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.

scan for and delete ransomware virus step 2

3. After the update process has finished, click on the 'Malware/PC Scan' tab. A new window will appear. Click on 'Start Scan'.

scan for and delete ransomware virus step 3

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.

scan for and delete ransomware virus step 4

If any threats have been removed, it is highly recommended to restart your PC.

Ransomware Automatic Removal - Video Guide

Step 2: Uninstall Qqqe and related malware 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.
delete ransomware from windows step 1

2. In the field type in "appwiz.cpl" and press ENTER.
delete ransomware from windows step 2

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"
delete ransomware from windows step 3Follow the instructions above and you will successfully delete most unwanted and malicious programs.

Step 3: Clean any registries, created by Qqqe 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 Qqqe there. This can happen by following the steps underneath:

1. Open the Run Window again, type "regedit" and click OK.
delete ransomware virus registries step 1

2. When you open it, you can freely navigate to the Run and RunOnce keys, whose locations are shown above.
delete ransomware virus registries step 2

3. You can remove the value of the virus by right-clicking on it and removing it.
delete ransomware virus registries step 3 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.

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: Boot Your PC In Safe Mode to isolate and remove Qqqe


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.
remove ransomware in safe mode step 1

2. The "Run" Window will appear. In it, type "msconfig" and click OK.
remove ransomware in safe mode step 2

3. Go to the "Boot" tab. There select "Safe Boot" and then click "Apply" and "OK".
remove ransomware in safe mode step 3
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.
remove ransomware in safe mode step 4

5. You can recognise Safe Mode by the words written on the corners of your screen.
remove ransomware in safe mode step 5

Step 5: Try to Restore Files Encrypted by Qqqe.

Method 1: Use STOP Decrypter by Emsisoft.

Not all variants of this ransomware can be decrypted for free, but we have added the decryptor used by researchers that is often updated with the variants which become eventually decrypted. You can try and decrypt your files using the instructions below, but if they do not work, then unfortunately your variant of the ransomware virus is not decryptable.

Follow the instructions below to use the Emsisoft decrypter and decrypt your files for free. You can download the Emsisoft decryption tool linked here and then follow the steps provided below:

1 Right-click on the decrypter and click on Run as Administrator as shown below:

stop ransomware decryptor step 1

2. Agree with the license terms:

stop ransomware decryptor step 2

3. Click on "Add Folder" and then add the folders where you want files decrypted as shown underneath:

stop ransomware decryptor step 3

4. Click on "Decrypt" and wait for your files to be decoded.

stop ransomware decryptor step 4

Note: Credit for the decryptor goes to Emsisoft researchers who have made the breakthrough with this virus.

Method 2: Use data recovery software

Ransomware infections and Qqqe 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 recommended Data Recovery software by clicking on the link underneath:

Simply click on the link and on the website menus on the top, choose Data Recovery - Data Recovery Wizard for Windows or Mac (depending on your OS), and then download and run the tool.


What is Qqqe Ransomware?

Qqqe 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 algorithms 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.

What Does Qqqe Ransomware Do?

Ransomware in general is a malicious software that is designed to block access to your computer or files until a ransom is paid.

Ransomware viruses can also damage your system, corrupt data and delete files, resulting in the permanent loss of important files.

How Does Qqqe Infect?

Via several ways.Qqqe Ransomware infects computers by being sent via phishing emails, 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.

Another way you may become a victim of Qqqe 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 .Qqqe files?

You can't without a decryptor. At this point, the .Qqqe files are encrypted. You can only open them once they are decrypted using a specific decryption key for the particular algorithm.

What to Do If a Decryptor Does Not Work?

Do not panic, and backup the files. If a decryptor did not decrypt your .Qqqe files successfully, then do not despair, because this virus is still new.

Can I Restore ".Qqqe" Files?

Yes, sometimes files can be restored. We have suggested several file recovery methods that could work if you want to restore .Qqqe files. 

These methods are in no way 100% guaranteed that you will be able to get your files back. But if you have a backup, your chances of success are much greater.

How To Get Rid of Qqqe Virus?

The safest way and the most efficient one for the removal of this ransomware infection is the use a professional anti-malware program.

It will scan for and locate Qqqe ransomware and then remove it without causing any additional harm to your important .Qqqe files.

Can I Report Ransomware to Authorities?

In case your computer got infected with a ransomware infection, you can report it to the local Police departments. It can help authorities worldwide track and determine the perpetrators behind the virus that has infected your computer.

Below, we have prepared a list with government websites, where you can file a report in case you are a victim of a cybercrime:

Cyber-security authorities, responsible for handling ransomware attack reports in different regions all over the world:

Germany - Offizielles Portal der deutschen Polizei

United States - IC3 Internet Crime Complaint Centre

United Kingdom - Action Fraud Police

France - Ministère de l'Intérieur

Italy - Polizia Di Stato

Spain - Policía Nacional

Netherlands - Politie

Poland - Policja

Portugal - Polícia Judiciária

Greece - Cyber Crime Unit (Hellenic Police)

India - Mumbai Police - CyberCrime Investigation Cell

Australia - Australian High Tech Crime Center

Reports may be responded to in different timeframes, depending on your local authorities.

Can You Stop Ransomware from Encrypting Your Files?

Yes, you can prevent ransomware. The best way to do this is to ensure your computer system is updated with the latest security patches, use a reputable anti-malware program and firewall, backup your important files frequently, and avoid clicking on malicious links or downloading unknown files.

Can Qqqe Ransomware Steal Your Data?

Yes, in most cases ransomware will steal your information. It is a form of malware that steals data from a user's computer, encrypts it, and then demands a ransom in order to decrypt it.

In many cases, the malware authors or attackers will threaten to delete the data or publish it online unless the ransom is paid.

Can Ransomware Infect WiFi?

Yes, ransomware can infect WiFi networks, as malicious actors can use it to gain control of the network, steal confidential data, and lock out users. If a ransomware attack is successful, it could lead to a loss of service and/or data, and in some cases, financial losses.

Should I Pay Ransomware?

No, you should not pay ransomware extortionists. Paying them only encourages criminals and does not guarantee that the files or data will be restored. The better approach is to have a secure backup of important data and be vigilant about security in the first place.

What Happens If I Don't Pay Ransom?

If you don't pay the ransom, the hackers may still have access to your computer, data, or files and may continue to threaten to expose or delete them, or even use them to commit cybercrimes. In some cases, they may even continue to demand additional ransom payments.

Can a Ransomware Attack Be Detected?

Yes, ransomware can be detected. Anti-malware software and other advanced security tools can detect ransomware and alert the user when it is present on a machine.

It is important to stay up-to-date on the latest security measures and to keep security software updated to ensure ransomware can be detected and prevented.

Do Ransomware Criminals Get Caught?

Yes, ransomware criminals do get caught. Law enforcement agencies, such as the FBI, Interpol and others have been successful in tracking down and prosecuting ransomware criminals in the US and other countries. As ransomware threats continue to increase, so does the enforcement activity.

About the Qqqe Research

The content we publish on SensorsTechForum.com, this Qqqe how-to removal guide included, is the outcome of extensive research, hard work and our team’s devotion to help you remove the specific malware and restore your encrypted files.

How did we conduct the research on this ransomware?

Our research is based on an independent investigation. We are in contact with independent security researchers, and as such, we receive daily updates on the latest malware and ransomware definitions.

Furthermore, the research behind the Qqqe ransomware threat is backed with VirusTotal and the NoMoreRansom project.

To better understand the ransomware threat, please refer to the following articles which provide knowledgeable details.

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.

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