THREAT REMOVAL

Remove Alpha Ransomware and Decrypt .Encrypt Files for Free

Alpha-ransomware-sensorstechforumUnlike other ransomware variants, this particular crypto-malware has an entirely different approach when it begins to extort users. Named Alpha ransomware by researchers, it drops a ransom note in every encrypted folder and demands 400 US dollars to be directly sent out to the cyber crooks in the form of an iTunes gift card. This genius way of thinking saves the cybercriminals time, makes the payment easier while anonymizing them. All users who have been affected should bear in mind that there is a relevant decryption method, due to a flaw in the code of Alpha ransomware and not pay the ransom money.

Threat Summary

NameAlpha
TypeRansomware
Short DescriptionThe ransomware encrypts files with a strong cipher and asks a 400$ ransom money as iTunes gift card for decryption.
SymptomsFiles are encrypted and become inaccessible. A ransom note with instructions for paying the ransom shows as a .txt file.
Distribution MethodSpam Emails, Email Attachments, File Sharing Networks.
Detection Tool See If Your System Has Been Affected by malware

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Malware Removal Tool

User ExperienceJoin our forum to Discuss Alpha Ransomware.
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.

Alpha Ransomware – How Does It Infect

To successfully infect unsuspecting Windows users, the ransomware may use different methods to be widespread. The most common methods used by cyber-crooks to widespread ransomware may be divided into two types:

  • Directly distributing the malicious payload in a raw or an archived format.
  • Distributing the malicious executable via malicious JavaScript and exploit kits featured in malicious URLs.

In case the payload is directly distributed, you may encounter it in websites that pretend to provide a free program, wallpaper, emoticons and others, and such shady websites may trick you into downloading the malware onto your computer.

The other method of distribution Alpha ransomware may use is via malicious email web links. Such URLs may be featured in social media spam, emails or referral spam, such as Snip(.)tw referral traffic, for example.

There is also the likelihood of the Ransomware being dropped by other malware that has previously infected the victim PC. One example for this is Win32/TrojanDropper.Agent.RFT.

Alpha Ransomware In Detail

Once executed on the computer, the ransomware is reported by Symantec researchers and affected user to drop three files in different folders, which are a picture, later set as a wallpaper, the ransom note, and the “encryptor” module. The files may be as follows:

In %Desktop%:
Read Me (How Decrypt) !!!!.txt
In %Application Data%:
svchost.exe
In the user’s profile directory:
newstyle.jpg

The “svchost.exe” is a classic evasive maneuver by Alpha ransomware, making the process appear as if it is the original Windows svchost process. This may be the module which encrypts the user’s files, because it is being set as a process to run on Windows start up. This is done by adding values in the following registry subkey:

→ HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run\

The values added may contain the directory of where the fake “svchost” process is located, for example:

→ %SystemDrive%\Documents and Settings\{User’s Profile}\Application Data\Windows\svchost.exe

Furthermore, the Alpha ransomware may also modify other registry keys to disable certain processes or even access to Windows Task Manager. This is particularly cunning because, the user is helpless to stop manually the encryption process, even if he/she catches the ransomware while encrypting, which is very unlikely because such process is very fast.

Alpha Ransomware – File Encryption

The ransomware may begin scanning for and encrypting files with the following file extensions:

→ .txt .wb2 .psd .p7c .p7b .p12 .pfx .pem .crt .cer .der .pl .lua .asp .php .incpas .asm .hpp .h .cpp .c .drf .blend .apj .3ds .dwg .sda .ps .pat .cmd .bat .class .jar .java .fxg .fhd .fh .svg .bmp .vbs .png .gif .dxb .drw .design .ddrw .ddoc .dcs .csl .csh .cpi .cgm .cdx .cdrw .cdr6 .cdr5 .cdr4 .cdr3 .cdr .awg .ait .ai .agd1 .ycbcra .x3f .stx .st8 .st7 .st6 .st5 .st4 .srw .srf .sr2 .sd1 .sd0 .rwz .rwl .rw2 .raw .raf .ra2 .ptx .pef .pcd .orf .nwb .nrw .nop .nef .ndd .mrw .mos .mfw .mef .mdc .kdc .kc2 .iiq .gry .grey .gray .fpx .fff .exf .erf .dng .dcr .dc2 .crw .craw .cr2 .cmt .cib .ce2 .ce1 .arw .3pr .3fr .mpg .jpeg .jpg .mdb .sqlitedb .sqlite3 .sqlite .sql .sdf .sav .sas7bdat .s3db .rdb .psafe3 .nyf .nx2 .nx1 .nsh .nsg .nsf .nsd .ns4 .ns3 .ns2 .myd .kpdx .kdbx .idx .ibz .ibd .fdb .erbsql .db3 .dbf .db-journal .db .cls .bdb .al .adb .backupdb .bik .backup .bak .bkp .moneywell .mmw .ibank .hbk .ffd .dgc .ddd .dac .cfp .cdf .bpw .bgt .acr .ac2 .ab4 .djvu .pdf .sxm .odf .std .sxd .otg .sti .sxi .otp .odg .odp .stc .sxc .ots .ods .sxg .stw .sxw .odm .oth .ott .odb .rtf .accdr .accdt .accde .accdb .sldm .sldx .ppsm .ppsx .ppam .potm .potx .pptm .pps .pot .xlw .xll .xlam .xla .xlsb .xltm .xltx .xlsm .xlm .xlt .xml .dotm .dotx .docm .dot .txt .py .css .js .doc .docx .xls .xlsx .ppt .pptx .odt .csv .sln .aspx .html .cs .vbSource:Symantec

After encrypting the files, the Trojan may generate custom decryption keys, which may suggest to the usage of RSA encryption algorithm. The encryption keys are sent out to a foreign host which is the command and control center of the cyber-crooks. The domain extensions may differ, for example .biz, .info, etc.

The ransomware also drops a Read Me (How Decrypt) !!!!.txt document, which has the ransom message, written apologetically:

txt-document-sensorstechforum-decrypt-alpha“Greetings,
We’d like to apologize for the inconveniences, however, your computer has been locked. In order to unlock it, you have to complete the following steps:
1. Buy iTunes Gift Cards for a total amount of $400.00
2. Send the gift codes to the indicated e-mail address
3. Receive a code and a file that will unlock your computer.
Please note:,
– The nominal amount of the particular gift card doesn’t matter, yet the total amount have to be as listed above.
– You can buy the iTunes Gift Cards online or in any shop. The codes must be correct, otherwise, you won’t receive anything.
– After receiving the code and the security file, your computer will be unlocked and will never be locked again.
Sorry for the inconveniences caused.”

Not only this, but the wallpaper of the user is also changed to a well-designed gray wallpaper, that has the scary word encrypted on it.

Remove Alpha Ransomware and Restore the Encrypted Files

If you wish to remove the ransomware, make sure to back up the encrypted data first, so that you may try and restore it later. We recommend you NOT to reinstall Windows, and instead to use the tutorial below to locate the malicious executables, remove them and clean up your Windows Registry Editor.

Regarding the file restoration, fortunately, you have luck, because a decryptor, called “Alpha Decrypter” has been discovered. For more information, you can check step 3 – “Restore files encrypted by Alpha” in the instructions below. Either way, we advise you NOT to pay the ransom money because you assist the cyber-criminals, and you may decrypt your data for free.

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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 Alpha from Windows.


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

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 Alpha 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 Alpha 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 Alpha 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 Alpha 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 Alpha.

Ransomware infections and Alpha 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 Alpha from Mac OS X.


Step 1: Uninstall Alpha 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 Alpha:

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 Alpha. 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 Alpha. 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 Alpha 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 Alpha. 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 Alpha:


Download

SpyHunter for Mac



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

Ransomware infections and Alpha 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.


Alpha FAQ

What is Alpha ransomware and how does it work?

Alpha 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 Alpha ransomware infect my computer?

Via several ways.Alpha 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 Alpha 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 .Alpha files?

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

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

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

Also, keep in mind that viruses like Alpha 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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