First detected in April 2016, BrLock Ransomware continues to wreak havoc on user PCs. The virus locks the screen and displays a ransom note that is written completely in Russian, demanding a ransom payment of approximately 1000 RU which is around 15 USD. Not only this but BRLock ransomware also shuts down key processes on startup so that the user is not able to access his files. Fortunately, this is something that can be evaded and the files can still be salvaged, and this is why we firmly advise affected users NOT to pay the ransom and to try and remove this virus, using the instructions in this article.
|Short Description||Ransowmare primarily created for russian speaking users which uses a lockscreen to scare them into paying ransom amount of 15$.|
|Symptoms||The computer restarts after which the ransom message appears. Explorer and desktop related processes as well as access to task manager are disabled.|
|Distribution Method||Via malicious URLs or attachments..|
|Detection Tool|| See If Your System Has Been Affected by BRLock |
Malware Removal Tool
|User Experience||Join our forum to Discuss BRLock Ransomware.|
|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.|
BRLock Ransomware – Distribution
To be widespread, BRLock may use the usual techniques. It uses spam bots or pays to spammers and black SEO marketers to redistribute its malicious web links via PUPs, e-mail, Skype, Facebook and other massive online gathering places.
However, to infect successfully, the users behind this virus may have obfuscated its malicious process to evade detection by conventional antivirus programs.
The e-mails which users may encounter may contain different convincing messages and even multimedia, making them appear as if they were legitimate websites, the user has registration in.
To best demonstrate how spam e-mail has evolved, we have decided to show you this example of a fake LinkedIn spam e-mail message:
Users are strongly advised to pay attention to what e-mails they open and if they have adware, browser hijackers and any other rogue software that is third-party ad-supported and suspicious to remove them with an advanced anti-malware program.
BRLock Ransomware In Depth
The BRLock virus has been created primarily for Russian-speaking users. Once it infects the user, the lock screen ransomware may immediately modify the registry keys that lock the screen of the user:
The virus may also execute a batch (.BAT) file that may insert the shutdown command in quiet mode so that the computer is restarted quietly:
→ Shutdown –r –t 0
After the computer restarts, BRLock ransomware locks the screen of the user displaying its ransom note written in Russian language. It’s rough translation is the following:
From what it appears the BRLock mimics the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Russian Federation. It “convicts” the user that he or she has used his computer in a way that is against the law, connected with pornographic materials and violence.
Similar to other police ransomware, the BRLock virus gives the user a “fine” which is related to the phone number +79601901811. The sum requested should be paid via a Russian online service, called “Билайн”. Researchers are not aware of this malware encrypting files, but Fortinet experts report that BRLock has the capability to scramble different files from the computer using the powerful AES algorithm.
BRLock Ransomware – Conclusion, Removal, and File Restoration
This virus may have been created with the sole purpose of driving users to pay the ransom amount posted by the cyber-criminals. The amount is low for a purpose; the cyber-crooks have most likely though that a high amount is less probable to be paid by users.
Despite this being a good strategy, we strongly urge the infected users to not pay any ransom, because they may extract their files and bypass this lockscreen, and there are several methods to do this. We strongly advise against paying any ransom money and following the instructions below and in case they do not work, follow the backup variant after them to get your files back.
To remove this virus, we suggest trying to bypass the lock screen by blocking it as a third-party application, because BRLock shuts down the explorer.exe process by default disabling the user the ability to access his files directly. This is why you should follow the instructions below, and Boot in Safe Mode after which first copy your files to a safe drive and then remove BRLock. Removing BRLock may prove to be rather tricky because it is not known which files it creates and what registry entries exactly it modifies. This is why if you are not tech-savvy, we recommend following the automatic option to secure your computer below.
In case your files are indeed encrypted, we also recommend attempting the alternative methods for file restoration which we have posted in step “3” in the instructions below. They are not 100 percent effective, but they are a good temporary solution because you may restore some of your files using them.