THREAT REMOVAL

.vanss Files Virus (Dharma Ransomware) – Remove It

This article has been created to help explain what is the .vanss variant of Dharma/CrySyS ransomware virus and how you can remove it plus how you can try and restore files, encrypted with the .vanss file extension.

With another week upon us, there has been another variant of Dharma ransomware released in the wild, this time using the .vanss file extension which is added to the encrypted files. The virus is from a ransomware type, which means that it encrypts the files on your computer, leaving them in a state which prevents you from opening them, until you pay ransom. This virus also includes two ransom notes being added. The notes, are FILES ENCRYPTED.txt and Info.hta and their main purpose is to give instructions how the victims can pay ransom to get their files back. If your PC has become a victim of this nasty virus, we recommend that you read this article.

Threat Summary

Name.vanss Dharma Virus
TypeRansomware, Cryptovirus
Short DescriptionA variant of Dharma ransomware. Aims to encrypt the files on the victims’ comptuers, then extort them for ransom payment in BitCoin.
SymptomsInfo.hta and FILES ENCRYPTED.txt start to appear on your PC. The files are encrypted with the file extension – id-{random ID}.[Blacklist@cock.li].vanss
Distribution MethodSpam Emails, Email Attachments, Executable files
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User ExperienceJoin Our Forum to Discuss .vanss Dharma Virus.
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.

Dharma .vanss Ransomware – Distribution Methods

To be widespread and infect computers effectively, the ones who spread this variant of Dharma ransomware may use different devious tactics. One of them is to spread the virus via an infection file that is added as an extension on spammed e-mail messages. Such types of files usually pose to be legitimate documents, like an invoice, a receipt or a banking statement. The e-mails are often set up to imitate legitimate messages from big companies, like PayPal, eBay, Amazon, LinkedIn, DHL, FedEx and even banks, for example:

In addition to via e-mail, the malicious files may also be uploaded on hoax or compromised WordPress websites, in the form of different exectutables, like;

  • Game or program patches or cracks.
  • Key generators.
  • License activators.
  • Installers.
  • Portable versions of programs.

In addition to this, the files that have been dropped may also be self-extracting archives or JavaScript files that may be uploaded in downloading scripts that are embedded on malicious URLs. This means that you may have become infected with Dharma ransomware by opening a web link that leads to automatic download and install of the infection file.

Dharma .vanss Ransomware – Analysis

The main malicious file of Dharma’s .vanss variant has been reported in VirusTotal to have the following technical specifications:

→ MD5:e86893b92eca6e8dfbcfb9bbc08ee973
SHA-1:acaf1392ea344a074cd4dd47faa6a7e1530747f
Type:Win32 EXE
Size:4.72 MB

Once dropped on the victimized machine, the Dharma .vanss virus begins to interact with the following system files in Windows:

→ KERNEL32.dll
USER32.dll
WTSAPI32.dll

The .vanss variant of Dharma uses those .dll Windows files to import the following functions:

• LocalFree
• GetProcessAffinityMask
• LocalAlloc
• GetModuleHandleA
• GetModuleFileNameW
• VirtualQuery
• FreeLibrary
• ExitProcess
• Sleep
• SetThreadAffinityMask
• SetProcessAffinityMask
• GetProcAddress
• LoadLibraryA
• GetProcessWindowStation
• GetUserObjectInformationW
• WTSSendMessageW

The Dharma ransomware then may interact with the following Windows files in System32:

→ C:\WINDOWS\system32\winime32.dll
C:\WINDOWS\system32\ws2_32.dll
C:\WINDOWS\system32\ws2help.dll
C:\WINDOWS\system32\psapi.dll
C:\WINDOWS\system32\imm32.dll
C:\WINDOWS\system32\lpk.dll
C:\WINDOWS\system32\usp10.dll
C:\WINDOWS\system32\comctl32.dll
C:\WINDOWS\system32\shell32.dll
C:\WINDOWS\WinSxS\x86_Microsoft.Windows.Common-Controls_6595b64144ccf1df_6.0.2600.5512_x-ww_35d4ce83\comctl32.dll
C:\WINDOWS\WindowsShell.Manifest
C:\WINDOWS\system32\MSCTF.dll
C:\WINDOWS\system32\MSCTFIME.IME

In addition to this, Dharma ransomware also modifies multiple registry sub-keys in Windows:

→ \Registry\Machine\Software\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Image File Execution Options\996E.exe
\Registry\MACHINE\System\CurrentControlSet\Control\SafeBoot\Option
\Registry\Machine\Software\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\Safer\CodeIdentifiers
\REGISTRY\MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\Safer\CodeIdentifiers\TransparentEnabled
\REGISTRY\USER\S-1-5-21-1482476501-1645522239-1417001333-500\Software\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\Safer\CodeIdentifiers
\Registry\Machine\Software\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Image File Execution Options\ole32.dll
\Registry\Machine\Software\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Image File Execution Options\oleaut32.dll
\Registry\Machine\Software\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Image File Execution Options\version.dll
\Registry\Machine\Software\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Image File Execution Options\comctl32.dll
\Registry\Machine\Software\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Image File Execution Options\SHELL32.dll

Among the activities of the .vanss Dharma ransomware is to also drop it’s ransom note, called Info.hta on the victim PC. The note looks like the following when opened:

Dharma .vanss Ransomware – Encryption Process

Similar to the previous versions of Dharma ransomware, this one does not cheat the tradition and adds various differnent functions that skip encrypting files in the key Windows directories, like:

  • %System%
  • %System32%
  • %Windows%
  • %ProgramData%
  • %AppData%

This is done with the main purpose of leaving Windows active so that the victim can use the PC to pay ransom, which we highly advise against doing.

Dharma ransomware may then scan for the files it aims to encrypt by looking for them, based on their file extensions. The most targeted files naturally are the most commonly used ones, for example:

  • Pictures.
  • Videos.
  • Audio files.
  • Archives.
  • Virtual Drives.
  • Backups.

The virus then may use the AES encryption algorithm to encrypt your files. It may create encrypted copies of the files and delete the original ones or directly attack the files themselves. After the .vanss version of Dharma ransomware is done with your files, the malware generates an asymmetric decryption key, which is also encrypted so that only the crooks can use it to recover your files. The file name is also modified and has it’s file icon stripped down from it. Files, encrypted by .vanss Dharma ransomware look like the following:

Remove Dharma Ransomware and Try Restoring .vanss Files

Before beginning any removal process of this iteration of Dharma, we recommend that you do a backup of your files, just in case.

If you want to remove this virus, you can try doing so by following the removal instructions that are underneath this article. They have been made with the main goal of helping you delete the virus files and objects of Dharma ransomware either manually or automatically. If manual removal Is not something you feel confident in doing, then most security experts would advise you to run a scan of your PC, using an advanced anti-malware program. Such software will scan your computer to look for all malicious files and objects, that may be related to this virus and remove them from your computer, plus secure it against future infections.

If you want to restore files, you can try doing so b following the alternative methods for file recovery underneath. They are located in step “4. Try to Restore files encrypted by .vanss Dharma Virus”. They may not be a 100% guarantee that you will be able to restore all of your encrypted files, but with their aid, you may be able to recover some or most of your files, depending on the situation.

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Ventsislav Krastev

Ventsislav has been covering the latest malware, software and newest tech developments at SensorsTechForum for 3 years now. He started out as a network administrator. Having graduated Marketing as well, Ventsislav also has passion for discovery of new shifts and innovations in cybersecurity that become game changers. After studying Value Chain Management and then Network Administration, he found his passion within cybersecrurity and is a strong believer in basic education of every user towards online safety.

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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

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with Spy Hunter
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 .vanss Dharma Virus from Windows.


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

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 .vanss Dharma Virus 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 .vanss Dharma Virus 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 .vanss Dharma Virus 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 .vanss Dharma Virus 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 .vanss Dharma Virus.

Ransomware infections and .vanss Dharma Virus 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 .vanss Dharma Virus from Mac OS X.


Step 1: Uninstall .vanss Dharma Virus 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 .vanss Dharma Virus:

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 .vanss Dharma Virus. 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 .vanss Dharma Virus. 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 .vanss Dharma Virus 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 .vanss Dharma Virus. 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.


Step 2: Scan for and remove malware from your Mac

When you are facing problems on your Mac as a result of unwanted scripts, programs and malware, the recommended way of eliminating the threat is by using an anti-malware program. Combo Cleaner offers advanced security features along with other modules that will improve your Mac’s security and protect it in the future.


Step 3 (Optional): Try to Restore Files Encrypted by .vanss Dharma Virus on your Mac.

Ransomware for Mac .vanss Dharma Virus aims to encode all your files using an encryption algorithm which may be very difficult to decode, unless you pay money.

This is why we have suggested a data recovery method that may help you go around direct decryption and try to restore your files, but only in some cases. 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 Mac app by clicking on the link underneath:


.vanss Dharma Virus FAQ

What is .vanss Dharma Virus ransomware and how does it work?

.vanss Dharma Virus 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 .vanss Dharma Virus ransomware infect my computer?

Via several ways..vanss Dharma Virus 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 .vanss Dharma Virus 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 ..vanss Dharma Virus files?

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

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

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

Also, keep in mind that viruses like .vanss Dharma Virus 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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