How to Remove Diskwriter Virus — Restore Encrypted Files

How to Remove Diskwriter Virus — Restore Encrypted Files

Diskwriter virus is an advanced computer viruses that is classified as a ransomware as it shares many of the features found in them. However the samples associated with it delete the victim data instead of encrypting them.

Threat Summary

Short DescriptionThe Diskwriter virus is a dangerous wiper virus that has the ability to delete user data.
SymptomsUsers will be unable to boot their computers.
Distribution MethodSpam Emails, File Sharing Networks, Exploit Kits
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DiskWriter Virus – Infection Spread

The Diskwriter virus can be deployed via an executable file using various means. One of the most popular ways is to send it via spam email messages. The most effective methods rely on social engineering tricks that attempt to trick the users into interacting with the dangerous content. The preferred strategy is to insert hyperlinks that lead to the samples hosted on a download site. The criminals typically use graphics and text taken from legitimate services. The efffective campaigns tend to use familiar sounding domains in order to fool the users into accessing them. The other method used with email messages is the direct file attachment of the malware files.

In the last few years we have noted the rise of two alternative ways to spread viruses. The criminals can opt to bundle the dangerous code into software installers. They are made by taking the legitimate setup files from their official vendor sites and modifying them to include the malware code. In a similar way the criminals can customize documents of different types (spreadsheets, presentations and rich text documents). They are usually disguised as notices, contracts or other files that may be of user interest. Once they are opened by the users a notification prompt appears which asks them to enable the built-in scripts (macros). If this is done the threat is downloaded from a hacker-controlled site and executed on the local machine.

Various hacker-controlled download portals can carry the threat. They are usually modeled after legitimate sites by using similar sounding domain names and web design. Often viruses are spread on file sharing networks such as BitTorrent as well posing as legitimate apps.

Advanced malware delivery tactics that can produce Diskwriter virus infections include the use of browser hijackers. They represent hacker-created malware browser plugins that are made for the most popular software: Mozilla Firefox, Opera, Microsoft Edge, Safari, Google Chrome and Internet Explorer. They usually attempt to redirect the victims to a hacker-controlled site and download their private data. Such scripts can be used to spread malware such as this one.

DataKeeper Virus — Update October 2018

A recent email phishing campaign carrying the DataKeeper ransomware virus has been spotted. The criminal collective behind it are spreading messages that pose as being sent by law enforcement authorities with an attached file file called nguyen police report.pdf. Upon opening them a built-in message prompt may appear asking the built-in scripts to be run. This will lead to the virus infection.

The actual contents of one sample message is the following:

Police Report File: #32456543AFA34543

Please wait while we download your file. This may trigger your antivirus software. Do not block otherwise report will be deleted from our servers. Thank you.

The analysis reveals that the message itself is actually a double extension executable file. Upon interacting with it a PDF file will be launched reading the file. However at the same time the malicious process will have already started and the virus deployment started.

When the malicious process has started it will proceed with its behavior tactics. One of the most important changes made to the host computers is the stealth protection mechanism. As discussed below it will scan the system for programs that can interfere with the virus execution: primarily sandboxes and anti-virus osftware. Advanced viruses may also affect virtual machine hosts when detecting that they are run inside a hypervisor. This is done in order to disable the host and avoid analysis.

Another dangerous action is the data extraction of the installed web browsers. The engine has been spotted to search for the most popular software and if they are found their data will be harvested. The list of target information includes the following:

  • Cookies
  • Bookmarks
  • Settings
  • History
  • Stored Credentials
  • Site Preferences

DiskWriter Virus – Technical Data

The DiskWriter virus is a ransomware threat that has been specifically built in order to extort the victims for a ransomware fee and sabotage their systems. At the moment there is no information about its creator(s), it is believed to be the work of an experienced hacker or criminal collective.

It appears to execute itself in in several stages the first of which is the preparatory one. In order to access the deep operating system mechanisms the virus engine launches an advanced information gathering module. It is configured in order to create a complete profile of the target machine by collecting metrics related to the hardware components and installed system software. Once this is done it may continue further with private data by extracting data that can personally expose the victims identity: name, address, phone number, geolocation, interests, passwords and account credentials.

Many advanced threats like this one may also implement a stealth protection mechanism that can protect the instance from security software. Using the harvested data it can detect if there are any system services that can disrupt the execution of the Diskwriter virus engine. The list includes most anti-virus software, virtual machines and sandboxes and debugging environments. The usual behavior is to either bypass their real-time engines or entirely remove them. In certain cases they can be configured into removing themselves if they are unable to do so.

As a consequence of the advanced infection the Diskwriter virus can also initiate a network connection with a remote host. In such cases the acquired information can be sent to the hacker controllers. This is also an effective method to deploy additional threats or take over control of the systems in a manner similar to Trojans.

Once all components have completed execution a wiper is started. It is designed to replace the Master Boot Record which is responsible for hosting the boot loader code. As a result of this the victims will be unable to start their computers. An interesting feature implement is the automatic shutdown once the virus has finished with the payload delivery. The users will find that their computers will automatically shut down once all components have finished executing. Once they start their machines again they will see the following message:

Ooops,your important files are encrypted.
If you see this text,then your files are not accessible,because they’ve been encrypted.Maybe you’re busy looking for a way to recover your files,but don’t waste your time.Nobody can recover your files without our decryption service.
In order to decrypt.Please Send $300 worth of Bitcoin to this address:

According to the technical analysis the current samples associated with the DiskWriter virus are not proper ransomware but malware that seek to delete the user data instead of encrypting it. The users are promised decryption if they pay the quoted fee.

In this situation the best strategy is to remove the malware threat and attempt to use a data recovery software. Refer to our instructions below.

Remove DiskWriter Virus and Restore Your Files

If your computer got compromised and is infected with the DiskWriter ransomware virus, you should have some experience with removing viruses before tampering with it. You should get rid of the ransomware fast before it can spread further on the network and encrypt more files. The recommended action for you is to remove the ransomware completely by following the step-by-step instructions written below.


Martin Beltov

Martin graduated with a degree in Publishing from Sofia University. As a cyber security enthusiast he enjoys writing about the latest threats and mechanisms of intrusion.

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