THREAT REMOVAL

Remove Donut Virus (Hidden Tear Ransomware) – Restore .donut Files

Donut Virus image ransomware note .donut extension

The Donut virus is a new descendant of the Hidden Tear ransomware family. Each individual attack can be configured so that it targets the targets specifically. Refer to our in-depth article for a technical analysis and full removal instructions.

Threat Summary

Name Donut
Type Ransomware, Cryptovirus
Short Description The ransomware encrypts sensitive information on your computer system with the .donut extensions and demands a ransom to be paid to allegedly recover them.
Symptoms The ransomware will encrypt your files with a strong encryption algorithm.
Distribution Method Spam Emails, Email Attachments
Detection Tool See If Your System Has Been Affected by malware

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User Experience Join Our Forum to Discuss Donut.
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.

Donut Virus – Distribution Ways

The Donut virus is a newly discovered virus threat that is being distributed against users worldwide in targeted campaigns. Depending on the targets themselves the hackers can use various strategies. A popular tactic relies on the fact that email messages are among the main carriers of social engineering tricks. This relies on the fact they spread the virus files either attached or hyperlinked in the body contents in some way. The criminals often model them based on common messages that are sent out to clients by popular Internet services. The contained elements can directly lead to the infections or the hackers can produce a link to a payload carrier. They are dangerous instances that lead to Donut virus infections and two of the most popular types are the following:

  • Infected Software Installers — The hackers can embed the virus code into application installers of various types. A typical strain is made by taking the legitimate application installers of famous software from their official vendor sites and modifying them with the virus samples. Examples include system utilities, creativity suites, productivity and office programs and even computer games.
  • Malicious Documents — In a similar way the computer hackers can embed the Donut virus code into various documents: rich text documents, spreadsheets and presentations. The most common method is to use macros that lead to the dangerous infections. Once the files are opened by the victims a notification prompt is spawned which asks the users to enable them. If this is done the scripts will automate the installation of the virus.

Another delivery tactic that can be used by the hackers is the use of browser hijackers. They are malicious web browser plugins that are usually spread on the relevant add-on repositories. They are advertised as useful additions to the web browser and are promoted using elaborate descriptions and false user reviews. One of the reasons why this is an effective way is that the plugins are made compatible with the most popular software: Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome, Internet Explorer, Microsoft Edge, Safari and Opera. Once they are installed the default home page, search engine and new tabs page redirect the victims to a malicious off-site instance.

The creation of fake download pages and file sharing networks such as BitTorrent can also lead to numerous infections with the Donut virus.

Donut Virus – In-Depth Analysis

The Donut virus is a new instance of the Hidden Tear ransomware family. This is one of the most popular codebases that viruses are being made of. Its entirely open-source and this means that anybody can use it. Due to this fact at the moment the security experts cannot identify the hacker or criminal group behind it.

As it is based on Hidden Tear it uses the very same behavior patterns. The modular main engine can be customized to interact with various components that can be toggled on and off. This means that every attack can be specifically customized and personalized. Future versions of it can have marginally different effects on the computers.

Hidden Tear based infections like the Donut virus can begin with an information gathering component. It uses the built-in tools to harvest sensitive data from the infected host computer which is usually classified into two categories:

  • Personal Information — This type of data can be used to directly expose the identity of the users and/or their machines. The malicious engine is programmed to search for strings that specifically mention any information that is deemed valuable. An example is the victim’s name, address, telephone number, location, interests and passwords.
  • Campaign Metrics — They are gathered in order to assist the hackers into optimizing the attacks. The gathered information usually consists of a profile containing the full hardware information and certain values from the operating system.

The collected data can then be used by the engine to bypass any protective measures that may have been installed. This includes the likes of anti-virus programs, sandbox environments or virtual machine hosts. if such are found they can be entirely removed in certain configurations. Advanced versions of it can be configured to remove themselves if they are unable to complete this step.

The next change to the operating system is the manipulation of the Windows Registry. The virus itself can modify user-installed application entries which can disable certain functionality. If the operating system related entries are affected then overall performance can degrade.

Any Donut virus interactions that are related to persistence installation strategies is the manipulation of the boot options. The malicious engine removes the ability to enter into the recovery menu and makes the Donut virus to automatically start once the computer is powered on. The standard computer behavior is modified in order to make the virus able to manipulate even system processes.

The Donut virus can be configured to establish a network connection with a remote host. This is a hacker-controlled server that turns the infection into a powerful Trojan. It reports the harvested information and can spy on the users in real-time. Consequently it also allows the hackers to deploy additional viruses to the infected hosts.

The reported instances have been found to infect the temporary Windows folder and assume various names so that the users have no way of knowing where the engine is. It can also hookup to system processes which makes it hard to remove.

Donut Virus -Encryption

As soon as the ransomware component is started the familiar Hidden Tear infection tactics are executed. The Donut virus uses a built-in list of target file type extensions that is scanned by the engine. All user data that corresponds with it are encrypted with a powerful cipher(usually AES 256). An example list may include the following data types:

  • Archives
  • Documents
  • Backups
  • Images
  • Music
  • Videos

All affected data is renamed with the .donut extension. A lockscreen instance is then started which takes the form of an application window. This approach is preferred over the use of a standard text-based ransom note. It reads the following message:

Hi.
All your files have been ENCRYPTED by DONUT Ransomware
Do you want to restore your files?
Your should buy DonutDecryptor.
Current Price $100.
For payment your need cryptocurrency BitCoin.
Write to our email – donutmmm @tutanota.com
and tell us your unique ID and BitCoin transaction.
Your Uniq ID is: *****
BitCoin wallet is: 1MVB7wbeF1yLGRCUmVdgiDWMD7yR

Remove Donut Virus and Restore .donut Files

If your computer system got infected with the Donut ransomware virus, you should have a bit of experience in removing malware. You should get rid of this ransomware as quickly as possible before it can have the chance to spread further and infect other computers. You should remove the ransomware and follow the step-by-step instructions guide provided below.

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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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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 Donut from Windows.


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

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 Donut 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 Donut 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 Donut 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 Donut 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 Donut.

Ransomware infections and Donut 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 Donut from Mac OS X.


Step 1: Uninstall Donut 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 Donut:

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 Donut. 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 Donut. 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 Donut 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 Donut. 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 Donut:


Download

SpyHunter for Mac



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

Ransomware infections and Donut 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.


Donut FAQ

What is Donut ransomware and how does it work?

Donut 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 Donut ransomware infect my computer?

Via several ways.Donut 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 Donut 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 .Donut files?

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

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

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

Also, keep in mind that viruses like Donut 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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