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Remove El Gato Android Ransomware and Restore Locked Devices

el-gato-ransomware-cat-senoststechforumAn orange cat making a funny face this is what victims of El Gato (cat) ransomware see when their Android phones have been infected by this virus. McAfee labs researchers from its mobile division have seen that this virus’ is controlled remotely and it aims to make an android device no longer to be useful unless the victim pays a provided ransom payment. In addition to this El Gato has also been reported to have an infostealing ability allowing it to steal text messages and other information. In case you have been infected by El Gato ransomware, we strongly advise you to read this article thoroughly and learn how to clear your device from El Gato ransomware and try to get your files back.

Threat Summary

Name

El Gato

Type Android Malware/ Lockscreen/Ransowmare
Short Description The El Gato Android ransomware locks the files of Android devices, displays a lockscreen, steals information and may send SMS from it.
Symptoms Locked screen displaying a cat.
Distribution Method Malicious third-party apps or malicious URLs.
Detection Tool See If Your System Has Been Affected by malware

Download

Malware Removal Tool

User Experience Join our forum to Discuss El Gato Ransowmare.
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.

El Gato – How Does It Spread

So far, El Gato is in early stages of development and researchers have spotted it, which means that it is less likely to spread massively yet. However, if it is to be widespread, this may happen via several different methods:

  • Malicious URLs opened on the device’s web browser.
  • Malicious apps installed from a third-party app provider other than Google Play store.

El Gato Ransomware – More Information

Upon infection, El Gato ransomware, may perforom several malicious activities on the device. For starters, the virus connects remotely to the cyber-criminals’ C&C servers. From there, they assume a remote-control like access enabling them to use the many features of the El Gato virus.

One of its “extras” is primarily associated with locking the screen of users and possibly displaying an image of a funny and cute cat. However, there is nothing cute about this virus. The access can be blocked by adding a lockscreen to the device which can be done by modifying the screensaver.

Not only this, but the creators of El Gato ransomware also have the ability to steal information from the infected device. They can obtain text messages, system information, contact information.

Besides stealing such I formation, DigitalTrends researchers report that El Gato virus also has the capability of sending text messages from it’s victims phones.

Besides those, probably the worst feature of the phone is that it may eventually pose a grave threat to your data as well. The El Gato virus has the ability to encrypt user files as well, making decryption that is direct almost impossible.

After encryption, the El Gato virus may generate a randomly made password, different for every infection and the attacker may demand a different payment and methods of payment, for example 1 BTC via Tor networking or payment via SMS to a remotely operated and automated short messaging service.

Remove El Gato Ransowmare from Your Android Device

Removing this virus may be a tricky thing, especially if it has encrypted your files. This is why we advise you to try and enter the safe mode of your phone, connect it to a computer and copy the files onto it. In case the files on your phone are encrypted and important to you, you should first determine the type of encryption algorithm used. Then use the appropriate decryptor.

We have prepared the instructions below that will surely help you to get rid of this ransomware from your device. We strongly advise you to try and access your files and copy them somewhere else before attempting this removal.

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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Windows Mac OS X Google Chrome Mozilla Firefox Microsoft Edge Safari Internet Explorer Stop Push Pop-ups

About the El Gato Research

The content we publish on SensorsTechForum.com, this El Gato how-to removal guide included, is the outcome of extensive research, hard work and our team’s devotion to help you remove the specific, adware-related problem, and restore your browser and computer system.

How did we conduct the research on El Gato?

Please note that our research is based on independent investigation. We are in contact with independent security researchers, thanks to which we receive daily updates on the latest malware, adware, and browser hijacker definitions.
Furthermore, the research behind the El Gato threat is backed with VirusTotal https://www.virustotal.com/gui/home/upload.
To better understand this online threat, please refer to the following articles which provide knowledgeable details.

References

1.Browser Redirect – What Is It?
2.Adware Is Malicious, and It Uses Advanced Techniques to Infect
3.The Thin Red Line Between Potentially Unwanted Programs and Malware
4.The Pay-Per-Install Affiliate Business – Making Millions out of Adware
5.Malicious Firefox Extensions Installed by 455,000 Users Blocked Updates

How to Remove El Gato from Windows.


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

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 El Gato 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 El Gato 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 El Gato 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 El Gato 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.


Video Removal Guide for El Gato (Windows).


Windows Mac OS X Google Chrome Mozilla Firefox Microsoft Edge Safari Internet Explorer Stop Push Pop-ups

Get rid of El Gato from Mac OS X.


Step 1: Uninstall El Gato 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 El Gato:

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 El Gato. 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 El Gato. 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 El Gato 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 El Gato. 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 El Gato files from your Mac

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


Click the button below below to download SpyHunter for Mac and scan for El Gato:


Download

SpyHunter for Mac


Video Removal Guide for El Gato (Mac)


Windows Mac OS X Google Chrome Mozilla Firefox Microsoft Edge Safari Internet Explorer Stop Push Pop-ups


Remove El Gato from Google Chrome.


Step 1: Start Google Chrome and open the drop menu


Step 2:Move the cursor over "Tools" and then from the extended menu choose "Extensions"


Step 3: From the opened "Extensions" menu locate the unwanted extension and click on its "Remove" button.


Step 4: After the extension is removed, restart Google Chrome by closing it from the red "X" button at the top right corner and start it again.


Windows Mac OS X Google Chrome Mozilla Firefox Microsoft Edge Safari Internet Explorer Stop Push Pop-ups


Erase El Gato from Mozilla Firefox.

Step 1: Start Mozilla Firefox. Open the menu window


Step 2: Select the "Add-ons" icon from the menu.


Step 3: Select the unwanted extension and click "Remove"


Step 4: After the extension is removed, restart Mozilla Firefox by closing it from the red "X" button at the top right corner and start it again.



Windows Mac OS X Google Chrome Mozilla Firefox Microsoft Edge Safari Internet Explorer Stop Push Pop-ups


Uninstall El Gato from Microsoft Edge.


Step 1: Start Edge browser.


Step 2: Open the drop menu by clicking on the icon at the top right corner.


Step 3: From the drop menu select "Extensions".


Step 4: Choose the suspected malicious extension you want to remove and then click on the gear icon.


Step 5: Remove the malicious extension by scrolling down and then clicking on Uninstall.



Windows Mac OS X Google Chrome Mozilla Firefox Microsoft Edge Safari Internet Explorer Stop Push Pop-ups


Remove El Gato from Safari.


Step 1: Start the Safari app.


Step 2: After hovering your mouse cursor to the top of the screen, click on the Safari text to open its drop down menu.


Step 3: From the menu, click on "Preferences".

stf-safari preferences


Step 4: After that, select the 'Extensions' Tab.

stf-safari-extensions


Step 5: Click once on the extension you want to remove.


Step 6: Click 'Uninstall'.

stf-safari uninstall

A pop-up window will appear asking for confirmation to uninstall the extension. Select 'Uninstall' again, and the El Gato will be removed.


How to Reset Safari
IMPORTANT: Before resetting Safari make sure you back up all your saved passwords within the browser in case you forget them.

Start Safari and then click on the gear leaver icon.

Click the Reset Safari button and you will reset the browser.


Windows Mac OS X Google Chrome Mozilla Firefox Microsoft Edge Safari Internet Explorer Stop Push Pop-ups


Eliminate El Gato from Internet Explorer.


Step 1: Start Internet Explorer.


Step 2: Click on the gear icon labeled 'Tools' to open the drop menu and select 'Manage Add-ons'


Step 3: In the 'Manage Add-ons' window.


Step 4: Select the extension you want to remove and then click 'Disable'. A pop-up window will appear to inform you that you are about to disable the selected extension, and some more add-ons might be disabled as well. Leave all the boxes checked, and click 'Disable'.


Step 5: After the unwanted extension has been removed, restart Internet Explorer by closing it from the red 'X' button located at the top right corner and start it again.


Remove Push Notifications caused by El Gato from Your Browsers.


Turn Off Push Notifications from Google Chrome

To disable any Push Notices from Google Chrome browser, please follow the steps below:

Step 1: Go to Settings in Chrome.

settings

Step 2: In Settings, select “Advanced Settings”:

advanced settings

Step 3: Click “Content Settings”:

Content Settings

Step 4: Open “Notifications”:

notifications

Step 5: Click the three dots and choose Block, Edit or Remove options:

Block, Edit or Remove

Remove Push Notifications on Firefox

Step 1: Go to Firefox Options.

options

Step 2: Go to “Settings”, type “notifications” in the search bar and click "Settings":

Settings

Step 3: Click “Remove” on any site you wish notifications gone and click “Save Changes”

remove push notifications firefox

Stop Push Notifications on Opera

Step 1: In Opera, press ALT+P to go to Settings.

opera

Step 2: In Setting search, type “Content” to go to Content Settings.

content settings

Step 3: Open Notifications:

notifications

Step 4: Do the same as you did with Google Chrome (explained below):

three dots

Eliminate Push Notifications on Safari

Step 1: Open Safari Preferences.

preferences

Step 2: Choose the domain from where you like push pop-ups gone and change to "Deny" from "Allow".



El Gato FAQ

What is El Gato?

The El Gato threat is adware or browser redirect virus. It may slow your computer down siginficantly and display advertisements. The main idea is for your information to likely get stolen or more ads to appear on your device.

The creators of such unwanted apps work with pay-per-click schemes to get your computer to visit risky or different types of websites that may generate them funds. This is why they do not even care what types of websites show up on the ads. This makes their unwanted software indirectly risky for your OS.

What are the symptoms of El Gato?

There are several symptoms to look for when this particular threat and also unwanted apps in general are active:

Symptom #1: Your computer may become slow and has poor performance in general.

Symtpom #2: You have toolbars, add-ons or extensions on your web browsers that you don't remember adding.

Symptom #3: You see all types of ads, like ad-supported search results, pop-ups and redirects to randomly appear.

Symptom #4: You see installed apps on your Mac running automatically and you do not remember installing them.

Symptom #5: You see suspicious processes running in your Task Manager.

If you see one or more of those symptoms, then security experts reccomend that you check your computer for viruses.

What types of Unwanted Programs are there?

According to most malware researchers and cyber-security experts, the threats that can currently affect your Mac can be the following types:

  • Rogue Antivirus programs.
  • Adware.
  • Browser hijackers.
  • Clickers.
  • Fake optimizers.

What to do if I have a "virus" like El Gato?

Do not panic! You can easily get rid of most adware or unwanted program threats by firstly isolating them and then removing them from your browser and computer. One reccomended way to do that is by using a reputable malware removal software that can take care of the removal automatically for you. There are many anti-malware apps out there that you can choose from. SpyHunter is one of the reccomended anti-malware apps, that can scan your computer for free and detect any viruses, tracking cookies and unwanted adware apps and eliminate them quickly. This saves time when compared to doing the removal manually.

How to secure my passwords and other data from El Gato?

With few simple actions. First and foremost, it is imperative that you follow these steps:

Step 1: Find a safe computer and connect it to another network, not the one that your Mac was infected in.

Step 2: Change all of your passwords, starting from your e-mail passwords.

Step 3: Enable two-factor authentication for protection of your important accounts.

Step 4: Call your bank to change your credit card details (secret code, etc.) if you have saved your credit card for online shopping or have done online activiites with your card.

Step 5: Make sure to call your ISP (Internet provider or carrier) and ask them to change your IP address.

Step 6: Change your Wi-Fi password.

Step 7: (Optional): Make sure to scan all of the devices connected to your network for viruses and repeat these steps for them if they are affected.

Step 8: Install anti-malware software with real-time protection on every device you have.

Step 9: Try not to download software from sites you know nothing about and stay away from low-reputation websites in general.

If you follow these reccomendations, your network and all devices will become significantly more secure against any threats or information invasive software and be virus free and protected in the future too.

More tips you can find on our website, where you can also ask any questions and comment underneath the articles about your computer problems. We will try to respond as fast as possible.

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