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Remove EXOTIC Squad Virus and Restore Encrypted Files

exotic-squad-sensorstechforum“Try to kill or delete me and I will kill your PC” – this is the message the victims of the EXOTIC virus see once their computer has been infected by it. The vulgar cyber-threat goes as far as creating wallpapers of Hitler along with threatening ransom notes to induce fear in the minds of the users whose files were encrypted. Once this virus encrypts your files, they become no longer openable and the cyber-criminals have the decryption key. This is why they demand a ransom payoff to be made to restore the files. Anyone who has been the victim of the EXOTIC virus is advised not to pay any form of ransom to cyber-criminals and to wait for malware researchers to go through it and see if there is a free decryption solution. In the meantime it is recommended to remove this virus and try to revert your files back to normal, using the information in this article.

Threat Summary

Name

EXOTIC virus

Type Ransomware
Short Description The malware encrypts users files using a strong encryption algorithm, making direct decryption possible only via a unique decryption key available to the cyber-criminals.
Symptoms The user may witness ransom notes and “instructions” along with a deadline countdown timer. Displays images of Hitler.
Distribution Method Via an HTTP request by an Exploit kit, Dll files, malicious JavaScript (.JS) or a drive-by download of the malware itself in an obfuscated manner.
Detection Tool See If Your System Has Been Affected by malware

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User Experience Join our forum to Discuss EXOTIC Ransomware.
Data Recovery Tool Stellar Phoenix Data Recovery Technician’s License 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.
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.

EXOTIC Virus – How Does It Cause Infection

In order for this particular malware to infect users, it focuses primarily on several different key factors – the victims it targets, the combination of tools it will use for successful infection and the regions which it will target. EXOTIC ransomware virus may use a sophisticated combination of tools such as malware obfuscators, file joiners, exploit kits and even javascripts to cause attacks. Such tools may be embedded in malicious URLs or malicious files that only seem legitimate, but are far away from such. The files may be In .ZIP archives or other types of packages. Some files may even look just like the Microsoft Office or Adobe document files to fool users of their legitimacy.

Such malicious URLs or files may be distributed on various places throughout the web. Such places may be shady websites that use malvertising or upload malicious executables that resemble legitimate installers, porn sites and other types of malicious sites. Also, some malicious URLs may be forced onto the victim’s computer via adware and other PUPs that may cause a browser redirect or other forms of advertisements to appear.

The most widely used by ransomware makers type of distribution method still remains to be spam. Whether it is spammed e-mails (attachments or links) or spam-bots that advertise different web links on social media or as comments on various websites, careless users often become victims of threats like the EXOTIC virus.

EXOTIC Virus – More Information

When it’s payload is downloaded onto your computer, you may experience temporary glitches and slow-downs, even freezes and the “not-responding” state of the “explorer.exe” process. This is because the virus is active and may have dropped malicious files in the following Windows folders:

  • %AppData%
  • %Temp%
  • %Local%
  • %Roaming%
  • %System Drive%
  • %User’s Profile%

After the files are dropped, the virus may modify multiple registry entries that may cause several actions on your computer:

  • Display a pop-up message.
  • Change the wallpaper of the infected computer.
  • Display the ransom message by opening a file specifically designed for that.
  • Run the encryption program (or script).

The usual targeted registry entries that modify those settings are:

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Desktop\
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

There may be more registry entries in which the EXOTIC virus may have created custom values for it’s operation in addition to those.

After being ran, the EXOTIC virus immediately begins encrypting the files of the compromised computer. The malware may use a strong cipher to generate a unique decryption key and send it to the servers of the cyber-criminals. Multiple types of files are preconfigured based on their file extensions to be targeted for file encryption. Such files are mainly important objects used often by the user, like:

  • Videos.
  • Text Documents.
  • Pictures.
  • Microsoft Word documents.
  • Microsoft Excel documents.
  • Microsoft PowerPoint documents.
  • Microsoft Outlook files.
  • Database files.
  • Adobe Reader Documents.
  • VMware and other types of virtual drive files.
  • Other files related to often used programs.

After the encryption, the user immediately sees the following pop-up:

pop-up-ransomware-encrypted-exotic-squad-sensorstechforum

After this pop-up the interface of the ransomware appears accompanying the following ransom note:

ransom-note-exotic-squad-ransowmare-sensorstechforum

Malware researchers at Malware HunterTeam (@malwrhunterteam) who may be the first stumbling upon this cyber-threat, believe that this is another one of those “junk” ransomware viruses that may be cracked and have free decryptors released soon.

Remove EXOTIC Virus and Try to Restore Your Files

To remove this virus completely from your computer, it is advisable to follow the instructions posted below. They are carefully designed to provide you the means to locate the files and objects related to EXOTIC virus. However, in case there is no information about which files and registries the virus creates or you are having difficulties in removing the files yourself, malware experts always advise using an advanced anti-malware program.

In order to attempt and restore your files in case they have been encrypted by the EXOTIC ransomware virus, you should know that at this point there is no free decryption possibility. But, do not be motivated and under no circumstances you should pay the ransom. Instead, while malware researchers come up with a free decryption solution, it is strongly advisable to try alternative methods to revert your files, like the ones mentioned in step “2. Restore files encrypted by EXOTIC virus” below. Bear in mind that the methods are not 100 percent effective and they do not guarantee the recovery of your files. Also, make sure to back up the encrypted files before trying to decrypt them if you are using a decryptor, because they may be broken permanently.

Images Source: Twitter

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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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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 EXOTIC virus from Windows.


Step 1: Boot Your PC In Safe Mode to isolate and remove EXOTIC 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 EXOTIC 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 EXOTIC 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 EXOTIC 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 EXOTIC 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 EXOTIC virus.

Ransomware infections and EXOTIC 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 EXOTIC virus from Mac OS X.


Step 1: Uninstall EXOTIC 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 EXOTIC 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 EXOTIC 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 EXOTIC 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 EXOTIC 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 EXOTIC 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.


Click the button below below to download SpyHunter for Mac and scan for EXOTIC virus:


Download

SpyHunter for Mac



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

Ransomware infections and EXOTIC 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.


EXOTIC virus FAQ

What is EXOTIC virus ransomware and how does it work?

EXOTIC 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 EXOTIC virus ransomware infect my computer?

Via several ways.EXOTIC 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 EXOTIC 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 .EXOTIC virus files?

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

One way to restore files, encrypted by EXOTIC 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 ".EXOTIC 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 .EXOTIC 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 EXOTIC 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 EXOTIC virus ransomware and then remove it without causing any additional harm to your important .EXOTIC virus files.

Also, keep in mind that viruses like EXOTIC 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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