The .format files are encrypted objects by a dangerous ransomware virus, that belongs to the STOP Ransomware family of malware. The virus aims to encrypt the files on your computer and then sets the .format file extension that is added to the files, encrypted by it. The outcome of this is that you cannot open the files until you pay ransom to the cyber-criminals who are behind the .format virus. Read this article in order to understand how to fully remove Format virus and try to restore your files.
|Short Description||Variant of STOP Ransomware. Aims to encrypt your files and get you to pay ransom to buy them back from the criminals.|
|Symptoms||Files are encrypted with an added .format extension. A ransom note file, called _readme.txt also appears.|
|Distribution Method||Spam Emails, Email Attachments, Executable files|
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|User Experience||Join Our Forum to Discuss Format Virus.|
|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.|
.format Files Virus – Update August 2019
The good news for all victims of STOP .format ransomware is that the security researcher Michael Gillespie cracked the code of this variant and released an updated version of his STOP ransomware decrypter.
So the moment you remove all malicious files and objects from your infected system you can enter our data recovery guide where you will find a download link for the free .format decryption tool and learn how to proceed with the decryption process.
Have in mind that the tool is designed to support specific offline IDs, so it may not be effective for all occasions of .format ransomware infections.
Format Virus – How Did I Get It and What Does It Do?
The primary goal of the Format virus is to penetrate your computer system. For this to work, the main idea of the ransomware virus is to come as a legitimate file on your computer so that you can execute it. Such files can be sent to you via e-mail where they may pretend to be legitimate documents, from the likes of:
- Word documents.
- PDF files.
Once you are tricked into opening them, infection with the Format virus may commence by triggering malicious macros on the victim computer.
Not only this, but also another way via which you may become victim of the Format virus is if you happen to open several different types of files, whose main goal is to pretend to be software downloads of some sort. Such software downloads could turn out to be setups, portable programs, cracks patches, and others.
Either way, as soon as the Format virus infects your computer, it may drop the virus files in the following Windows directories:
When the Format virus has infected your computer, it will also drop its _readme.txt file, that has the following contents:
Don’t worry my friend, you can return all your files!
All your files like photos, databases, documents and other important are encrypted with strongest encryption and unique key.
The only method of recovering files is to purchase decrypt tool and unique key for you.
This software will decrypt all your encrypted files.
What guarantees you have?
You can send one of your encrypted file from your PC and we decrypt it for free.
But we can decrypt only 1 file for free. File must not contain valuable information.
You can get and look video overview decrypt tool:
Price of private key and decrypt software is $980.
Discount 50% available if you contact us first 72 hours, that’s price for you is $490.
Please note that you’ll never restore your data without payment.
Check your e-mail “Spam” or “Junk” folder if you don’t get answer more than 6 hours.
To get this software you need write on our e-mail:
Reserve e-mail address to contact us:
After infection, Format virus may conduct series of virus activities in order to obtain administrator rights over your computer. It may use those to scan for and encrypt the following file types:
- Audio files.
- Other important files.
The Format virus ransomware is careful not to encrypt files in the regularly targeted Windows directories and the main reason for this is the fact that encrypting system files may damage Windows. Instead, the often used files outside of system directories of Windows are encrypted and they are added the .format extension:
Once the Format virus adds the extension, the files are encrypted and they are no longer readible. The primary idea behind this is to change data from the original file using the AES encryption mode (Advanced Encryption Standard). This generates a unique decryption key that can be used by the crooks to extort you into paying money. When you pay in BitCoin, they promise to give you a decryptor for your key and decrypt files. Paying the ransom is strongly inadvisable and the main reason for not paying is that you cannot trust these cyber-criminals with your files. Instead we advise you to backup all of the .format files and wait for a free decryptor to come out, which is usually in 1 or 2 weeks time.
Remove Format Ransomware and Try to Restore .format Virus Files
In order for you to remove the Format ransomware virus entirely from your computer system, we advise you to follow the removal instructions that are underneath this article. They have been created with the primary reason to help you delete the virus step by step. However, if you want a faster removal and to detect and all virus files of this ransomware, we recommend that you remove it with a professional malware removal program. Such advanced software is powerful enough to scan for and detect all virus files on your computer and remove the Format virus completely.
If you want to try and restore files, that have been encrypted by the .format virus, then we do advise that you first do a backup. Then, you can try using the alternative methods for file recovery posted underneath. They are in no means 100% effective, but with their help, you can try to restore at least some of your encrypted files.
Step 1: Boot Your PC In Safe Mode to isolate and remove Format Virus
Step 2: Uninstall Format Virus and related malware 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.
Step 3: Clean any registries, created by Format Virus on your computer.
The usually targeted registries of Windows machines are the following:
You can access them by opening the Windows registry editor and deleting any values, created by Format Virus there. This can happen by following the steps underneath:
Step 4: Scan for Format Virus with SpyHunter Anti-Malware Tool
Ransomware Automatic Removal - Video Guide
Step 5 (Optional): Try to Restore Files Encrypted by Format Virus.
Ransomware infections and Format 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.
Simply click on the link and on the website menus on the top, choose Data Recovery - Data Recovery Wizard for Windows or Mac (depending on your OS), and then download and run the tool.
Format Virus FAQ
What is Format Virus Ransomware?
Format 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 algorithms 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.
Can Format Virus Ransomware Damage My Computer?
Yes, ransomware can damage your computer. Ransomware is a malicious software that is designed to block access to your computer or files until a ransom is paid. It can encrypt your files and make them inaccessible, preventing you from using your computer or accessing your data. Ransomware can also damage your system, corrupt data and delete files, resulting in the permanent loss of important files.
Should I Ignore Ransomware, like Format Virus?
No, you should never ignore ransomware. Ransomware can encrypt your data and block access to your computer, making it impossible to access your files until you pay a ransom. Ignoring ransomware could lead to the permanent loss of your data, as well as the potential for the ransomware to spread to other computers on your network. Additionally, paying the ransom does not guarantee that your data will be recovered. The best way to protect yourself is to invest in robust cyber security measures, such as backup solutions and anti-malware software.
How Does Format Virus Ransomware Infect My Computer?
Via several ways.Format Virus Ransomware infects computers by being sent via phishing emails, 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 Format 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 .Format Virus files?
You can't. At this point, the .Format Virus files are encrypted. You can only open them once they are decrypted.
What to Do If Ransomware Decryptor Does Not Work?
Do not panic, and backup the files. If a decryptor did not decrypt your .Format Virus files successfully, then do not despair, because this virus is still new.
One way to restore files, encrypted by Format Virus ransomware is to use a decryptor for it. But since it's a new virus, be 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.
Can I Restore ".Format 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 .Format Virus files.
These methods are in no way 100% guaranteed 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 Format 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 program. It will scan for and locate Format Virus ransomware and then remove it without causing any additional harm to your important .Format Virus files.
Also, keep in mind that viruses like Format Virus ransomware also install Trojans and keyloggers that can steal your passwords and accounts. Scanning your computer with 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 I Cannot Recover Ransomware Encrypted Files?
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.
How to Report Ransomware to Authorities?
In case your computer got infected with a ransomware infection, you can report it to the local Police departments. It can help authorities worldwide track and determine the perpetrators behind the virus that has infected your computer. Below, we have prepared a list with government websites, where you can file a report in case you are a victim of a cybercrime:
Cyber-security authorities, responsible for handling ransomware attack reports in different regions all over the world:
Germany - Offizielles Portal der deutschen Polizei
United States - IC3 Internet Crime Complaint Centre
United Kingdom - Action Fraud Police
France - Ministère de l'Intérieur
Italy - Polizia Di Stato
Spain - Policía Nacional
Netherlands - Politie
Poland - Policja
Portugal - Polícia Judiciária
Greece - Cyber Crime Unit (Hellenic Police)
India - Mumbai Police - CyberCrime Investigation Cell
Australia - Australian High Tech Crime Center
Reports may be responded to in different timeframes, depending on your local authorities.
Can You Prevent Format Virus Ransomware from Encrypting Your Files?
Yes, you can prevent ransomware. The best way to do this is to ensure your computer system is updated with the latest security patches, use a reputable anti-malware program and firewall, backup your important files frequently, and avoid clicking on malicious links or downloading unknown files. In addition, it is also important to keep your passwords secure and to avoid visiting websites or downloading applications from untrusted sources. Finally, ensure you have adequate backup and recovery procedures in place to restore your system to its pre-attack state, should a ransomware attack occur.
Can Format Virus Ransomware Steal Your Data?
Yes, in most cases ransomware will steal your information. It is a form of malware that steals data from a user's computer, encrypts it, and then demands a ransom in order to decrypt it. In many cases, the malware authors or attackers will threaten to delete the data or publish it online unless the ransom is paid. This means that if a user is infected with ransomware, their data can be stolen and held for ransom. It is important to be aware of this threat and take precautions to protect yourself and your data.
Can Ransomware Affect WiFi?
Yes, ransomware can affect WiFi networks, as malicious actors can use it to gain control of the network, steal confidential data, and lock out users. If a ransomware attack is successful, it could lead to a loss of service and/or data, and in some cases, financial losses.
Should I Pay Ransomware?
No, you should not pay ransomware extortionists. Paying them only encourages criminals and does not guarantee that the files or data will be restored. The better approach is to have a secure backup of important data and be vigilant about security in the first place.
What Happens If I Don't Pay Ransom?
If you don't pay the ransom, the hackers may still have access to your computer, data, or files and may continue to threaten to expose or delete them, or even to use them to commit cybercrimes. In some cases, they may even continue to demand additional ransom payments.
Why Is the Ransom Paid in Crypto?
Cryptocurrency is a secure and untraceable form of payment, making it the ideal choice for ransom payments. It is difficult to trace, and the transactions are almost instantaneous. This means it is nearly impossible for authorities to track the payment and recover the money.
Can Ransomware Be Detected?
Yes, ransomware can be detected. Anti-malware software and other advanced security tools can detect ransomware and alert the user when it is present on a machine. It is important to stay up-to-date on the latest security measures and to keep security software updated to ensure ransomware can be detected and prevented.
Do Ransomware Criminals Get Caught?
Yes, ransomware criminals do get caught. Law enforcement agencies, such as the FBI, have been successful in tracking down and prosecuting ransomware criminals in the US and other countries. As ransomware threats continue to increase, so does the enforcement activity.
About the Format Virus Research
The content we publish on SensorsTechForum.com, this Format Virus how-to removal guide included, is the outcome of extensive research, hard work and our team’s devotion to help you remove the specific malware and restore your encrypted files.
How did we conduct the research on this ransomware?
Our research is based on an independent investigation. We are in contact with independent security researchers, and as such, we receive daily updates on the latest malware and ransomware definitions.
To better understand the ransomware threat, please refer to the following articles which provide knowledgeable details.
1. How to Recognize Spam Emails with Ransomware
2. How Does Ransomware Encryption Work?
3. How to Decrypt Ransomware Files
4. Ransomware Getting Greedier and Bigger, Attacks Increase by 40%
5. 1 in 5 Americans Victim of Ransomware
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.