THREAT REMOVAL

Remove GoldenEye Ransomware Virus and Decrypt Encrypted Hard Disks

goldeneye-ransomware-logo-sensorstechforum-malwareNew variant of Petya and Mischa ransomware has popped out in the open, called GoldenEye ransomware. The virus encrypts hard drives, just like the previous variants did. Many believe it is an improved version of Mischa and Petya ransomware since both viruses were decrypted back In August. We have decided to take a look at how GoldenEye Ransomware performs an attack on a hard drive and explain a possible solution to the decryption of drives encrypted by this virus. In case your HDD or SSD have been encrypted by the GoldenEye ransowmare, we strongly suggest that you read the following article and learn more about it and methods to get access back to your hard drive.

Update July 2017: A new GoldenEye Petya ransomware variant has been detected to be associated with the latest June ransomware outbreak. The virus has little modifications from the original one. More information can be found on this web link.

Threat Summary

NameGoldenEye
TypeRansomware
Short DescriptionMischa ransomware encrypts the MBR. If that fails, GoldenEye ransomware may encrypt the files on the compromised device’s drive.
SymptomsThe ransomware displays a note begging with “You became victim of the GOLDENEYE RANSOMWARE!”.
Distribution MethodSpam Emails, Email Attachments, Executable Files
Detection Tool See If Your System Has Been Affected by malware

Download

Malware Removal Tool

User ExperienceJoin Our Forum to Discuss GoldenEye.
Data Recovery ToolWindows 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.

GoldenEye Ransomware – Technical Analysis

Similar to Petya and Mischa viruses, this one is also from the ransomware kind, meaning that it extorts victims to conduct an online payment in return for which cyber-criminals will grant access to the computer. In order for this to be accomplished, exploit kits and .JS (javascript source code) may be used in an obfuscated manner. These scripts will make sure that the computer attacked is infected successfully. Here is one example of a phishing e-mail replicating such malicious script as a form of attachment:

stf-goldeneye-ransomware-virus-hdd-encrypted-file-extension-spam-email-amazon-spoof-zip-js-payload-script-file-attached

As soon as the user opens the attachment, the ransomware may immediately cause a system restart by killing vital tasks. In the same time it may modify registry entries, more specifically firmware settings, so that it boots itself on system startup. As soon as the virus has booted, it pretends to be a hard drive repair sequence, providing this fake screen:

ransomware-repair-disk-sensorstechforum

What the GoldenEye Ransomware actually does in this situation is that it performs encryption on the MBR of the drive and after it is complete it sets it’s conventional lockscreen with the “Press Any Key” function similar to the Petya and Mischa viruses:

goldeneye-ransowmare-locked-hdd-sensorstechforum

If the user presses any key he is led to a screen that has the ransom note of GoldenEye Ransomware, which is the following:

goldeneye-ransowmare-sensorstechforum

Rasnom note screen's text:

“You became victim of the GOLDENEYE RANSOMWARE!
The harddisks of your computer have been encrypted with an military grade encryption algorithm. There is no way to restore your data without a special key. You can purchase this key on the darknet page shown in step 2.
To purchase your key and restore your data, please follow these three easy steps:
1. Download the Tor Browser at https://www.torproject.org/. If you need help, please google for “access onion page”.
2. Visit one of the following pages with the Tor Browser:{web links}
3. Enter your personal decryption code there:
4. If you already purchase your key, please enter it below.”

After the victim opens the web links provided, he is led to GoldenEye ransomware’s personal web page, which has instructions to enter a personal decryption key provided previously in the lockscreen for identification:

goldeneye-ransowmare-payment-page-sensorstechforum

Step 1 page's text:

“Step 1: Enter your personal identifier
First you have to enter your personal identifier. This code contains important informations for the decryption process. It’s important that you enter it exactly like shown on the encrypted computer. The code contains a checksum, which prevents typos and ensures a successfull decryption.
The personal identifier is 96 characters long (seperated every 6 characters with a “-“) and can be found directly on the encryption screen on the affected computer.
Enter your identifier:”

After this, the ransomware requests from the user to pay in Bitcoin, providing additional payment instructions in a “Step 2” page:

goldeneye-ransowmare-demand-1-btc-sensorstechforum

Step 2 page's text:

Step 2: Purchase Bitcoins:Your decryption key can only be purchased with Bitcoins. Bitcoin is a digital currency which can be exchanged from nearly every normal currency. There are a lot of exchange platforms on the internet, most of them are specialized on a single currency. Today buying bitcoins online is very easy and it’s getting simpler every day!
You have to purchase at least the amount shown below. It is recommended to purchase a bit more, to ensure a successfull payment. An extra of 2% should be enough. If you already own enough Bitcoins, you could skip this step.
Demand:
1.36772282 Bitcoins
The following exchanges and marketplaces are recommended:
http://www.bitcoin.de – Bank Wire FAST!
http://www.btcdirect.eu – Sofort Banking, Giropay, Bank Wire, Mastercard and Visa
http://www.localbitcoins.com – Bank Wire and Cash
http://www.coincafe.com – Instant in NYC, Bank Wire and Mail Cash, Bank Wire and Credit Card
Any kind of Bitcoin-Wallet isn’t required, you can transfer the purchased bitcoins directly to the payment address. If you want create a wallet anyway, http://www.blockchain.com is recommended.
If you successfull bought the right amount of Bitcoins, click “Next” for the next step.”

After this has been performed, the GoldenEye ransomware provides a BitCoin address for payment.

bitcoin-transaction-petya-ransomware-goldeneye-sensorstechforum-com

Step 3 page's text:

“Step 3: Do a bitcoin transaction
Now you have to send your purchased Bitcoins to the payment address. If you just purchased Bitcoins on a exchange or marketplace site, look for a section called “Withdraw” and enter the details shown below. If you already own Bitcoins, send the right amount to the payment address shown below, directly from the wallet you use.
If you have any problems with the transaction, feel free to contact our Support.
Address:
14FLqrYVveGEdW6LYTNcCe1FGXdRsf3gT4
After you made the payment transaction, you have to wait until we manually confirm it. This process usually takes a few hours. In some rare cases some payments need more time to get confirmed. Please refresh this page to see if your payment got confirmed.”

The cyber-criminals go as far as having a “customer support” for the victims of the virus:

goldeneye-petya-mischa-ransomware-payment-page-customer-support

So, overall and all, the virus is now updated and besides fixes in the malware, the crooks may have also fixed the encryption algorithm, making it more difficult to recover drives. Not only this, but GoldenEye ransomware even has captcha identification on their website, suggesting that this is a very well organized virus by several individuals. Whatever the case may be, we urge you not to pay any ransom to the cyber-criminals behind GoldenEye Ransomware and to focus on restoring your drive yourself. One method that can help you with cleaning your computer and decrypting your hard drive is to try and use the instructions below. They are not 100% guarantee your drive will be encrypted, but since GoldenEye is a variant of Petya and Mischa, they just might work. Also, bear in mind that if you will try a third-party decryptor if you follow the instructions below and the procedure may be a risk for your files so attempt them at your own responsibility. Good Luck and give us a feedback in the comment section below if you succeeded!

GoldenEye Ransomware – Alternative Decryption Instructions

Preparation Phase

To try decrypting drives by GoldenEye ransomware, you will need the tools to work with first:

  • A screwdriver, corresponding to your desktop/laptop.
  • A secure computer that is scanned for malware and cleaned and has a proper ransomware protection.
  • Patience.

First of all, you should choose a safe computer from which to scan your files to be a powerful Windows machine which is also secured. If you are not sure that a computer you will be using is secured enough or not we recommend following these steps to secure it:

1. Download an advanced malware protection program.

Spy Hunter scanner will only detect the threat. If you want the threat to be automatically removed, you need to purchase the full version of the anti-malware tool.Find Out More About SpyHunter Anti-Malware Tool / How to Uninstall SpyHunter
2. Download a relevant ransomware protection program.
3. Download a relevant cloud backup program that backups copies of your files on a secure server and even if your computer is affected you will stay protected. For more information you can also check another methods to safely store your data here.

After securing the test PC, you should prepare it for the decryption process which will most likely be lengthy. This is why we recommend changing the power settings so that your decryption computer does not automatically hibernate or sleep while left decrypting the drive.

Step 1: Click on the battery icon in your system tray (next to the digital clock) in Windows and then click on More Power Options.
Step 2:The mighty Power options menu will appear. In your power plan click on Change Plan Settings.
Step 3: In your plan’s settings make sure you set “Turn off the display” and “Put computer to sleep” to “Never” from the drop down minutes menu.
Step 4: Click on Save Changes and close it.
Decryption Phase

For the decryption process, we have outlined several often-met drive migration scenarios which can be possible between different computers:

  • From Laptop to Laptop with no extra components.
  • From Desktop to Desktop with no extra components.
  • From Laptop to Desktop with a SATA cable if the Desktop has an outdated chipset.
  • From Desktop to Laptop with a SATA cable if the Laptop has a newer chipset.

To simplify the process, we recommend you to choose machines that do not require any extra cables or components for the drive to run on them. In case you do not have such possibility, we recommend using an external SATA-USB adapter. Let’s begin!

Decryption Phase

Step 1: Remove battery and power from your laptop. For desktop computers, please remove eliminate the power from the contact.

Step 2: Using the screwdriver, unscrew the case which carries the hard drive. For laptops, you should follow these steps:

sensorstechforum-laptop-remove-bolts-sensorstechforum

Step 3: Remove the hard drive again with the screwdriver. It will look similar to the one on the picture below:

hard-drive-removal-sensorstechforum

Step 4: Plug-in the hard drive on a secure computer which has an internet connection and Windows installed and screw it in firmly. If connected directly, the hard drive should be detected by the OS as a separate partition, similar to the picture below:

1-hard-drive-detected-sensorstechforum-petya-ransowmare

Step 5: Download and open the archive of Petya Sector Extractor by Fabian Wosar by clicking on the button below:


2-petya-extractor-open-sensorstechforum

Step 6: Open Petya Sector Extractor’s archive and extract it on your desktop or anywhere you find comfortable to use it:

3-petya-extractor-extract-petya-ransowmare-sensorstechforum

Step 7: Open Petya Sector Extractor as an administrator. You should see similar to the following interface, but with a detected drive if you connected it successfully:

4-petya-sector-extractor-infected-drives-sensorstechforum

Step 8: In case the Petya Sector Extractor automatically detects a drive, you will see the picture below. From it, click on the “Copy Sector” button.

petya-extractor-found-drive-sensorstechforum

Step 9: After copying the sector go to the following website:

Petya-pay-no-ransom

From there, paste the sector in the field marked in red square in the picture below (It should say “Base64 encoded 512 bytes verification data”):

5-copy-one-goes-here-senosrstechforum

Step 10: Repeat the same process by clicking on the button “Copy Nonce” next to it and paste it in the field marked in red below:

6-copy-two-nonce-goes-here-sensorstechforum

Step 11: After you have copied and pasted both codes, click on the Submit button. The process of generating a password may take some time but will drop a decryption key at the bottom:

ransomware-password-petya-key-decrypted-sensorstechforumScreenshot Source: Bleeping Computer

Final Step 12: Now all you have to do is copy the key(password), insert the encrypted drive back into the infected computer and when you see Petya’s lock screen, press any key and in the screen that will appear after that (in the picture below), enter the password for decryption(in the green square of the picture below). After this, everything should be decoded.

goldeneye-ransowmare-sensorstechforum-recovered

GoldenEye Ransomware – Conclusion

This tutorial may not be successful for Petya’s younger sisters Mischa and GoldenEye. But it is important to still attempt ant try using those instructions, after which leaving us a comment below if this has worked out for you. But under any circumstances we advise you NOT to pay any BitCoins to the creators of these viruses, because they will make them even more difficult to be decrypted next time they infect users. White waiting for a decryptor which if released will be linked in this article, you may want to read the following pieces on how to protect yourself from ransomware viruses:

How to Properly Open .JS Files (JavaScript Hidden Virus)
Sensorstechforum’s Ransomware Protection Tips
Safely Securing Your Data in The Future

Avatar

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 GoldenEye from Windows.


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

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 GoldenEye 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 GoldenEye 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 GoldenEye 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 GoldenEye 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 GoldenEye.

Ransomware infections and GoldenEye 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 GoldenEye from Mac OS X.


Step 1: Uninstall GoldenEye 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 GoldenEye:

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 GoldenEye. 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 GoldenEye. 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 GoldenEye 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 GoldenEye. 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 malware from your Mac

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


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

Ransomware infections and GoldenEye 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.


GoldenEye FAQ

What is GoldenEye ransomware and how does it work?

GoldenEye 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 GoldenEye ransomware infect my computer?

Via several ways.GoldenEye 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 GoldenEye 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 .GoldenEye files?

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

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

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

Also, keep in mind that viruses like GoldenEye 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.

1 Comment

  1. Avatarmanu_e67

    hello are you idea if the disk is a disk of NAS ?
    Notebook has infected NAS, you think notebook is master of NAS ?
    with you method , i ve test NAS but software no disk infected…
    thanks a lot

    Reply

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