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Remove GreyStars Virus – Restore Encrypted Files by the Ransomware

The Greystars virus is a dangerous ransomware threat that has been identified in a small attack campaign. It appears that it follows the behavior tactics of GandCrab and Sequre. Its ransomware engine uses a two cipher algorithms – AES and RSA to encrypt the target data. Hackers demand $2,029.26 in Bitcoin for files recovery. The extortion happens via ransom note file called How-To-Recover-Your-Files.html

Threat Summary

Name Greystars
Type Ransomware, Cryptovirus
Short Description The ransomware encrypts sensitive information on your computer system with the .greystars@protonmail.com or .alanwalkergod@protonmail.com extensions and demands a ransom to be paid to allegedly recover them.
Symptoms The ransomware will encrypt your files with a combination of two strong encryption algorithms.
Distribution Method Spam Emails, Email Attachments
Detection Tool See If Your System Has Been Affected by malware


Malware Removal Tool

User Experience Join Our Forum to Discuss Greystars.
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.

Greystars Virus – Distribution Ways

The Greystars virus is distributed using the most common ranasomware spread tactics. The detected initial attack wave is limited in size and does not give out details about the primary method. We presume that the hackers may attempt to use multiple strategies at once.

A preferred method is the use of email spam messages that utilize various social engineering tricks. They attempt to coerce the target users into downloading and running the dangerous files. Using harvested text and graphics taken from well-known Internet services. As such the malware files can be either hyperlinked or attached to the email messages. They are also used to deliver payloads. Two popular examples are the following:

  • Software Installers — The Greystars virus can be embedded in application setup files. The criminals typically choose apps such as utilities, photo editing software, productivity suites or computer games.
  • Documents — The dangerous code can be embedded in documents of all types: spreadsheets, text files or presentations. When they are opened by the victims a message appears that prompts the users to enable the built-in scripts (macros). When this is done the virus is downloaded from a hacker-controlled site and started on the victim machine.

In addition, the Greystars virus can be delivered to legitimate sites via malware scripts: pop-ups, banners, redirects. In some cases threats like this one can propagate across ad and affiliate networks.

Another tactic that can be employed is the use of browser hijackers. They are dangerous browser-based plugins that are malicious in nature and seek to manipulate the user’s default settings. The end goals are to redirect the victims to a specific site and also institute various system changes, including the deployment of the Greystars virus.

Greystars Ransomware Virus – In-Depth Analysis (Update September 2019)

The Greystars virus is a typical ransomware strain that contains behavior tactics that is similar to both Sequre and the GandCrab family of threats. It is possible that it might contain code from them or is merely a copy of their behavior.

The infections can begin with an information gathering component that is programmed to harvest strings. They can be classified into two main categories:

  • Personal Data — It includes information related to the victim’s identity. The strings include their name, address, interests, location, passwords and account credentials.
  • Analytics Metrics — The Greystars virus can use the built-in engine in order to harvest data that can be used for campaign metrics. Examples include the installed hardware components and certain values from the operating system.

The modular engine can be customized with additional modules such as a stealth protection. It can make use of the harvested data by looking out for specific applications that can interfere with the Greystars virus executable. Examples include anti-virus software, sandbox environments and virtual machine hosts. Advanced configurations of it can be configured to delete itself if it is not able to execute this step.

Further changes include system changes that can be different according to the campaigns. Many viruses make changes to the Windows Registry by manipulating the strings of user-installed applications or the operating system itself. As a result, certain functions and service may work properly or not start at all. Overall system performance may degrade severely. The malware engine associated with the Greystaras virus can also affect the Startup options by removing the possibility to enter into the recovery menu. The virus engine can be programmed into starting every time the computer runs.

The security analysis reveals that a network connection is instituted. It is used by the hackers to serve as a Trojan like instance by spying on the victims in real time. The hacker operators can also use it to take over control of the affected computers. Like other similar threats, this function can be used to drop additional threats. TheGreystars virus engine has also been found to delete the Windows backup files and the Shadow Volume Data. This makes file recovery very difficult without the use of a professional-grade solution.

Greystars Virus – Encryption Process

Once all components have executed in the prescribed order the ransomare module. It uses a custom AES cipher which can completely overwrite the victim’s data. Some of the latest variants of Greystars are updated to transform target files with a combination of two strong cipher algorithms – AES and RSA.

Like other similar cases Greystars ransomware uses a built-in list of target file type extensions that are due to be encrypted. An example list targets the following data types:

  • Archives
  • Backups
  • Databases
  • Images
  • Music
  • Videos

As a consequence the victim files are renamed with a marker extension greystars@protonmail.com. The ransomware note is written in a file called RECOVER-YOUR-FILES.HTML which reads the following message:

‘All your files have been encrypted!
How to recover your files?
All your files have been encrypted by RSA and AES due to a security problem on your PC.
You have to pay for decryption of Bitcoins.
If you want to restore them.You must send 0.08 bitcoin to my bitcoins address 1JnRP8UsTDLRjzCTaJXYPr5oYkKc7bLY2Q.
After payment, we will send you the decryption tool that will decrypt all your files.
Please write us to the email greystars@protonmail.com.
Please write the decrypt code in the title of your email message. And don’t forgot to write the transfer accounts info.
How to obtain Bitcoins?
The easiest way to buy bitcoins is LocalBitcoins site.You have to register.Click “Buy Bitcoins.”And select the seller by payment method and price.
The Web Site address is https://localbitcoins.com/,or other websites.
1.Do not rename encrypted files.
2.Do not try to decrypt your data using third party software.It may cause permanent data loss.’

According to the latest information about Greystars, new variants of the ransomware append the extension .alanwalkergod@protonmail.com to the names of corrupted files. Additionally, the threat drops the ransom message How-To-Recover-Your-Files.html which has the following content:

All your files have been encrypted !
How to recover your files?
All your files have been encrypted by RSA and AES due to a security problem on your PC.You have to pay for decryption by Bitcoin.
If you want to restore them.You must send 0.2 bitcoin to my bitcoin address : 12ZgC96U4X3ytceFfAaTEH9p5YCcvypLcD .
After payment we will send you the decryption tool that will decrypt all your files.
Please write us to the email : alanwalkergod@protonmail.com.
Your personal decrypt code is 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
Please write the personal decrypt code in the text of your email message .And don’t forgot to write or paste the transfer accounts info.
How to obtain Bitcoins?
The easiest way to buy bitcoins is LocalBitcoins site.You have to register.Click “Buy bitcoins”.And select the seller by payment method and price.
The Web Site address is https://localbitcoins.com/,or other websites.
1.Do not rename encrypted files.
2.Do not try to decrypt your data using third party software.It may cause permanent data loss.


Hackers attempt to blacmkail victims into paying a ransom of 0.2 Bitcoin for encrypted files recovery. At the moment of writting this removal guide 0.2 Bitcoin equal to $2,029.26. Transferring hackers the ransom is not recommended. This action does not guarantee the recovery of corrupted files. There are some alternative data revoery methods that may be efficient. Some of these methods are mentioned in the guide that follows.

Remove Greystars Virus and Restore .Greystars Files

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

Martin Beltov

Martin graduated with a degree in Publishing from Sofia University. As a cyber security enthusiast he enjoys writing about the latest threats and mechanisms of intrusion.

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Step 1: Scan for Greystars 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.

scan for and delete ransomware virus step 2

3. After the update process has finished, click on the 'Malware/PC Scan' tab. A new window will appear. Click on 'Start Scan'.

scan for and delete ransomware virus step 3

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.

scan for and delete ransomware virus step 4

If any threats have been removed, it is highly recommended to restart your PC.

Ransomware Automatic Removal - Video Guide

Step 2: Uninstall Greystars 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. To do that:

1. Hold the Windows Logo Button and "R" on your keyboard. A Pop-up window will appear.
delete ransomware from windows step 1

2. In the field type in "appwiz.cpl" and press ENTER.
delete ransomware from windows step 2

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"
delete ransomware from windows step 3Follow the instructions above and you will successfully delete most unwanted and malicious programs.

Step 3: Clean any registries, created by Greystars 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 Greystars there. This can happen by following the steps underneath:

1. Open the Run Window again, type "regedit" and click OK.
delete ransomware virus registries step 1

2. When you open it, you can freely navigate to the Run and RunOnce keys, whose locations are shown above.
delete ransomware virus registries step 2

3. You can remove the value of the virus by right-clicking on it and removing it.
delete ransomware virus registries step 3 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.

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: Boot Your PC In Safe Mode to isolate and remove Greystars


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.
remove ransomware in safe mode step 1

2. The "Run" Window will appear. In it, type "msconfig" and click OK.
remove ransomware in safe mode step 2

3. Go to the "Boot" tab. There select "Safe Boot" and then click "Apply" and "OK".
remove ransomware in safe mode step 3
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.
remove ransomware in safe mode step 4

5. You can recognise Safe Mode by the words written on the corners of your screen.
remove ransomware in safe mode step 5

Step 5: Try to Restore Files Encrypted by Greystars.

Method 1: Use STOP Decrypter by Emsisoft.

Not all variants of this ransomware can be decrypted for free, but we have added the decryptor used by researchers that is often updated with the variants which become eventually decrypted. You can try and decrypt your files using the instructions below, but if they do not work, then unfortunately your variant of the ransomware virus is not decryptable.

Follow the instructions below to use the Emsisoft decrypter and decrypt your files for free. You can download the Emsisoft decryption tool linked here and then follow the steps provided below:

1 Right-click on the decrypter and click on Run as Administrator as shown below:

stop ransomware decryptor step 1

2. Agree with the license terms:

stop ransomware decryptor step 2

3. Click on "Add Folder" and then add the folders where you want files decrypted as shown underneath:

stop ransomware decryptor step 3

4. Click on "Decrypt" and wait for your files to be decoded.

stop ransomware decryptor step 4

Note: Credit for the decryptor goes to Emsisoft researchers who have made the breakthrough with this virus.

Method 2: Use data recovery software

Ransomware infections and Greystars 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 recommended Data Recovery software by clicking on the link underneath:

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.


What is Greystars Ransomware?

Greystars 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.

What Does Greystars Ransomware Do?

Ransomware in general is a malicious software that is designed to block access to your computer or files until a ransom is paid.

Ransomware viruses can also damage your system, corrupt data and delete files, resulting in the permanent loss of important files.

How Does Greystars Infect?

Via several ways.Greystars 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.

Another way you may become a victim of Greystars 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 .Greystars files?

You can't without a decryptor. At this point, the .Greystars files are encrypted. You can only open them once they are decrypted using a specific decryption key for the particular algorithm.

What to Do If a Decryptor Does Not Work?

Do not panic, and backup the files. If a decryptor did not decrypt your .Greystars files successfully, then do not despair, because this virus is still new.

Can I Restore ".Greystars" Files?

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

Can I 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 Stop 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.

Can Greystars 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.

Can Ransomware Infect WiFi?

Yes, ransomware can infect 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 use them to commit cybercrimes. In some cases, they may even continue to demand additional ransom payments.

Can a Ransomware Attack 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, Interpol and others 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 Greystars Research

The content we publish on SensorsTechForum.com, this Greystars 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.

Furthermore, the research behind the Greystars ransomware threat is backed with VirusTotal and the NoMoreRansom project.

To better understand the ransomware threat, please refer to the following articles which provide knowledgeable details.

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.

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