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Remove HydraCrypt Ransomware and Restore ID Encrypted Files

Infections have arisen by a crypto-virus known to encrypt user files with the HydraCrypt extension and a random id. The virus is very dangerous since it may encrypt all of the user files as soon as its activated and may even remove user backups as well. Furthermore, the crypto-malware may also be obfuscated from some antivirus programs. All users who have been affected should use an advanced anti-malware scanner to remove the malicious files and clean up the registry entries permanently.

NameHydraCrypt
TypeRansomware
Short DescriptionEncrypts user files, extorting for ransom money in return for the safe decryption of the data.
SymptomsThe user may witness his files to be come encrypted with the hydracrypt_ID_{random identifier} extension
Distribution MethodVia malicious email attachments or web links.
Detection ToolDownload Malware Removal Tool, to See If Your System Has Been Affected by HydraCrypt
User ExperienceJoin our forum to follow the discussion about HydraCrypt.
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.
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.

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HydraCrypt Ransomware – How Did I Get It

The crypto-malware is reported to be distributed via an exploit kit. Such kits are usually either embedded in malicious archives uploaded as email attachments or online downloads. The ransomware may also be distributed via malicious links sent by referral spam online such as the Snip(.)to spam . Such web links may also be featured in emails that are portrayed as a service the user is using with his e-mail (PayPal, a game or online retailer sites). There is also the possibility of this ransomware coming onto the user PC via a browser redirect caused by adware such as DNS Unlocker, for example.

HydraCrypt Ransomware – What Does It Do


The ransomware uses the following payload to infect users:

File extension: .exe
Approximate size: 164.0 KB ( 167,936 bytes )
MD5 hash: 08b304d01220f9de63244b4666621bba
SHA1 hash: b7f9dd8ee3434b35fbb3395f69ff43fd5112a0c6
SHA256 hash: afd3b729cf99fb9ea441f42862a4835d1d6eeb36ee535f9b206e3a00382c972e

Once it has been activated onto the user PC, the ransomware may drop files of the following types:

.exe, .tmp, .dll, .bat


The files may or may not contain random names, and they could be located in any of the following system folders:

%temp%
%System%
%Application Data%
%Users%

After the files have been dropped the ransomware may set a registry entry for the malicious files to run upon Windows startup in:

“HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run”

After this the ransomware encrypts the user’s files. It looks for files with the most commonly used file extensions, for example:

.DOC .DOCX .CSV .DAT .PPS .PPT .PPTX .M4A .MID .MP3 .MPA .WAV .WMA .3G2 .3GP .ASF .AVI .FLV .M4V .MOV .MP4 .MPG .BMP .DDS .GIF .JPG .PNG .PSD .TIFF .YUV .XLR .XLS .XLSX .DWG .DXF .HTM .HTML .JS .JSP .7Z .CBR .GZ .PKG .RAR .BIN .CUE .DMG .ISO

After the encryption is complete for a very short time, the ransomware removes the default file icon and sets an icon that is usually used when Windows files are damaged, incomplete or corrupt. Furthermore, it uses the .hydracrypt file extension along with a random id, after the files, for example:

New Microsoft Word Document.docx.hydracrypt_ID_128812e821e2

Upon trying to open the files, the user may either encounter the typical “file corrupt” error or the following window:

hydracrypt-file-error-sensorstechforum

After it encrypts the user files, the ransomware creates a .TXT file that is named README_DECRYPT_HYDRA_ID_{Random digits and letters}. The text states the following message:

“Attention!
All your files and documents were encrypted!
Encryption was made with a special crypto-code!
There is NO CHANCE to decrypt it without our special software and your unique private key!
To buy your software You need to contact us by EMAIL:
1)XHELPER@DR.COM
2)AHELPER@DR.COM
Your email text should contain your unique ID number and one of your encrypted file.
We will decrypt one of your file for FREE! It’s your guarantee!
Remember! Your time has a limit: 72 hour.
If You will not send any email We will turn on a sanctions:
1)Your sofware’s price will be higher
2)Your unique private key will be destroyed (After that your files will stay encrypted forever)
3)Your private info, files, documents will be sold on the Dark Markets
Attention: All your attempts to decrypt your PC without our software can destroy or damage your files!
ID:{Random digits and letters}”

This crypto-malware even features special poorly written message like the one above to further “assist” infected users with their “situation”. What is new is that the cyber criminals threaten to leak the information on the computer to the Dark Markets. However, all users who have this malware should immediately take actions against it instead of complying to the cyber-criminals’ scareware messages.

Remove HydraCrypt Ransomware

To erase this devastating crypto-malware completely without damaging your encrypted files any further, you should first disconnect your computer from the web and copy your files to an external drive. After this, we strongly advise following the step-by-step instructions below to locate all objects associated with the ransomware and delete them.

1. Boot Your PC In Safe Mode to isolate and remove HydraCrypt

1. Boot Your PC Into Safe Mode

1. For Windows 7,XP and Vista. 2. For Windows 8, 8.1 and 10.

For Windows XP, Vista, 7 systems:

1. Remove all CDs and DVDs, and then Restart your PC from the “Start” menu.
2. Select one of the two options provided below:

For PCs with a single operating system: Press “F8” repeatedly after the first boot screen shows up during the restart of your computer. In case the Windows logo appears on the screen, you have to repeat the same task again.

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For PCs with multiple operating systems: Тhe arrow keys will help you select the operating system you prefer to start in Safe Mode. Press “F8” just as described for a single operating system.

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3. As the “Advanced Boot Options” screen appears, select the Safe Mode option you want using the arrow keys. As you make your selection, press “Enter“.

4. Log on to your computer using your administrator account

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While your computer is in Safe Mode, the words “Safe Mode” will appear in all four corners of your screen.

Step 1: Open the Start Menu

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Step 2: Whilst holding down Shift button, click on Power and then click on Restart.
Step 3: After reboot, the aftermentioned menu will appear. From there you should choose Troubleshoot.

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Step 4: You will see the Troubleshoot menu. From this menu you can choose Advanced Options.

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Step 5: After the Advanced Options menu appears, click on Startup Settings.

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Step 6: Click on Restart.
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Step 7: A menu will appear upon reboot. You should choose Safe Mode by pressing its corresponding number and the machine will restart.

2. Remove HydraCrypt with SpyHunter Anti-Malware Tool

2. Remove HydraCrypt with SpyHunter Anti-Malware Tool

1. Install SpyHunter to scan for and remove HydraCrypt.2. Scan with SpyHunter to Detect and Remove HydraCrypt.
Step 1:Click on the “Download” button to proceed to SpyHunter’s download page.

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It is highly 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.

Step 2: Guide yourself by the download instructions provided for each browser.
Step 3: After you have installed SpyHunter, wait for it to automatically update.

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Step1: After the update process has finished, click on the ‘Scan Computer Now’ button.
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Step2: After SpyHunter has finished scanning your PC for any HydraCrypt files, click on the ‘Fix Threats’ button to remove them automatically and permanently.
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Step3: Once the intrusions on your PC have been removed, it is highly recommended to restart it.

3. Back up your data to secure it against infections and file encryption by HydraCrypt in the future

3. Back up your data to secure it against attacks in the future

IMPORTANT! Before reading the Windows backup instructions, we highly recommend to back up your data automatically with cloud backup and insure it against any type of data loss on your device, even the most severe. We recommend reading more about and downloading SOS Online Backup .

To back up your files via Windows and prevent any future intrusions, follow these instructions::

1. For Windows 7 and earlier 1. For Windows 8, 8.1 and 10 1. Enabling the Windows Defense Feature (Previous Versions)

1-Click on Windows Start Menu
backup-1
2-Type Backup And Restore
3-Open it and click on Set Up Backup
w7-backup3
4-A window will appear asking you where to set up backup. You should have a flash drive or an external hard drive. Mark it by clicking on it with your mouse then click on Next.
backup-3
5-On the next window, the system will ask you what do you want to backup. Choose the ‘Let Me Choose’ option and then click on Next.
backup-4
6-Click on ‘Save settings and run backup’ on the next window in order to protect your files from possible attacks by HydraCrypt.
backup-5

1-Press Windows button + R
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2-In the window type ‘filehistory’ and press Enter
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3-A File History window will appear. Click on ‘Configure file history settings’
filehistory-3
4-The configuration menu for File History will appear. Click on ‘Turn On’. After its on, click on Select Drive in order to select the backup drive. It is recommended to choose an external HDD, SSD or a USB stick whose memory capacity is corresponding to the size of the files you want to backup.
filehistory-4
5-Select the drive then click on ‘Ok’ in order to set up file backup and protect yourself from HydraCrypt.

1- Press Windows button + R keys.
sysdm
2- A run windows should appear. In it type ‘sysdm.cpl’ and then click on Run.
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3- A System Properties windows should appear. In it choose System Protection.
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5- Click on Turn on system protection and select the size on the hard disk you want to utilize for system protection.
6- Click on Ok and you should see an indication in Protection settings that the protection from HydraCrypt is on.
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Restoring a file via Windows Defense feature:
1-Right-click on the encrypted file, then choose Properties.
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2-Click on the Previous Versions tab and then mark the last version of the file.
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3-Click on Apply and Ok and the file encrypted by HydraCrypt should be restored.

4. Restore files encrypted by HydraCrypt

4.Restore Files Encrypted by HydraCrypt

Security engineers strongly advise users NOT to pay the ransom money and attempt restoring the files using other methods. Here are several suggestions:

To restore your data, your first bet is to check again for shadow copies in Windows using this software:

Shadow Explorer

If this method does not work, Kaspersky have provided a decryptors for files encrypted with the this and other encryption algorithms:

Kaspersky Decryptors

Another method of restoring your files is by trying to bring back your files via data recovery software. Here are some examples of data recovery programs:

There is also the technical option to use a network sniffer:

Another way to decrypt the files is by using a Network Sniffer to get the encryption key, while files are encrypted on your system. A Network Sniffer is a program and/or device monitoring data traveling over a network, such as its internet traffic and internet packets. If you have a sniffer set before the attack happened you might get information about the decryption key.

Optional: Using Alternative Anti-Malware Tools

Remove HydraCrypt Using Other Alternative Tools

Malwarebytes Anti-MalwareSTOPZilla Anti Malware
1. Install Malwarebytes Anti-Malware to scan for and remove HydraCrypt.
Step 1: Download Malwarebytes by clicking here.
Step 2: A pop-up window will appear. Click on the ‘Save File’ button. If it does not, click on the Download button and save it afterwards.
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Step 3: After you have downloaded the setup, simply open it.
Step 4: The installer should appear. Click on the ‘Next’ button.
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Step 5: Check the ‘I accept the agreement’ check circle if not checked if you accept it and click the ‘Next’ button once again.
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Step 6: Review and click on ‘Next’ on the following 4 steps that will appear afterwards and after that click on the ‘Install’ button.
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Step 7: After the installation process has completed click on the ‘Finish’ button and check the ‘Launch MalwareBytes AntiMalware’ check box.

2. Scan your PC with MalwareBytes to remove all HydraCrypt associated files automatically.

Step 1: Launch MalwareBytes if you havent launched it after install.
Step 2: Wait for the software to update and then click on the blue ‘Scan Now’ button. If it doesnt start updating automatically, click on the blue ‘Update Now’ highlighted text.
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Step 3: At this point, after clicking the ‘Scan Now’ button, the system should start scanning your PC. It may take a while but be patient – it is worth it.
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Step 4: After the scan has been complete and all of the threats have been identified, click on the ‘Remove Selected’ button to delete them permanently.
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Step 5: Once the scan has completed, MalwareBytes will prompt you to restart your computer. It is recommended to save all your data you are working on before restarting.

1. Download and Install STOPZilla Anti-malware to Scan for And Remove HydraCrypt.
Step 1: Download STOPZilla by clicking here.
Step 2: A pop-up window will appear. Click on the ‘Save File’ button. If it does not, click on the Download button and save it afterwards.
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Step 3: After you have downloaded the setup, simply open it.
Step 4: The installer should appear. Click on the ‘Next’ button.
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Step 5: Check the ‘I accept the agreement’ check circle if not checked if you accept it and click the ‘Next’ button once again.
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Step 6: Review and click on the ‘Install’ button.
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Step 7: After the installation process has completed click on the ‘Finish’ button.

2. Scan your PC with STOPZilla Anti Malware to remove all HydraCrypt associated files completely.
Step 1: Launch STOPZilla if you haven’t launched it after install.
Step 2: Wait for the software to automatically scan and then click on the ‘Repair Now’ button. If it does not scan automatically, click on the ‘Scan Now’ button.
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Step 3: After the removal of all threats and associated objects, you should Restart your PC.

NOTE! Substantial notification about the HydraCrypt threat: Manual removal of HydraCrypt requires interference with system files and registries. Thus, it can cause damage to your PC. Even if your computer skills are not at a professional level, don’t worry. You can do the removal yourself just in 5 minutes, using a malware removal tool.
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Ventsislav Krastev

Ventsislav has been covering the latest malware, software and newest tech developments at SensorsTechForum for 3 years now. He started out as a network administrator. Having graduated Marketing as well, Ventsislav also has passion for discovery of new shifts and innovations in cybersecurity that become game changers. After studying Value Chain Management and then Network Administration, he found his passion within cybersecrurity and is a strong believer in basic education of every user towards online safety.

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