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Remove Kovter Ransomware and Restore .Crypted Encrypted Files

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shutterstock-malwareMalware carrying the name Kovter with over three years of experience has evolved into ransomware; CheckPoint reports indicated. The malicious executables of this virus encrypt the user data with a strong encryption algorithm but what is more important is that they are obfuscated in a way that hides the malware and allows its successful implementation. All users who have been infected by Kovter, should immediately take actions towards removing the malware and decrypting their files using the instructions below.

NameKovter
TypeRansomware
Short DescriptionEncodes the user files via an obfuscated process..
SymptomsThe user may witness the files encrypted with a .crypted file extension.
Distribution MethodVia javascript, malicious macros, infected URLs.
Detection ToolDownload Malware Removal Tool, to See If Your System Has Been Affected by Kovter
User Experience Join our forum to discuss Kovter.
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.

Kovter Ransomware – How Is It Spread

To infect users successfully, the Kovter developers have developed the most cunning method to obfuscated their malicious processes. In fact, experts report that they have focused more on obfuscation than on encryption strength. In fact, the ransomware uses an obfuscator to encode a portion of the files so that they remain undetected and allow them to perform a “call” type of script to another obfuscated process which encrypts the data.

The initially obfuscated files may be dropped onto your computer via several different malware types:

  • Javascript.
  • Malicious macros.
  • Droppers.
  • Downloaders.
  • Exploit Kits.
  • Rogue programs.
  • Rootkits.

All of those methods are possible, but the main infection method that was the reason for most reports was via infected macros of.PDF documents. This may happen after you download a .PDF document and open it after which click on the “Enable Editing” button.

Not only this, but Kovter developers have improved the infection process as well, designing new and more clever methods to spread the malware effectively, like several layers of process obfuscation. This additional defensive layer hides the malware and allows the malware to perform the encryption and evade detection which was most likely the priority of the cyber-crooks.

Kovter Ransomware In Detail

To briefly put the history of this malware in perspective we have decided to illustrate its detected malwares in different years:

2013

This malware family has a long story of infecting users to generate profit to its creators. At first, in 2013-2014, it was reported to be posing as lock screen police malware:

Kovter Ransomware Infections on Upward Trend

2014

Later, on infected systems have reported that in 2014, Kovter has begun to monitor the victim PC’s traffic and induce a rootkit-like behavior. It was mainly oriented in click-fraud, generating hoax traffic to vendor websites.

2015

In 2015, Kovter has been released in a new form. Its main purposes remained the same, but this time, the malware acted without having any logical trace on the user PCs. These type of “lifeless” malware are very difficult to detect and the developers behind the malware know it.

Present Days

Now, Kovter is back, and the crypto-nightmare wants only one thing – the user’s funds. What it does after infecting your computer is situated heavily obfuscated executables or other .tmp, .dll and other malicious files. The usually targeted locations and named executables by this malware may be the following:

commonly used file names and folders

After creating its files, the malware executes a malicious script that contains a “call-to-action” type of command that looks for specific files to encrypt. The command is reported by CheckPoint researchers to be the following:

→ Dir /B “C\”&& for /r “C:\” %%i in(*.zip*rar*.gz*.xls*.xls*.xlsx*.doc*.docx*.pdf*.rtf*.ppt*.pptx […]) do (REN “%%i” “%%~nxi.crypted” & call
C\Users\VMUser\AppData\Local\Temp\{malicious file name}.exe “%%i.crypted”

After this command has been executed, the malicious module that encrypts the files begins looking for the file types with extensions displayed above (separated with “*”). After this has been conducted, the malware encrypted the files with the .Crypted file extensions, for example.

→ New Text Document.txt.crypted

The encrypted files are unable to be opened in any way. Users are left with nothing but to wonder how to restore their data. Fortunately, we have discovered a solution below.

Remove Kofter Ransomware and Decrypt .Crypted Files

To remove the ransomware, you must locate the registry entries it has interacted with and the malicious executables it has created. Besides that, the ransomware may run active processes on your PC. This is why researchers strongly advise using an advanced anti-malware program to remove the ransomware without affecting key Windows Files. We have prepared step-by-step instructions below to cope you with the removal.

Fortunately for the users, the ransomware uses a locally generated key, which means that decryption via this key is possible. All users have to do is follow step “4. Restore files encrypted by Kovter”, download the decryptor and use it.

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

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 Kovter with SpyHunter Anti-Malware Tool

Remove Kovter with SpyHunter Anti-Malware Tool

1. Install SpyHunter to scan for and remove Kovter.2. Scan with SpyHunter to Detect and Remove Kovter.
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 Kovter 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 Kovter in the future

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
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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 Kovter.
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 Kovter.

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 Kovter is on.
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Restoring a file via Windows Defense feature:
1-Right-click on the encrypted file, then choose Properties.
file-restore1
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 Kovter should be restored.

4. Restore files encrypted by Kovter

Restore Files Encrypted by Kovter

If you wish to decrypt your files there is a viable option to brute force and discover the locally kept encryption key. In order to do this, you should download a script, created by the BleepingComputer user “macomaco”. The script can be downloaded from this web link:

Kovter Decryption Script

This script is reported to work on Python. You can download Python from the following place:

Python Downloads

In order to execute the program, create a new script on Python then paste the Kovter Decryption Script. The script contains two types of code. The first type of code is the key finding code. Use it on an encrypted file to discover its decryption key.

If you have any questions or more information on how to use Python, do not hesitate to contact us on our forum. We will reply as soon as possible to assist you with the decryption.

Optional: Using Alternative Anti-Malware Tools

Remove Kovter Using Other Alternative Tools

STOPZilla Anti Malware
1. Download and Install STOPZilla Anti-malware to Scan for And Remove Kovter.
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 Kovter 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 Kovter threat: Manual removal of Kovter 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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