A new variant of an already devastating ransomware, Locky is back with different tactics of infection and advanced features. The ransomware is reported to affect users on a massive scale. The newer variant of the ransomware attacks users on a massive scale and infects their computers via a Nuclear Exploit Kit. Not only this, but the ransomware also can perform several other activities on the user PC such as defend itself and evade anti-malware software. All users who have been affected are strongly advised to remove this ransomware using instructions, such as the ones after this article.
|Short Description||Encrypts the user files with a combination of AES and RSA encryption algorhithms and demands ransom payment for the return of the files.|
|Symptoms||The user may witness changed wallpaper and a “HELP_instructions.txt” file to automatically open on startup.|
|Distribution Method||Via PUPs, installed by bundling (Browser Hijackers) or by visiting a suspicious third-party site that is advertising it.|
|Detection Tool||Download Malware Removal Tool, to See If Your System Has Been Affected by malware|
|User Experience||Join our forum to discuss Locky.|
|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.|
Locky 2.0 Ransomware Distribution
To be spread, this ransomware has been reported by CheckPoint malware researchers to use the Nuclear exploit kit. This is particularly effective method primarily because this kit uses several different targets to spread:
- Adobe Flash Player.
- Microsoft Silverlight.
- Adobe PDF.
- Internet Explorer Exploits.
The Nuclear exploit kit exists since the year 2009, and it is widely used and effective in dropping a payload of this and other malware on unsuspecting users’ computers.
Exploit Kit Attacks Grow in 2015 Q3; Patch Management is Crucial
Locky Ransomware 2.0 In Detail
Similar to the first variant of Locky Ransomware, the malware is dropped, looks for the same file extensions and uses the two very same primary encryption algorithms to lock the user files:
The combination of the algorithms makes the data impossible to be decrypted. The ransomware scans for the same file extensions such as the first variant, and after encryption changes the wallpaper with the following ransom message:
The differences and improvements that the newer variant of Locky possesses are the following:
- Using Nuclear Exploit Kit to infect more users successfully.
- Obfuscated its configuration file to make tracing the C&C centers of the cyber-crooks impossible.
- Shadow execution of its Payload in the shadow volume copies of Windows.
- New HTTP additions and patches that strengthen its communications and make it significantly more difficult to trace.
- A new included DGA algorithm to additionally strengthen the communication process with the cyber-criminals.
Conclusion and Removal
The bottom line for the newer variant of Locky ransomware is that it is reported to be even more effective by malware researchers. Given that Locky has had an immense impact on user PCs so far, the second variant of the ransomware may be equal or even better.
Regarding the removal of malicious files used by this Ransomware, it is good to know that the removal instructions remain the same. To remove it permanently without affecting your OS, it is strongly advised to use the steps illustrated below and then to make sure you employ a decent anti-malware software to protect you in the future.
If you want to decrypt your files, unfortunately, you should know that there is no relevant method for the direct decryption of the files. Researchers have not yet discovered any holes and exploits in the code of the malware because the configuration file has its data concealed. But you are welcome to try those mentioned above standard alternative methods for restoring your files.
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.
How to Remove Locky from Windows.
Step 1: Boot Your PC In Safe Mode to isolate and remove Locky
Step 2: Uninstall Locky 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.
Step 3: Clean any registries, created by Locky 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 Locky there. This can happen by following the steps underneath:
Step 4: Scan for Locky with SpyHunter Anti-Malware Tool
Step 5 (Optional): Try to Restore Files Encrypted by Locky.
Ransomware infections and Locky 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 top, choose Data Recovery - Data Recovery Wizard for Windows or Mac (depending on your OS), and then download and run the tool.
Get rid of Locky from Mac OS X.
Step 1: Uninstall Locky and remove related files and objects
1. Hit the ⇧+⌘+U keys to open Utilities. Another way is to click on “Go” and then click “Utilities”, like the image below shows:
- 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 Locky 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:
You can repeat the same procedure with the following other Library directories:
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 Locky on your Mac.
Ransomware for Mac Locky aims to encode all your files using an encryption algorithm which may be very difficult to decode, unless you pay money.
This is why we have suggested a data recovery method that may help you go around direct decryption and try to restore your files, but only in some cases. Bear in mind that this method may not be 100% effective but may also help you a little or a lot in different situations.
What is Locky ransomware and how does it work?
Locky 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 Locky ransomware infect my computer?
Via several ways.Locky 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 Locky 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 .Locky files?
You can't. At this point the .Locky 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 .Locky files successfully, then do not despair, because this virus is still new.
One way to restore files, encrypted by Locky 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 ".Locky" files (Other Methods)?
Yes, sometimes files can be restored. We have suggested several file recovery methods that could work if you want to restore .Locky 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 Locky 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 Locky ransomware and then remove it without causing any additional harm to your important .Locky files.
Also, keep in mind that viruses like Locky 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.