THREAT REMOVAL

.Sad File Virus Remove and Restore Data

Article created to assist with information and instructions on how to remove SADStory ransomware and try to decrypt .sad encrypted files.

A new ransomware written in Python has been reported to encrypt the files on the computers infected by it and then leave them with the .sad file extension. The files cannot be opened after encryption is complete and the virus leaves behind a SADStory_README_FOR_DECRYPT.txt file which is a ransom note with instructions, extorting users to pay a ransom fee in 96 hours. If a ransom is not paid, the cyber-criminals threaten to destroy any decryption possibility. If you have become a victim of the .sad ransomware virus, we recommend reading the following article to remove it and restore files encrypted by this virus.

Threat Summary

Name

SADStory

TypeRansomware
Short DescriptionThe malware encrypts users files using a strong encryption algorithm, making direct decryption possible only via a unique decryption key available to the cyber-criminals.
SymptomsThe user may witness ransom notes and “instructions”, called SADStory_README_FOR_DECRYPT.txt linking to contacting the cyber-criminals. Changed file names and the file-extension .sad has been used.
Distribution MethodVia an Exploit kit, Dll file attack, malicious JavaScript or a drive-by download of the malware itself in an obfuscated manner.
Detection Tool See If Your System Has Been Affected by malware

Download

Malware Removal Tool

User ExperienceJoin our forum to Discuss SADStory.
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.

.Sad Ransomware Virus – How Does It Infect

For the infection process of this ransomware to succeed, the cyber-criminals behind it may use more than one distribution techniques. One of the techniques that might be used by the creators of the virus is to utilize a database of fake e-mails in order to send out massive spam messages to victims. These messages may be automatically sent out via spam bot that controls the sender accounts.

The e-mails sent distributing SADStory ransomware may aim to convince the victims into opening a malicious e-mail attachment or clicking on a web link. To do this, multiple convincing statements may be explained, that raise importance. The spammers may trick you that a purchase has been made on your name and they may even use the name of your e-mail account to further increase the trust and likelihood of you opening the attachment. The attachments are usually pretending to be invoice files as well as different files that are account activity documents and confirmation letters.

Besides this form of spam, there may be several other methods by which the .sad file virus may cause an infection:

  • Via fake installers uploaded on shady websites.
  • If corrupted game patches or cracks are uploaded from hacked torrent accounts on legitimate torrent websites.
  • By malicious browser redirects caused by PUAs(Potentially Unwatned Applications) installed suspiciously on the victim PC.

Whatever the case may be, once a victim clicks on a malicious infection object, the virus may be activated in an obfuscated mode, without being detected. Then, shortly after, a connection may be made to one or more of the following hosts:

  • wayofwines.com/ReadMe.php
  • www.lilywho.ie
  • ow.ly/{customURL}

After this, the payload of the .sad file virus may be downloaded on the computer of the user. The payload consists of the following files:

  • mw.exe located in the %TEMP% directory
  • {random name}.pdf.exe
  • ReadMe-how_to_get_free_office365-{uniqueID}.pdf.exe
  • _SAD STORY FILES_

The dropped files may be located in multiple Windows directories such as:

  • %AppData%
  • %Local%
  • %Temp%
  • %Roaming%
  • %LocalRow%
  • %Documents%

.Sad File Virus – Infection Activity

After infecting the computer, the SADStory ransomware may begin to shut down certain system processes on the infected machine. Then, the virus may also run some commands in Windows Command prompt. The commands may change certain settings on the infected machine, allowing file encryption to commence while uninterrupted. Some of those commands usually are:

→ process call create “cmd.exe /c
vssadmin.exe delete shadows /all /quiet
bcdedit.exe /set {default} recoveryenabled no
bcdedit.exe /set {default} bootstatuspolicy ignoreallfailures

In addition to modifying settings via the Windows Command prompt, the virus may also change settings by adding registry values with custom data in them in some Windows Registry Sub-keys. Among the attacked sub-keys may be the following:

→ HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Desktop\
HKEY_USERS\.DEFAULT\Control Panel\Desktop\
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

After having done this, the virus may also drop it’s ransom note in the %Startup% directory of Windows, allowing it to automatically open on system startup. The note is named SADStory_README_FOR_DECRYPT.txt and has the following content embedded within it:

The e-mail address used for contact, interestingly enough is the same address that is being utilized for the previously released Mireware and KimcilWare ransomware viruses.

SADStory Ransomware – Encryption Process

For the encryption process, the .sad file virus may cause a system restart by displaying a false error message. After the restart, the virus may be set to append one or more encryption algorithms in a pre-configured encryption mode. It usually looks for the widely used file types such as:

  • Documents.
  • Images.
  • Videos.
  • Audio files.
  • Database files.

Among the file types encrypted by the .Sad ransomware virus may be the following:

“PNG .PSD .PSPIMAGE .TGA .THM .TIF .TIFF .YUV .AI .EPS .PS .SVG .INDD .PCT .PDF .XLR .XLS .XLSX .ACCDB .DB .DBF .MDB .PDB .SQL .APK .APP .BAT .CGI .COM .EXE .GADGET .JAR .PIF .WSF .DEM .GAM .NES .ROM .SAV CAD Files .DWG .DXF GIS Files .GPX .KML .KMZ .ASP .ASPX .CER .CFM .CSR .CSS .HTM .HTML .JS .JSP .PHP .RSS .XHTML. DOC .DOCX .LOG .MSG .ODT .PAGES .RTF .TEX .TXT .WPD .WPS .CSV .DAT .GED .KEY .KEYCHAIN .PPS .PPT .PPTX ..INI .PRF Encoded Files .HQX .MIM .UUE .7Z .CBR .DEB .GZ .PKG .RAR .RPM .SITX .TAR.GZ .ZIP .ZIPX .BIN .CUE .DMG .ISO .MDF .TOAST .VCD SDF .TAR .TAX2014 .TAX2015 .VCF .XML Audio Files .AIF .IFF .M3U .M4A .MID .MP3 .MPA .WAV .WMA Video Files .3G2 .3GP .ASF .AVI .FLV .M4V .MOV .MP4 .MPG .RM .SRT .SWF .VOB .WMV 3D .3DM .3DS .MAX .OBJ R.BMP .DDS .GIF .JPG ..CRX .PLUGIN .FNT .FON .OTF .TTF .CAB .CPL .CUR .DESKTHEMEPACK .DLL .DMP .DRV .ICNS .ICO .LNK .SYS .CFG”Source:fileinfo.com

For the encryption process, bytes of the files which are original are replaced with the same information, but in the encrypted algorithm’s symbols. This makes the files no longer able to be opened after it. To the files is also appended a file extension, distinctive to the SADStory virus – .sad. They may look like the example image below:

The virus may then connect to a remote host and send unique decryption keys to the cyber-criminals behind it. The virus also may remain active on the infected computer and delete a random file from the infected computer every 6 hours.

Remove SADStory Ransomware and Restore .sad Encrypted Files

Befoe the removal of SADStory ransomware, the first thing we advise you to do is to back up the encrypted files immediately after the infection. This is primarily because the virus deletes a file every 6 hours.

Then, to remove the .sad file virus, recommendations are to follow the removal instructions under this article. They are designed to help isolate and delete files belonging to this virus in methodological order that is advisable. Also, if you do not have the experience in following the manual instructions, malware researchers strongly advise using an advanced anti-malware program which will automatically take care of the removal process for you and protect the computer in the future as well.

After the removal of the .sad file ransomware is done, it is time to think on what are your alternatives to get back the files, instead of having to pay the ransom. We have posted several suggestions on methods with which you can recover your files, located in step “2. Restore files encrypted by SADStory” below. These may not be 100 percent effective, but they might also help recover some encoded files. In the meantime we also advise following this web page, because we will update it as soon as malware researchers have a breakthrough regarding free decryption.

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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 SADStory from Windows.


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

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 SADStory 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 SADStory 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 SADStory 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 SADStory 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 SADStory.

Ransomware infections and SADStory 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 SADStory from Mac OS X.


Step 1: Uninstall SADStory 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 SADStory:

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 SADStory. 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 SADStory. 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 SADStory 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 SADStory. 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.


Click the button below below to download SpyHunter for Mac and scan for SADStory:


Download

SpyHunter for Mac



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

Ransomware infections and SADStory 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.


SADStory FAQ

What is SADStory ransomware and how does it work?

SADStory 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 SADStory ransomware infect my computer?

Via several ways.SADStory 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 SADStory 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 .SADStory files?

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

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

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

Also, keep in mind that viruses like SADStory 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.

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