THREAT REMOVAL

Santa Encryptor Virus – How to Remove and Restore Files

This article aims to help you by showing you how to remove the Santa Encryptor ransomware virus and how to attempt and restore files that have been encrypted by it on your computer without having to pay the ransom.

As the Winter holidays approach, new Christmas-themed ransomware viruses have begin appearing. One of them is a ransomware variant, which displays a lock screen message, called Santa Decryptor. The malware aims to encrypt the files on the computers compromised by it and then set a demand of $150 in BTC for the victim to pay in order to retrieve his encrypted files. The virus also aims to perform various different malicious activities on the computers infected by it and if you encounter it, it’s removal is strongly advisable, preferably by using the information in this article.

Threat Summary

Name Santa Encryptor
Type Ransomware, Cryptovirus
Short Description Encrypts files and then demands $150 to get them decrypted once again.
Symptoms Files are encrypted and a lock screen, named “Santa Encryptor” is displayed which extorts victims to pay the sum of $150. It also gives a deadline to transfer the funds in the form of BitCoin.
Distribution Method Spam Emails, Email Attachments, Executable files
Detection Tool See If Your System Has Been Affected by malware

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User Experience Join Our Forum to Discuss Santa Encryptor.
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.

How Does Santa Encryptor Infect

The infection methods used by Santa Encryptor may be more than one and they consist of multiple different tools, for example:

  • Obfuscator which conceals the malicious file from protection software.
  • Intermediary infection file which causes the initial infection and drops the payload.
  • Various spamming bots and spam software.

All of these tools may be used in order to spread the malicious files of Santa Encryptor via more than one ways. The main one may be sending malicious spam e-mails to the victims in the form of legitimate e-mails. The e-mails often contain either a malicious e-mail attachment or a malicious file that is linked via a third-party site. The body often contains deceitful messages, that present the malicious attachment as:

  • Invoice.
  • Receipt.
  • Banking statement.
  • Order confirmation letter.

Santa Encryptor Ransomware – More Information

When infeciton takes place with Santa Encryptor ransomware, the virus aims to drop it’s payload on the victim’s computer. This results in the malicious files being dropped in the following Windows folders:

  • %AppData%
  • %Local%
  • %LocalLow%
  • %Roaming%
  • %Temp%

In addition to this, the Santa Encryptor also drops it’s ransom note file which appears like the following:

Text from image:
Oop’s Your File’s Have Been Encrypted!
What Happened To Your PC?
Your Important File’s Have Been Encrypted
Many Of Your Documents, Photos, Databases And Other File’s Are No Longer Accessible.
Because They Have Been Encrypted Using AES-256
How Can I Decrypt My File’s?
Your Lucky Santa Is Here To Help You To Decrypt Your File’s
With the Power Of Christmas Spirit! Santa Needs You To Send $150 Worth Of Bitcoin To
The Given Bitcoin Address Below
How Do I Pay?
Their Are A Few Links For You To Buy The Bitcoin,
Send $150 Worth Of Bitcoin To The Given Address To Decrypt Your File’s

Send $150 Worth Of Bitcoin To This Address:

Among the malicious activities of Santa Encryptor ransomware may also be to delete the shadow volume copies of the infected computer, even though at the time of writing this, the malware is still in development stage. The command used to perform this may be activated via a batch script (.bat) as an administrator and use Windows Command Prompt to enter the following parameters, depending on what the virus aims to do:

→ vssadmin delete shadows /for= [/oldest | /all | /shadow=] [/quiet]

In addition to deleting the shadow volume copies, the Santa Encryptor ransomware may also disable the system recovery service via the following commands:

→ bcdedit.exe /set {default} recoveryenabled no
bcdedit.exe /set {default} bootstatuspolicy ignoreallfailures

Santa Encryptor – Encryption Process

7
The malware may begin to perform encryption procedure on the files via the XOR encryption algorithm which is a bit outdated and more simplistic as well as easier to crack, but still it renders the files no longer openable. The targeted files by Santa Encryptor are reported to be the following types:

  • Videos.
  • Archives.
  • Documents.
  • Audio files.
  • Virtual Drives.

The way the virus scans for and locates the files on your computer is that it is pre-configured to look for their file extensions, for example it may scan for and detect the following files:

→ “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”

In addition to this, the ransomware may also whitelist some of the files on the infected computer, which are crucial to the proper operation of your Windows OS.

Remove Santa Encryptor Ransomware and Restore Encrypted Files

In the event that your computer becomes infected with Santa Encryptor ransomware, we strongly suggest that you begin to isolate this malware prior to removing it. One suggestible method to do this is if you follow the removal instructions in the article below. They are divided in manual or automatic removal instructions. In case you lack the experience to remove Santa Encryptor manually, security experts recommend to perform the removal process automatically prefferably by downloading an advanced anti-malware software which will help make sure that the Santa Encryptor virus is removed from your PC completely and you remain protected against future intrusions of such type.

If you want to try and restore files that have been encrypted by this ransomware virus, you can attempt to use the alternative methods for malware removal in step “2.Restore files, encrypted by Santa Encryptor” below. They are specifically designed to help you to restore as many files as possible without having to pay the ransom to the cyber-criminals even though they are not with 100% guarantee success rate.

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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 Santa Encryptor from Windows.


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

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 Santa Encryptor 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 Santa Encryptor 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 Santa Encryptor 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 Santa Encryptor 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 Santa Encryptor.

Ransomware infections and Santa Encryptor 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 Santa Encryptor from Mac OS X.


Step 1: Uninstall Santa Encryptor 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 Santa Encryptor:

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 Santa Encryptor. 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 Santa Encryptor. 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 Santa Encryptor 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 Santa Encryptor. 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 Santa Encryptor:


Download

SpyHunter for Mac



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

Ransomware infections and Santa Encryptor 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.


Santa Encryptor FAQ

What is Santa Encryptor ransomware and how does it work?

Santa Encryptor 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 Santa Encryptor ransomware infect my computer?

Via several ways.Santa Encryptor 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 Santa Encryptor 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 .Santa Encryptor files?

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

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

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

Also, keep in mind that viruses like Santa Encryptor 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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