You should know by now that ransomware is currently the worst of online threats you could get on your PC. It’s a virus so powerful that is capable of destroying your business and/or personal life in seconds by hijacking your important files and demanding huge ransom fees in return.
Of course, the best you could do against ransomware viruses is to secure your system so that your PC never gets infected. Hackers, however, are becoming very creative when it comes to tricking users into opening compromised emails and files. And, regardless of your security efforts, you might still become a victim. Here’s a list of steps you should take in case ransomware has sneaked inside your PC and has locked your files:
Infected with Ransomware? Identify the Type of Ransomware
Once you find out you have a ransomware infection, it’s important to identify which ransomware exactly has taken your files hostage. There are thousands of ransomware viruses out there and for some of them malware experts may already have discovered decryptors. They will help you easily recover your files, so you could avoid paying the ransom fee. Search the ransomware name online and follow the instructions for decryption and virus removal only from trustworthy sources. If you can’t determine the name of the ransomware, you might want to use CryptoSheriff to figure it out.
Pay the Ransom?
Here’s where it gets tricky. if no decryptors are released yet, you could barely recover a small portion of your data via a data recovery tool. At this point, consider how important your files are. Sometimes, if you just wait a little, decryptors may be released and you could easily get your files back. Quite often, however, decryptors are not released, and many users are tempted to pay the ransom fee to restore their data. We never advise paying the ransom fee as that only encourages cyber criminals to continue spreading the infection. If your files are not that important, you could just sacrifice them.
On another note, even if you pay the ransom, chances to get a decryption key are not 100%. Sometimes cybercriminals may try to extort even more money from you and may never unlock your data.
In short, let paying the ransom be your very very last resort, and only if you have done enough research on the ransomware-type and the released decryptors.
Remove the Ransomware
In case no decryptors are released, but you are determined to not pay the ransom and to not support the cyber crime, remove the ransomware and then look for reliable data recovery tools.
NOTE: Many victims rush to install data recovery tools first hoping they could immediately restore their data before they even remove the virus. Truth is, if no decryptors are released yet, you could recover only a small portion of your data, but if the virus remains in your system, it may further harm it. Thus, make sure you remove the ransomware first either manually (if you are tech-savvy) or by using a reliable anti-malware protection (for automated removal). Only then you can install a data recovery tool and try to recover your files.
Use Backup Files
Of course, if you regularly backup your files, your system infected with ransomware will never be a serious threat to you. In cases of backup, you still need to determine the type of ransomware and then remove it via a trustworthy anti-malware program without worrying about your files.
Prevent Future Attacks
Again, prevention is easier than correction. Backing up your files may be one solution against ransomware infections, but it really is preferable to stop any kind of online threats from entering your system. So, you need to:
1. Educate Yourself How Online Threats May Enter Your System
Ransomware enters your PC mainly via spam emails. Educate yourself on how such compromised emails and files look like and avoid opening them.
Unwanted adware, PUPs (potentially unwanted program) and browser hijackers usually enter your system after you have downloaded freeware and have not paid attention to the preselected options during the installation process. Pay attention to what you download, and never agree to the default settings if they include additional software.
2. Install Trustworthy Anti-Malware Protection and Keep It Updated
Sometimes, regardless of how well-educated and up-to-date you are on the current cyber security state, you can still miss to protect your system from malware. You may still open the wrong link, download the malicious file or install a faulty program. To ensure your full safety, you need to have powerful anti-malware protection that you keep updated and running at all times. Only then you can have some peace of mind while surfing the net.
What is Ransomware?
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 algorithms 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.
Can Ransomware Cayse Damage?
Yes, ransomware can damage your computer. Ransomware is a malicious software that is designed to block access to your computer or files until a ransom is paid.
Ransomware can also damage your system, corrupt data and delete files, resulting in the permanent loss of important files.
Should I Ignore Viruses, Like ?
No, you should never ignore ransomware. It can encrypt your data and block access to your computer, making it impossible to access your files until you pay a ransom.
Ignoring ransomware could lead to the permanent loss of your data, as well as the potential for the ransomware to spread to other computers on your network. Additionally, paying the ransom does not guarantee that your data will be recovered.
How Does Infect?
Via several ways. Ransomware infects computers by being sent via phishing emails, 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 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 . files?
You can't. At this point, the . files are encrypted. You can only open them once they are decrypted using a specific decryptionkey for the particular algorithm.
What to Do If a Decryptor Does Not Work?
Do not panic, and backup the files. If a decryptor did not decrypt your . files successfully, then do not despair, because this virus is still new.
Can I Restore "." Files?
Yes, sometimes files can be restored. We have suggested several file recovery methods that could work if you want to restore . files.
These methods are in no way 100% guaranteed that you will be able to get your files back. But if you have a backup, your chances of success are much greater.
How To Get Rid of Virus?
The safest way and the most efficient one for the removal of this ransomware infection is the use a professional anti-malware program.
It will scan for and locate ransomware and then remove it without causing any additional harm to your important . files.
Also, keep in mind that viruses like ransomware also install Trojans and keyloggers that can steal your passwords and accounts.
What to Do If I Cant Get The Files Back?
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 can be re-downloaded from the web.
- Another clever way 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.
How to Report Ransomware to Authorities?
In case your computer got infected with a ransomware infection, you can report it to the local Police departments. It can help authorities worldwide track and determine the perpetrators behind the virus that has infected your computer.
Below, we have prepared a list with government websites, where you can file a report in case you are a victim of a cybercrime:
Cyber-security authorities, responsible for handling ransomware attack reports in different regions all over the world:
Germany - Offizielles Portal der deutschen Polizei
United States - IC3 Internet Crime Complaint Centre
United Kingdom - Action Fraud Police
France - Ministère de l'Intérieur
Italy - Polizia Di Stato
Spain - Policía Nacional
Netherlands - Politie
Poland - Policja
Portugal - Polícia Judiciária
Greece - Cyber Crime Unit (Hellenic Police)
India - Mumbai Police - CyberCrime Investigation Cell
Australia - Australian High Tech Crime Center
Reports may be responded to in different timeframes, depending on your local authorities.
Can You Stop Ransomware from Encrypting Your Files?
Yes, you can prevent ransomware. The best way to do this is to ensure your computer system is updated with the latest security patches, use a reputable anti-malware program and firewall, backup your important files frequently, and avoid clicking on malicious links or downloading unknown files.
Can Ransomware Steal Your Data?
Yes, in most cases ransomware will steal your information. It is a form of malware that steals data from a user's computer, encrypts it, and then demands a ransom in order to decrypt it.
Can Ransomware Infect WiFi?
Yes, ransomware can infect WiFi networks, as malicious actors can use it to gain control of the network, steal confidential data, and lock out users. If a ransomware attack is successful, it could lead to a loss of service and/or data, and in some cases, financial losses.
Should I Pay Ransomware?
No, you should not pay ransomware extortionists. Paying them only encourages criminals and does not guarantee that the files or data will be restored. The better approach is to have a secure backup of important data and be vigilant about security in the first place.
What Happens If I Don't Pay Ransom?
If you don't pay the ransom, the hackers may still have access to your computer, data, or files and may continue to threaten to expose or delete them, or even use them to commit cybercrimes. In some cases, they may even continue to demand additional ransom payments.
Why Is the Ransom Paid in Crypto?
Cryptocurrency is a secure and untraceable form of payment, making it the ideal choice for ransom payments. It is difficult to trace, and the transactions are almost instantaneous. This means it is nearly impossible for authorities to track the payment and recover the money.
Can Ransomware Attack Be Detected?
Yes, ransomware can be detected. Anti-malware software and other advanced security tools can detect ransomware and alert the user when it is present on a machine.
It is important to stay up-to-date on the latest security measures and to keep security software updated to ensure ransomware can be detected and prevented.
Do Ransomware Criminals Get Caught?
Yes, ransomware criminals do get caught. Law enforcement agencies, such as the FBI, Interpol and others have been successful in tracking down and prosecuting ransomware criminals in the US and other countries. As ransomware threats continue to increase, so does the enforcement activity.
About the Research
The content we publish on SensorsTechForum.com, this how-to removal guide included, is the outcome of extensive research, hard work and our team’s devotion to help you remove the specific malware and restore your encrypted files.
How did we conduct the research on this ransomware?
Our research is based on an independent investigation. We are in contact with independent security researchers, and as such, we receive daily updates on the latest malware and ransomware definitions.
To better understand the ransomware threat, please refer to the following articles which provide knowledgeable details.
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.
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