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Decrypt .encrypted file virus and remove Cryptolocker ransomware

3 min read
Learn what computer infection makes victims’ files inaccessible, appends the .encrypted extension and creates Decrypt_Instructions ransom notes.

Nothing compares to ransomware when it comes to the damage made to compromised systems. This sub-cluster of malicious code exploits computers in the following way: it enciphers every piece of personal data stored on them and tells victims to pay otherwise the information will remain inaccessible. The makers of the Cryptolocker Trojan chose to go this exact well-trodden route. The newest variant of this baddie locks one’s important files, appends the .encrypted tail to each, and drops a set of ransom payment roadmaps named Decrypt_Instructions.html and Decrypt_Instructions.txt. In fact, Cryptolocker has some interesting background. The original threat, which had appeared back in 2013, was taken down by the law enforcement and security experts in the course of a well-orchestrated Operation Tovar a year later. However, a bevy of copycats have been surfacing ever since, which ‘proudly’ use the name of their infamous begetter.

Cryptolocker ransom instructions
Cryptolocker ransom instructions

The latest one of these successors tries to resemble the ‘classical’ modus operandi of its predecessor. It propagates by means of spam for the most part. The execution of the unwelcome loader, consequently, takes place when an unsuspecting Windows user downloads a document attached to a rogue email pretending to convey some important, must-read message. It may be disguised as a payroll report, a tax refund notification or a subpoena. Once the targeted person unzips the attached archive and double-clicks on the file inside, the attack will commence in a matter of seconds. Cryptolocker then scans the hard drive and all the network storage locations in order to find data that isn’t part of the operating system components. In other words, it’s after personal files.

File with the .encrypted extension
File with the .encrypted extension

Moving on, the ransomware encodes all such files using an uncrackable alloy of RSA and AES cryptographic algorithms. These now inaccessible entries also get the .encrypted extension appended to them. The filenames themselves may become scrambled and unidentifiable as well. Cryptolocker also creates system.pif startup process that makes the OS open the above-mentioned ransom note – Decrypt_Instructions.html – every time the user starts the PC. According to these step-by-step directions, the infected person must visit a Tor (The Onion Router) page designed to process and display the status of ransom payments. The buyout amount that needs to be submitted is about 2 BTC, which is more than 1,000 USD at the time of this writing. In exchange for the ransom, the victim will supposedly get their private RSA key and automatic decryption software. Luckily, there are recovery methods that don’t involve interacting with the threat actors over these defiant ransom demands.

Automated removal of .encrypted file virus

Owing to an up-to-date database of malware signatures and intelligent behavioral detection, the recommended software can quickly locate the infection, eradicate it and remediate all harmful changes. So go ahead and do the following:

1. Download and install the antimalware tool. Open the solution and have it check your PC for PUPs and other types of malicious software by clicking the Start Computer Scan button

Download .encrypted extension files virus remover

2. Rest assured the scan report will list all items that may harm your operating system. Select the detected entries and click Fix Threats to get the troubleshooting completed.

Ways of non-ransom recovery of .encrypted extension files

Cracking the crypto used by this ransom trojan is more of a science fiction thing rather than an attainable prospect for the masses. This is why the troubleshooting in predicaments of this sort is a matter of two approaches: one is to pay the ransom, which isn’t an option for many victims; and the other is to apply instruments that take advantage of the ransomware’s possible weaknesses. If the latter is your pick, the advice below is a must-try.

Backups can make your day

Not only are you a lucky person in case you’ve been backing up your most important files, but you’re also a wise and prudent user. This isn’t necessarily a resource-heavy activity these days – in fact, some providers of online services are allocating a sufficient size of cloud storage space for free so that every customer can easily upload their critical data without paying a penny. Having removed the ransomware, therefore, all you have to do is download your stuff from the remote server or transfer it all from an external piece of hardware if that’s the case.

Restore previous versions of encrypted files

A positive upshot of using this technique depends on whether or not the ransomware has erased the Volume Shadow Copies of the files on your PC. This is a Windows feature that automatically makes and keeps the backups of data elements on the hard drive as long as System Restore is enabled. The cryptoware in question is programmed to switch off the Volume Shadow Copy Service (VSS), but it has reportedly failed to in some cases. Checking one’s options regarding this workaround is doable in two ways: through the Properties menu of each file or by means of the remarkable open-source tool called Shadow Explorer. We recommend the software-based way because it’s automated, hence faster and easier. Just install the app and use its intuitive controls to get previous versions of the encrypted objects reinstated.
Shadow Explorer

Data recovery toolkit to the rescue

Some strains of ransomware are known to delete the original files after the encryption routine has been completed. As hostile as this activity appears, it can play into your hands. There are applications designed to revive the information that was obliterated because of malfunctioning hardware or due to accidental removal. The tool called Data Recovery Pro by ParetoLogic features this type of capability therefore it can be applied in ransom attack scenarios to at least get the most important files back. So download and install the program, run a scan and let it do its job.

Download Data Recovery Pro

Data Recovery Pro

Ransomware Prevention Tips

To avoid the .encrypted file ransomware and other file-encrypting infections in the future, follow several simple recommendations:

  • Toggle your email provider’s anti-spam settings to filter out all the potentially harmful incoming messages. Raising the bar beyond the default protection is an important countermeasure for ransom Trojans

  • Define specific file extension restrictions in your email system. Make sure that attachments with the following extensions are blacklisted: .js, .vbs, .docm, .hta, .exe, .cmd, .scr, and .bat. Also, treat ZIP archives in received messages with extreme caution

  • Rename the vssadmin.exe process so that ransomware is unable to obliterate all Shadow Volume Copies of your files in one shot

  • Keep your Firewall active at all times. It can prevent crypto ransomware from communicating with its C&C server. This way, the threat won’t be able to obtain cryptographic keys and lock your files

  • Back up your files regularly, at least the most important ones. This recommendation is self-explanatory. A ransomware attack isn’t an issue as long as you keep unaffected copies of your data in a safe place

  • Use an effective antimalware suite. There are security tools that identify ransomware-specific behavior and block the infection before it can do any harm.
These techniques are certainly not a cure-all, but they will add an extra layer of ransomware protection to your security setup.

Revise your security status

Post-factum assessment of the accuracy component in malware removal scenarios is a great habit that prevents the comeback of harmful code or replication of its unattended fractions. Make sure you are good to go by running an additional safety checkup.

Download .encrypted file virus removal tool

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