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Remove Help_Your_Files.png (.html, .txt) virus files encrypted by CryptoWall 4.0

3 min read
Find out what malicious software the appearance of Help_Your_Files documents is a symptom of and go through a troubleshooting routine to remedy the PC.

There is a sequence of concurrent events that denote a critical security issue on a given workstation. The emergence of documents named Help_Your_Files in HTML, PNG and TXT formats on one’s desktop co-occurs with all personal files on the hard drive going inaccessible. How are these ostensibly different things interrelated? The entity that unites them into a tangible whole is called ransomware, in particular the sample known as CryptoWall 4.0. This is technically a computer trojan with advanced AV bypassing characteristics, which is programmed to encrypt its victim’s files that match a list of most popular extensions, including DOCX, XLSX, JPG and many others.

Excerpt of the Help_Your_Files.html document
Excerpt of the Help_Your_Files.html document

According to the information provided in the Help_Your_Files document, the only prerequisite for data recovery is a payment for the CryptoWall decrypt service. In other words, it is a ransom that the criminals expect their preys to submit in Bitcoins, a virtual currency that ensures a sufficient scope of anonymity for the scammers not to be tracked down and stay at large. Currently amounting to about $700, or 1.8 BTC, the money is supposedly going to release the private decryption key, which is part of the public-private key pair used in the course of data encoding with RSA-2048 standard. An additional problem is that CryptoWall 4.0 encrypts both the file contents and the names of files so that it’s difficult to even figure out what’s where on the HDD.

The users who end up following the ransomware authors’ directions are provided with their “personal page” that can be visited through one of the 5 Tor gateways listed in all variants of the Help_Your_Files notes. The Onion Router based principle of interacting with the victims further enhances the bad guys’ anonymity and is one of the key reasons why they are still not busted and keep coming up with updates of the ransom trojan once in a while.

Phishing email used for spreading CryptoWall 4.0
Phishing email used for spreading CryptoWall 4.0

As opposed to the preceding versions of the virus, the fraudsters are now leveraging a diversified distribution framework consisting of two main vectors: one is backed by eye-catching phishing emails, and the other is associated with the use of exploit kits such as Angler and Nuclear. The former entry point prevails. Users receive webmail messages with ZIP archives claiming to contain a curriculum vitae of some person. The social engineering effect based on people’s curiosity works well for the cybercriminals, luring users to open the attachment. Doing this immediately executes the malicious payload on the machine, and CryptoWall 4.0 kicks off by scanning the hard disk and removable media for the appropriate files, encrypting them and adding the Help_Your_Files instructions document to the desktop as well as all folders with encrypted data.

Before giving in to the extortionists’ demands, do not fail to try the options listed below, which can in some cases do the file restoration trick beyond submitting the ransom.

Help_Your_Files ransomware automated removal and data recovery

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 Help_Your_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.

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 Stellar Data Recovery features this type of a capability and therefore it can be applied in ransom attack scenarios to at least get the most important files back. So use the app to get an idea of what data can be restored and let it do the recovery job. Here is a step-by-step walkthrough:

1. Download and install Stellar Data Recovery.

Download Stellar Data Recovery

2. Open the application, select the types of recoverable files to look for, and click Next.Stellar Data Recovery main screen

3. Choose the areas you want the tool to recover from and click the Scan button.Select which PC areas to recover from

4. Having scanned the specified locations, the program will display a notification about the total amount of recoverable data. Close the dialog and click the Recover button. This will hopefully help you get some of your valuable files back.Recover files

Ransomware Prevention Tips

To avoid Help_Your_Files 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. Another benefit of using the antimalware tool is that it will keep ransomware threats from intruding on your computer further on.

Download Help_Your_Files ransomware removal tool

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