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LockBit ransomware removal and files decryptor

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LockBit, an emerging threat in the ransomware arena, uses the .lockbit extension to blemish encrypted files and drops Restore-My-Files.txt ransom note.
  1. What is the Lockbit ransomware?
  2. LockBit ransomware automated removal and data recovery
  3. LockBit ransomware manual removal and file recovery
  4. Ransomware Prevention Tips


What is “Your computer is low on memory” message pop-up?

Early reports of the LockBit file-encrypting nasty messing around with Windows users’ files date back to mid-October 2019. Back then, the infection concatenated the primitive .abcd string to encrypted items and it became obvious that the cybercriminal gang behind it had some solid background and strong skills in this niche. In late January 2020, the malefactors switched to using the .lockbit extension while the ransom note name Restore-My-Files.txt remained unaltered. This appears to be a firmly established variant that’s rapidly proliferating globally at the time of this publication. The size of the ransom depends on the number of affected computers or servers and volume of data that underwent malicious encryption. It typically ranges from 0.5 to 3 bitcoins ($4,500-$27,000).

According to security analysts’ findings, LockBit is being promoted on the Dark Web as a Ransomware-as-a-Service. It means that crooks can “get a ride” by joining the RaaS that offers them a turnkey payload with a fair degree of customizability. Every ransom paid by a victim is split into a share of the affiliate and that of the ransomware author.

Encrypted .lockbit files and ransom note in a ransomware-stricken folder

Aside from the classic warning about data corruption through cryptography, the Restore-My-Files.txt rescue note created by LockBit ransomware on the plagued machine’s desktop and inside encrypted folders provides steps to recover the files. To get started, the victim is supposed to download Tor Browser, open their personal, uniquely generated .onion link in it, and use the payment page to contact the attackers. There is a chat feature built into the page so that the infected user can negotiate the recovery terms with LockBit operators.

To reassure the person that the decryption works, the Tor page additionally includes “Trial decrypt” module. It allows the victim to upload a single encoded .lockbit extension file from the computer. There is a restriction regarding the file size, which should be up to 256 KB. The perpetrators claim they will send the victim the unencrypted copy of this item. However, even if they do, being confident that they will carry through with the promises about reinstating the rest of the data after the payment is risky business.

Contents of Restore-My-Files.txt ransom note created by LockBit

In contrast to the growing trend of ransomware targeting the enterprise, healthcare industry, and local municipalities, LockBit zeroes in on individual users for the most part. This tactic defines the distribution mechanisms being employed. The primary attack vector is malicious spam. The felons harness botnets to send numerous ransomware-riddled emails in bulk, hoping that some recipients will get curious and open the attached file. The latter tends to be a Microsoft Word document that allegedly contains important information such as invoice details, shipment-related instructions, a job offer, or something similarly arresting. The trick is that the file is laced with contagious macros instantly executing the infection chain when enabled. In its original form, the attachment appears to be displayed incorrectly and the user is instructed to allow macros by clicking on a prompt in the upper part of the document. Instead of being able to read the contents, though, the unsuspecting person ends up authorizing the stealth contamination.

LockBit payment page

As an extra leverage, newer editions of the LockBit ransom note include a warning about a purported instance of data theft. This is aligned with the recent quirk in the blackmail implementation where the attackers claim to have exfiltrated some files and threaten to leak them into the public domain unless the victim coughs up the ransom. In the case of LockBit, this element of pressure stems from the following phrase added to the Restore-My-Files.txt document:

“We also download huge amount of your private data, including finance information, clients’ personal info, network diagrams, passwords and so on. Don’t forget about GDPR”.

This new characteristic might be paving this strain’s way towards network attacks – notice the reference to customer-related data, something businesses should worry about in the first place. Also, European organizations take the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) compliance seriously, otherwise they run the risk of paying big fines. Although there haven’t been incident reports about LockBit plaguing companies’ computer networks so far, this may change anytime soon. All in all, this ransomware is a rapidly evolving cyber threat to end users and potentially to businesses. If it has raided a computer via data encryption, follow the steps below to remove the dangerous program and try to recover hostage files.


LockBit 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 Lockbit 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


Lockbit ransomware manual removal and file recovery

Some ransomware strains terminate themselves after completing the encryption job on a computer, but some don’t. Furthermore, the Lockbit virus may prevent victims from using popular antimalware tools in order to stay on board for as long as possible. Under the circumstances, it may be necessary to utilize the Safe Mode with Networking or System Restore functionality.

Remove the Lockbit ransomware using Safe Mode with Networking

Remove the Lockbit ransomware using Safe Mode with Networking

Boot into Safe Mode with Networking. The method to do it depends on the version of the infected operating system. Follow the instructions below for your OS build.

  • Restart the machine. When the system begins loading back up, keep pressing the F8 key with short intervals. The Windows Advanced Options Menu (Advanced Boot Options) screen will appear.Boot into Safe Mode with Networking on Windows Vista and 7
  • Use arrow keys to select Safe Mode with Networking and hit Enter. Log on with the user account infected by the ransomware.
  • Click on the Search icon next to the Start menu button. Type msconfig in the search field and select the System Configuration option in the results. Go to the Boot tab in the upper part of the GUI.Boot options on Windows 8, 8.1 and 10
  • Under Boot options, select Safe boot and click the Apply button. A prompt will appear to reboot the computer so that the changes take effect. Select the Restart option and wait for the system to load into Safe Mode. Again, log on with the ransomware-stricken user account.

In Safe Mode, the ransom Trojan won’t keep security software from running or otherwise thwart troubleshooting. Open your preferred web browser, download and install an antimalware tool of choice and start a full system scan. Have all the detected ransomware components removed in a hassle-free way.

Get rid of the Lockbit ransomware using System Restore

Get rid of the Lockbit ransomware using System Restore

System Restore enables Windows users to roll back all changes made to the OS since the latest restore point creation time. This feature can help eliminate the most persistent ransomware. Before going this route, though, make sure System Restore had been enabled prior to the breach, otherwise the method will be inefficient.

  • Open Windows Advanced Options Menu as described in the previous section: hit F8 repeatedly when the PC is starting up. Use arrow keys to highlight the Safe Mode with Command Prompt entry. Hit Enter.Safe Mode with Command Prompt
  • In the Command Prompt window, type cd restore and hit Entercd restore command
  • Type rstrui.exe in the new command line and press EnterType rstrui.exe command
  • When the System Restore screen pops up, click Next, select a restore point that predates the contamination, and use the application’s controls to roll back the system to this earlier state.System Restore window

Be advised that even after the ransomware is removed, files will still be encrypted and inaccessible. The malicious code cleanup part, however, is important because it keeps a relapse of the infection from occurring further on and eliminates all opportunistic malware.

Ways of non-ransom recovery of .lockbit or .abcd encrypted 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

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

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

Alternatively, you can leverage the Previous Versions feature, which is native to Windows operating system. This method is more cumbersome that the use of ShadowExplorer, but it can help restore the most important individual files on condition that the ransomware failed to disable the Volume Snapshot Service on the computer. Right-click on a file of choice and select Properties. Then, go to the Previous Versions tab as illustrated below.
Previous Versions

Go ahead and pick the file’s latest backup version on the list. Use the Copy or Restore buttons to reinstate this object to a new path or to its original folder, respectively.


Ransomware Prevention Tips

To avoid Lockbit 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 ransomware removal tool

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