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How to decrypt .locked files and remove Locked ransomware virus

3 min read
The entry contains comprehensive instructions on ways to handle the .locked file ransomware, including data restoration workarounds and virus removal proper.

It’s hard to think of a worse predicament for computer users than a ransom trojan attack. The sucker punch inflicted by these threats pursues the goal of making the victims redeem their personal information by submitting a payment. The alpha and omega in deploying this assault is the malevolent use of file encryption mechanisms. Ransomware creators have gotten pretty good at manipulating both symmetric and asymmetric encryption algorithms to their own advantage. The .locked extension virus relies on crypto that cannot be circumvented unless the decryption key is available. The problem is, the private key is not at the victim’s disposal. This type of impact is characteristic of the infection dubbed CryptoLocker.

Modify dates Title: Files get encrypted and appended with .locked suffix
Modify dates Title: Files get encrypted and appended with .locked suffix

The plague under consideration propagates over several different channels. Its makers utilize phishing tricks, where the targets are enticed into opening a Microsoft Office attachment and enable macros. Once this happens, the payload gets executed through a backstage routine. The attachment can also be a ZIP file that self-extracts upon a click event. Another modus operandi for distribution is the harnessing of exploit kits, which automatically detect loopholes in the targeted system’s security and make use of these vulnerabilities to infect machines.

The most obvious external sign of the CryptoLocker onslaught is files becoming inaccessible because of strong encryption. This adverse effect is combined with the appearance of .locked appendix at the end of every ciphered file. Things may get yet worse if the filenames are replaced by random gibberish strings of symbols so that the user is unable to determine what exactly is encrypted. The ransomware explains the workflow of data decryption in a .txt, .bmp or .htm document named Payment Instructions, Help_Decrypt, How_To_Recover_Files or similar. According to these directions, the victim needs to go to a Tor-based page and remit $300-$500 in Bitcoins on there within a 96-hour period.

Ransom payment instructions by the .locked file virus
Ransom payment instructions by the .locked file virus

If the user exceeds the deadline, the sum will increase. What this buyout actually implies is purchasing the private RSA key along with the decrypt tool. These components are kept on a secure server whose location keeps swapping so that the regulatory authorities cannot take it down. The extortionists are using DGA (domain generation algorithm) to frequently coin new sites that host the entirety of victim data.

Ultimately, the .locked files stay beyond the reach of infected users until the stated amount of money is paid. To prevent people from reinstating their information via the backup feature built into Windows, CryptoLocker attempts to disable the respective service called VSS. It hasn’t succeeded to do so in a lot of the reported incidents, therefore a number of techniques can get files back without the necessity to submit the big ransom.

Automated removal of .locked 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 .locked 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 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 CryptoLocker 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 Locked 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 Locked ransomware removal tool

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