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Spora Ransomware Virus (Removal Steps and Protection Updates)

The Review

75% Very Dangerous

The Spora ransomware is an advanced threat that has spawned numerous variants. This is one of the most widely used viruses in recent months. In comparison with other threats it does not change the file extensions and the ransom fee requested varies in accordance with the purchased "package". Computer users can get infected by downloading infected software installers or interacting with any malicious ads and browser hijackers. Email spam messages are another popular source of virus payloads.



Spora ransomware removal guide will show you how to delete malicious files and restore your computer from the infection. The Spora Malware Family is a new dangerous computer threat that can deliver serious damage to the infected hosts and targets all Windows versions.


Spora Ransomware Description

Spora ransomware is a newly discovered malware family that will probably take on popularity by spawning new variants. The core threat contains a lot of features that are not typical of other ransomware and this is why it it important to know all and understand how damaging it can be.

The analyses of Spora ransomware samples show that it can create new directories and files, write remote processes and spawn a lot of processes during the infection flow. The ransomware is likely to drop and create some of its malicious files in the following folders:

  • %System32%
  • %TEMP%

The Spora ransomware is written in the C programming language and packed using an UPX executable packer. A major distinction between this and other ransomware families is that it doesn’t rename the affected files by using a specific extension. The virus just employs a powerful AES + RSA encryption engine which targets specific target user files, generates private decryption key and urge the victims to transfer a ransomware payment.

The full list of file extensions targeted by Spora ransomware includes:

.xls, .doc, .xlsx, .docx, .rtf, .odt, .pdf, .psd, .dwg, .cdr, .cd, .mdb, .1cd, .dbf, .sqlite, .accdb, .jpg, .jpeg, .tiff, .zip, .rar, .7z, .backup

When these file extensions are detected, Spora encrypts them and files are no longer able to be opened. If the encryption process is successful, Spora generates an .html file, placing it in all folders that contain encrypted files. This file contains a message from cyber criminals. The text presents instructions how to pay the ransom for the recovery keys. Depending on the victim’s geographical location the virus creates a different ransom note according to the following pattern:

  • USXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX.HTML – for victims located in the United States of America.
  • RUXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX.HTML – for victims located in Russia
  • FRXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX.HTML – for victims located in France.

Other country code prefixes are used depending on the location. A typical Spora ransomware note contains the following message:

All your work and personal files were encrypted
To restore data, obtaining guarantees and support, follow the instructions in your account.
Personal Area
xxxxs: //>
What happened?
1. Only we can restore your files.
Your files have been modified using RSA-1024 algorithm. Reverse recovery process is called decryption. This requires your unique key. Choose or “hack” it is impossible.
2. Do not turn to intermediaries!
All recovery keys stored only in our country, respectively, if you someone will offer to restore the information, in the best case, he first buys the key here, then you will sell it at a premium.
If you can not find your Sync Key
Click here.

The Spora ransomware deletes all Shadow Volume Copies of the affected machine which prevents data recovery. This is done using the following command:

vssadmin.exe delete shadows /all /quiet

In addition it disables the Windows Startup Repair and changes the BootStatusPolicy which is a serious system modification by issuing the following commands:

bcdedit.exe /set {default} recoveryenabled no
bcdedit.exe /set {default} bootstatuspolicy ignoreallfailures

The virus’s engine also scans for popular security software and employs several stealth detection techniques to install itself to the target host. It is able to harvest important system information.

In order to display the ransom message during the infection flow and control its automatic start each time the Windows starts up, Spora ransomware may create and change values under the following registry keys:

  • HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run
  • HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run
  • HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\RunOnce
  • HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\RunOnce

Each infected user is greeted with a gateway crafted page which uses the TOR anonymous network. Each host receives their own unique victim ID which allows the computer users to buy their own dedicated private decryption key.

The criminals who operate the Spora ransomware allow for several payment “packages” that have a different price depending on the service offered:

  • FULL RESTORE – Fully restores the affected files.
  • IMMUNITY – Guarantees immunity from malware.
  • REMOVAL – Removes the malicious payload from the system.
  • FILE RESTORE – Restores individual files.

The price for the “FULL RESTORE” option could vary among $79 and $280 and when victim wants to restore only individual files he should pay $30 for each. The “REMOVAL” is offered for an extra $20. Cyber criminals also offer the free decryption of 2 files as another way to temp victims sending the ransom at the Bitcoin address.

We should acknowledge that offering unique payment options is really tricky and is likely to attract more victims. However, better avoid trusting cyber criminals who tell you that guarantee immunity from malware and security just after they have compromised all your important data as well as the whole system. Contacting them is also an option that is better to be avoided.

The security experts have noticed that the gateway page also has a built-in live chat function which allows the victims to communicate with the virus operators. It was observed that they have answered in a prompt and timely manner.

Furthermore, all victims have a deadline for the money transaction displayed on Spora’s website. Once the time comes to an end the unique decyption keys are permanently deleted. However, according to information based on real negotiations with the extortionists standing behind Spora ransomware attacks, they are inclined to extend the time for the ransom paying.

If you are a victim of Spora ransomware you may be tempted to purchase the decryption key but doing so is one of the ways to encourage the crooks to continue and get better at their malicious operations.

Spora Ransomware Distribution

The first Spore ransomware samples were identified in the beginning of January 2017. Today Spora ransomware propagators continue to spread the malicious Spora payloads via various attack vectors searching for new victims. This is a multi-language computer threat which is used to attack various individuals and companies worldwide.

Primary infection methods include spam email campaigns and infected software bundles. They usually carry the binary payload which contains the dangerous Spora ransomware.

Right now a major email spam campaign is underway which uses phishing tactics to infect hosts. The Spora ransomware is contained in messages that pose as coming from 1C, a very popular accounting software used in Russia and other former USSR countries. The subjects and contents pose as containing invoices and some example filenames include Экспорт из 1С.a01e743_рdf.hta which translates to “Scan-copy _ 10 Jan 2017“. They use double extensions, one of which is likely to be hidden as a way to trick the user into thinking that the file is an actual document file.

Other distribution techniques include malicious ads, browser hijackers and exploit kit attacks. Spora ransomware strains have been identified on various forums and other types of online communities. The virus is usually found in files that use the following naming patterns:

  • special_phrase_in_English.random_chars_pdf.hta
  • специальная_фраза_на_русском.random_chars_pdf.hta
  • random.hta



File Extensions
Does not alter file type extensions


Easy Solution
You can skip all steps and remove Spora ransomware with the help of an anti-malware tool.

Manual Solution
Spora ransomware can be removed manually, though it can be very hard for most home users. See the detailed tutorial below.

Spam email campaigns, malicious ads & etc.

Once you remove all malicious files and objects associated with Spora ransomware you can go to STEP VI:Recover Encrypted Files in the removal guide below and try to recover some corrupted files. Make sure to have copies of all encrypted files before the recovery process.

Spora Ransomware Removal

STEP I: Start the PC in Safe Mode with Network
This will isolate all files and objects created by the ransomware so they will be removed efficiently.

    1) Hit WIN Key + R


    2) A Run window will appear. In it, write “msconfig” and then press Enter
    3) A Configuration box shall appear. In it Choose the tab named “Boot
    4) Mark “Safe Boot” option and then go to “Network” under it to tick it too
    5) Apply -> OK

Or check our video guide – “How to start PC in Safe Mode with Networking

STEP II: Show Hidden Files

    1) Open My Computer/This PC
    2) Windows 7

      – Click on “Organize” button
      – Select “Folder and search options
      – Select the “View” tab
      – Go under “Hidden files and folders” and mark “Show hidden files and folders” option

    3) Windows 8/ 10

      – Open “View” tab
      – Mark “Hidden items” option


    4) Click “Apply” and then “OK” button

STEP III: Enter Windows Task Manager and Stop Malicious Processes

    1) Hit the following key combination: CTRL+SHIFT+ESC
    2) Get over to “Processes
    3) When you find suspicious process right click on it and select “Open File Location
    4) Go back to Task Manager and end the malicious process. Right click on it again and choose “End Process
    5) Next you should go folder where the malicious file is located and delete it

STEP IV: Remove Completely Spora Ransomware Using SpyHunter Anti-Malware Tool

Manual removal of Spora requires being familiar with system files and registries. Removal of any important data can lead to permanent system damage. Prevent this troublesome effect – delete Spora ransomware with SpyHunter malware removal tool.

SpyHunter anti-malware tool will diagnose all current threats on the computer. By purchasing the full version, you will be able to remove all malware threats instantly. Additional information about SpyHunter / Help to uninstall SpyHunter

STEP V: Repair Windows Registry

    1) Again type simultaneously the Windows Button + R key combination
    2) In the box, write “regedit”(without the inverted commas) and hit Enter
    3) Type the CTRL+F and then write the malicious name in the search type field to locate the malicious executable
    4) In case you have discovered registry keys and values related to the name, you should delete them, but be careful not to delete legitimate keys

Further help for Windows Registry repair

STEP VI: Recover Encrypted Files

    1) Use present backups
    2) Use professional data recovery software

      Stellar Phoenix Data Recovery – a specialist tool that can restore partitions, data, documents, photos, and 300 more file types lost during various types of incidents and corruption.
      Data Recovery Pro by ParetoLogic – a Microsoft Partner program that is very powerful. It can recover not only local files but also deleted emails and connected drives.
    3) Using System Restore Point

      – Hit WIN Key
      – Select “Open System Restore” and follow the steps


    4) Restore your personal files using File History

      – Hit WIN Key
      – Type “restore your files” in the search box
      – Select “Restore your files with File History
      – Choose a folder or type the name of the file in the search bar


      – Hit the “Restore” button

STEP VII: Preventive Security Measures

    1) Enable and properly configure your Firewall.
    2) Install and maintain reliable anti-malware software.
    3) Secure your web browser.
    4) Check regularly for available software updates and apply them.
    5) Disable macros in Office documents.
    6) Use strong passwords.
    7) Don’t open attachments or click on links unless you’re certain they’re safe.
    8) Backup regularly your data.
For a faster solution, you can run a scan with an advanced malware removal tool and delete Spora Ransomware completely with a few mouse clicks.

SpyHunter anti-malware tool will diagnose all current threats on the computer. By purchasing the full version, you will be able to remove all malware threats instantly. Additional information about SpyHunter / Help to uninstall SpyHunter

Martin Beltov

Martin graduated with a degree in Publishing from Sofia University. As a cyber security enthusiast he enjoys writing about the latest threats and mechanisms of intrusion.