Alternative Ransomware Decryption Methods

Have you recently been infected by a ransomware virus? In this article we are going to explore alternative solutions if you do not want to pay the ransomware fee to the criminals. There are several decryption methods that you can use to recover the files and try to eradicate the active virus infections. 

Here Are Some Alternative Decryption Options

Ransomware attacks are one of the most dangerous instances of computer security crime in the last few years. Upon infection these viruses encrypt user files and use blackmail tactics to extort a ransomware fee from the victims. In the majority of cases the criminals do not recover the files. Lately we have witnessed several major malware families and popular strains which do not quote a fixed sum. The hackers inspect the “quality” of the apprehended data and create a “custom quote”, especially if the files contain sensitive account credentials.

In this article we are exploring some alternative ways of removing ransomware infections. They might help, to a varying degree, depending on the complexity of the virus. Still we recommend that everyone use a trusted anti-spyware solution as it will guarantee that the infection will be completely removed. Such software also contain advanced protection engines which guard against all types of malware intrusions – ransomware, browser hijackers, Trojans and etc. For more information you can browser our article Should I Buy Anti-malware Protection For My Computer?.

The Manual Removal Method

This method involves the isolation of the ransomware file using manual methods. The best results are achieved when the user has booted into the Safe Mode with Networking environment. This can be achieved by following these steps:

  1. Press the Windows Key + R keyboard combination.

  2. In the dialog box type “msconfig” and press the Enter key.

  3. This opens up the System Configuration utility. Choose the Boot tab, mark Safe Mode and tick the “Network” option. Apply the changes by pressing the OK button.

 

When you reboot the computer will start up in Safe boot mode. The next step is to show the hidden files on the affected computer. Depending on the operating system version this is done in a slightly different manner.

Microsoft Windows 7

  1. Click on “Organize” button.

  2. Select “Folder and search options”.

  3. Select the “View” tab.

  4. Go under “Hidden files and folders” and mark “Show hidden files and folders” option.

  5. Click “Apply” and the “OK” button.

Windows 8/10

  1. Open “View” tab.

  2. Mark “Hidden items” option.

  3. Click “Apply” and the “OK” button.

The next step is to stop (kill) the malicious processes using the Task Manager.

  1. The user needs to issue the following keyboard combination CTRL+SHIFT+ESC.

  2. When a suspicious process is identified the user needs to right click on it and select the “Open File Location” option. This option opens up the folder where it is located.

  3. The user can go back to the Task Manager application, right click on the process and choose the “End Process“.

  4. When the process is ended, the relevant file can be deleted.

An important step is to repair the Windows registry, we have created an in-depth which you can read here.

File Recovery

To recover the affected data the victims can opt to choose several different options. Depending on the virus complexity some of them will be less efficient than the others.

  1. Using Windows System Restore – This is the built-in option that is available in the Microsoft Windows operating system. It relies on a simple mechanism – on set intervals of time the system automatically creates backup copies of user data which can be recovered using the built-in tool. This is not a reliable option as most viruses nowadays remove the Shadow Volume Copies which are the actual snapshot copies.

    Here are the steps that you need to follow:

    1. Press the Windows Key and R keyboard combination.

    2. Type regedit and press the Enter key.

    3. Press CTRL + F and type in the name of the virus threat.

    4. The user can delete any found registry values that look suspicious. Be careful, critical system changes may occur.

  2. Use specialized Data Recovery Software Solutions – The use of industry standard and professional-grade solutions can guarantee a very high degree of efficiency. These applications rely on advanced algorithms and if you want to explore this option we recommend that you read our in-depth article.

  3. Using Ransomware Decryptors – Some of the weaker ransomware strains which use ciphers with known weaknesses have been decrypted by security engineers. If this is the case a free ransomware decrypter may be used to restore the affected files. However bear in mind that they are not able to remove the actual virus.

Conclusion

There are several methods that can help alleviate a ransomware infection. However the results may vary, if the virus is advanced a simple file recovery may not be possible without the use of specialist tools that can recover the files using complex methods. In addition deep infections cannot be removed using these methods as there may be system modifications that can prohibit the user from interacting with the computer.

For guaranteed results we recommend the use of a trusted anti-spyware solution which is able to remove infections in a quick and easy manner.

Author : 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.


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