Complete .AES Virus Removal Guide (Full Instructions)


An infection with the dangerous .AES Virus leads to serious security issues. Victims can restore and protect their computers by following our complete removal guide.

Remove .AES Virus and Restore PC
Manual Removal Guide
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Distribution of .AES Virus

The .AES Virus is a new virus which has been sighted in a limited attack campaign. At the moment the security researchers cannot determine the primary infection strategy. We presume that the most widely used tactics are going to be employed.

Among them are the email messages created in an automated way and sent to large lists of potential victims. The .AES Virus can be directly attached to the messages. This is one of the easiest way for the criminals to attempt the infection. However a lot of email hosting providers usually capture the signatures of the virus and as such discard such messages or label them as dangerous or spam. Other infection methods related to this one is the option of inserting hyperlinks in the body content of the messages. The links are usually labelled as leading to a familiar website or a file of user interest. Redirects can redirect to hacker-controlled sites, infected payloads or other instances that can lead to an .AES Virus infection.

The computer criminals behind the malware can create malicious sites or download portals which distribute malware of different kinds, including the .AES Virus. A popular option is the use of infected documents which may be of different types ‒ spreadsheets, rich text documents, presentations and databases. They are modified to initiate the virus once the built-in scripts are run. Usually when the files are opened a notification will ask the users to run the macros (scripts). If this is done the infection follows.

The hacker-controlled sites are specialist portals that have been created either manually or automatically by the criminals behind the .AES Virus. They can either directly distribute the threat by initiating various scripts or automated operations or link to such instances. Redirects are usually caused by email interaction, ad networks or other browsing activity. However one of the main sources is the availability of browser hijackers. They are malicious addons made for the most popular web browsers ‒ Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome, Internet Explorer, Opera, Microsoft Edge and Safari. Once installed they not only infect the users with the malware, but also redirect the victims to a hacker-controlled site. Depending on the configuration the browser hijackers can also steal sensitive information such as any stored passwords, account credentials, history, bookmarks, form data and settings.

Impact of .AES Virus

The .AES virus is a newly discovered malware threat which is also known under the name of Pulply ransomware. At the moment no information is available about the identity of the hacker or criminal collective behind it. The collected malware samples have been analyzed, the results show that it is based on code snippets from various threats. As such it is likely that the malware operators are beginner users.

The modular framework which powers the .AES virus code can be further extended in upcoming versions. The collected samples so far showcase that only a basic engine is integrated in the malware. As one of the most popular ways of getting infected with it is the use of outdated software and weak passwords. As a consequence the criminal operators can opt to include other additions to the newer versions. Updated .AES virus can follow a more complex infection pattern that includes the following characteristics:

  • Stealth Protection — If properly configured the .AES virus can protect itself from discovery and removal from security software by looking out for any installed sandboxes, virtual machines or anti-virus products. They can be bypassed or removed by the engine in an automated manner. In certain cases the hackers can include the possibility of self-removal to avoid detection.
  • Information Gathering — As soon as the virus has infiltrated the victim machines it can be programmed to extact a lot of sensitive information about the machine and the users themselves. A detailed system scan ensures that the hackers can build a profile of the computers. The values are usually used as parameters when calculating the unique victim ID. User information is extracted both from the operating system itself, as well as the installed applications. In the most popular this impacts the web browsers as they are among the most commonly used software on desktop computers. The .AES virus can extract the stored data from the most widely installed ones (Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Opera, Microsoft Edge, Safari and Internet Explorer). Example data include the following: cookies, bookmarks, stored form data, preferences, history, passwords and account credentials.
  • System Changes — The .AES virus can be used to institute dangerous changes to the victim machines. This includes the Windows registry, system services and other important components of the operating system. As a result some important functions may stop working and the victims can experience performance issues. Examples of dangerous behavior include modifications to the boot process — the criminal operators can disable startup recovery and advanced boot options in order to prevent manual virus removal techniques.
  • Persistent Installation — Updated versions of the .AES virus can install themselves in a persistent way which monitors the users activity and counters any manual removal attempts. Such infections can be removed using quality anti-spyware software.
  • Trojan Component Installation — The criminal operators behind the .AES virus can install a Trojan component in updated versions. They can be used to monitor the victims at all times as well as take over control of the machines at any given time.
  • Browser Hijacker Code Instalaltion — Newer versions can integrate malware code directly into the browsers. This is used to manipulate the users into visiting dangerous sites.

The malware engine is capable of interacting with the system volume manager in order to gain access to network shares and removable devices. The analysts discovered that the .AES virus starts its ransomware engine after all prerequisite conditions have been met. Like other popular threats it uses a built-in list of target file type extensions. A sample list targets the following data:

.aes, .ani, .CAB, .cpl, .cur, .dat, .deskthemepack, .diagcab, .diagpkg, .dmp, .drv, .hlp, .icl,
.ico, .icons, .lnk, .mod, .msp, .msstyles, .ocx, .rtp, .settingcontent-ms, .sys, .SYS, .themepack
bootmgr bootmgr

Three exclusions lists are also embedded, the first one is related to folders which are skipped:

Program Files
ProgramData
C:\Users\All Users\Microsoft
AppData
C:\Drivers
Windows
WINDOWS
windows
\Desctop

The other exclusions list is based on strings that are part of the files. If the .AES virus detects any of the following names part of the files then they will be skipped:

Program Files
Windows
ProgramData
C:\Users\All Users\Microsoft
C:\Users\Default\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft
AppData\Local\Packages
AppData

Several file type extensions are also skipped:

.accdb, .b2, .db, .dbf, .mdb, .mdf, .sdf, .sis

The hackers behind the .AES have also disallowed encryption of files larger than 10 MB.

The ransomware note is created in a file called Instruction.txt that reads the following message:

Hi, all your files have been encrypted. You can decipher if you write to me on the mail:pulpy2@cock.li
Otherwise, all your files will be deleted within 2 days without any problems!

Remove .AES Virus and Restore PC

WARNING! Manual removal of the .AES Virus requires being familiar with system files and registries. Removing important data accidentally can lead to permanent system damage. If you don’t feel comfortable with manual instructions, download a powerful anti-malware tool that will scan your system for malware and clean it safely for you.

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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

.AES Virus – Manual Removal Steps

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. The steps bellow are applicable to all Windows versions.

1. Hit the 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

Remove .AES from Windows

Here’s a way to remove the program. This method will work regardless if you’re on Windows 10, 8, 7, Vista or XP. Simply selecting the program and pressing delete won’t work, as it’ll leave a lot of small files. That’s bad because these leftovers can linger on and cause all sorts of problems. The best way to delete a program is to uninstall it. Here’s how you can do that:

1. Hold the “Windows” button (It’s between CTRL and Alt on most keyboards) and press “R”. You’ll see a pop-up window.

2. In the textbox, type “appwiz.cpl”, then press“ Enter ”.

3. The “Programs and features” menu should now appear. It’s a list of all the programs installed on the PC. Here you can find the program, select it, and press “Uninstall“.

Remove .AES Virus From Your Browser

Before resetting your browser’s settings, you should know that this action will wipe out all your recorded usernames, passwords, and other types of data. Make sure to save them in some way.

Removal guide for Mozilla Firefox Removal guide for Google Chrome Removal guide for Internet Explorer

    1. Start Mozilla Firefox. In the upper right corner, click on the Open menu icon and select “Add-ons“.

    2. Inside the Add-ons Manager select “Extensions“. Search the list of extensions for suspicious entries. If you find any, select them and click “Remove“.

    3. Click again on the Open menu icon, then click “Options“.

    4. In the Options window, under “General” tab, click “Restore to Default“.

    5. Select “Search” in the left menu, mark the unknown search engine and press “Remove”.

    1. Start Google Chrome. On the upper-right corner, there a “Customize and Control” menu icon. Click on it, then click on “Settings“.

    2. Click “Extensions” in the left menu. Then click on the trash bin icon to remove the suspicious extension.

    3. Again in the left menu, under Chrome, Click on “Settings“. Go under “On Startup” and set a new page.

    4. Afterward, scroll down to “Search“, click on “Manage search engines“.

    5. In the default search settings list, find the unknown search engine and click on “X“. Then select your search engine of choice and click “Make default“. When you are ready click “Done” button in the right bottom corner.

1. Start Internet Explorer. Go to the “Tools” menu and click on “Manage add-ons“.

2. In the “Manage add-ons” window, bellow “Add-on Types“, select “Toolbars and Extensions“. If you see a suspicious toolbar, select it and click “Remove“.

3. Then again in the “Manage Add-ons” window, in “Add-on Types“, Select “Search Providers“. Chose a search engine and click “Set as default“. Select the unknown search engine and click “Remove and Close”.

4. Open the Tools menu, select “Internet Options”.

5. In the “General” tab, in “Home page”, enter your preferred page. Click “Apply” and “OK”.

Repair Windows Registry

1. Again type simultaneously the WIN Key + R key combination

2. In the box, write regedit 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

Click for more information about Windows Registry and further repair help

Preventive Security Measures

  • Enable and properly configure your Firewall.
  • Install and maintain reliable anti-malware software.
  • Secure your web browser.
  • Check regularly for available software updates and apply them.
  • Disable macros in Office documents.
  • Use strong passwords.
  • Don’t open attachments or click on links unless you’re certain they’re safe.
  • Backup regularly your data.
  • 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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