Complete .styx Virus Removal Guide (Full Instructions)

.styx virus image

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

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

The .styx 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 .styx 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 .styx Virus infection.

The computer criminals behind the malware can create malicious sites or download portals which distribute malware of different kinds, including the .styx 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 .styx 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 .styx Virus

The .styx virus is a recently discovered malware threat that has been identified as a whole new malware family. It appears that it is made by a yet unknown hacker or criminal collective. At the moment a global attack wave has been launched. Its original name was found to be Styx Ransomware as described in its signature. At the moment only the base engine has beeen identified which means that it will be updated further with additional components.

The .styx virus can be sold on the underground hacker markets or traded within different criminal communities. It does have a wide variety of features built-in that gives it a distinct advantage over other competitors. Beginner hackers usually choose to create their own versions of the Hidden Tear malware family which. The primary reason is the availability of many tutorials and video guides on how to do this. However the use of the .styx virus has the advantage of having many of the add-on components part of Hidden Tear part of the base engine.

During the early phases of infection the .styx virus samples have been found to employ a stealth protection technique. It gives the malware the ability to detect security software such as anti-virus applications, firewalls and intrusion detection solutions. If they cannot be disabled or removed by the .styx virus engine then the infection may opt to remove itself to prevent detection.

An extensive information gathering operation takes place soon after. It can obtain sensitive information about the compromised computers and the victim itself. The list of gathered data includes the available hardware components, installed software, as well as any user data stored in them. An example that is often given are the web browsers as they are among the most widely used applications. The hackers can gain access to all stored information such as stored cookies, history, bookmarks and account credentials.

The .styx virus have also been found to extract regional and language settings. They can be taken both from the operating system itself (Microsoft Windows) and the installed applications. The obtained data is used to determine which version of the ransomware note to display once the encrypted phase has started.

An anti-debugging module is also activated. It prevents deep analysis by most programming tools such as sandbox environments, virtual machines and debuggers. This is done by setting up guarded memory regions that cannot be accessed by them.

Extensive system modifications are being made — the Windows registry, system files and user settings. As a result the victims may experience perrformance issues, application failure and certain system services may stop working.

The .styx virus infection module seems to be able to query the volume information available to the operating system. This makes it easy to access network shares and removable devices as well. The .styx virus initiates a network connection with the malware command and control (C&C) servers. Using them the hacker operators can send commands to the infected hosts. Effectively this means the arbitrary commands can be executed on the hosts as commanded by the users.

Once all prerequisite conditions have been met the encryption phase is started. It uses a powerful cipher (AES-256) to encrypt a built-in list of target file type extensions. During the initial analysis it was found that the captured strains act against the following data:

.123, .602, .asm, .CSV, .dif, .DOC, .docb, .docm, .docx, .DOT, .dotm, .dotx, .hwp, .mml, .odg, .odp,
.ods, .odt, .otg, .otp, .ots, .ott, .pdf, .pot, .potm, .potx, .ppam, .pps, .ppsm, .ppsx, .PPT, .pptm,
.pptx, .RTF, .rtf, .sldm, .sldx, .slk, .stc, .std, .sti, .stw, .sxc, .sxd, .sxi, .sxm, .sxw, .txt, .uop,
.uot, .wb2, .wk1, .wks, .xlc, .xlm, .XLS, .xlsb, .xlsm, .xlsx, .xlt, .xltm, .xltx, .xlw, .xm

All victim files are assigned the .styx extension. Several ransomware note files are created:

  • 0_HELP_DECRYPT_FILES.txt
  • 0_HELP_DECRYPT_FILES2.txt
  • 0_HELP_DECRYPT_FILES.html
  • 0_HELP_DECRYPT_FILES2.html

All files contain the same message:

Attention!
All of your files have been encrypted by Styx Ransomware!

—-Not your language? USE: https://translate.google.com/—-
————————————————————————————————-
All of your files (photos, videos, documents, etc) are encrypted using AES-256 bit encryption
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Advanced_Encryption_Standard

Decrypting of your files is only possible with the private key and a decrypt program which is on our secret server.
Decryption of your files will cost you $300 Dollars worth of Bitcoin
Your files will be lost at 12/20/2017 7:12:35 PM, when this date has been passed your files are lost forever.

Please follow these instructions:

1. You can make a payment with Bitcoin, there are many methods to get them.

2. Register a bitcoin wallet or login to one if you already have one, if you don’t we recommend http://blockchain.info

3. Purchasing Bitcoins, altought it’s not yet easy to buy bitcoins, it’s getting simpler every day

Here are our recommendations:
https://localbitcoins.com/ International
https://blockchain.info
https://coincafe.com
https://buy.bitcoin.com/

4. Send 300$ dollars worth of Bitcoins to the address specified below. After sending bitcoins send email to [email protected] with your Personal Identifier and your Bitcoin transaction ID
We will send you the decryption key and program after the payment has been confirmed

————————————————————————————–
YOUR PERSONAL Identifier: [redacted hex] Bitcoin Address: 15mA1ea42KSRpjYDiEJYjrHCjjMp3Cq3SG
Bitcoin Amount: 300$ dollars worth of Bitcoins
————————————————————————————–
5. After your payment has been confirmed, you will receive your decryption program and key in 1 hour
to email address that was used in Step 4.
.

The hackers extort the sum of $300 payable in the Bitcoin digital currency as well as a time limit. The criminal operators favor this method of payment as it helps them to remain anonymous. The transactions cannot be tracked down to certain individuals. In addition the creation of a time limit makes for an additional concern that may coerce the victims further.

The criminal operators are using an email address that is hosted by the mail2tor service. This is a well-known Tor Hidden service that allows customers to use an anonymous messaging platform. We highly recommend that all victims refrain from contacting them and use an advanced anti-spyware solutiion that can efffectively remove and protect against such infections.

Remove .styx Virus and Restore PC

WARNING! Manual removal of the .styx 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

.styx 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 .styx 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.

run-window-windows

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

appwiz-cpl-command-run-windows

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“.

uninstall-malicious-software-control-panel-programs-features-windows

Remove .styx 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“.
    add-ons-mozilla-removal-browser-hijacker-guide

    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“.
    remove-suspicious-extensions-mozilla-removal-browser-hijacker-guide

    3. Click again on the Open menu icon, then click “Options“.
    options-mozilla-firefox-removal-browser-hijacker-guide

    4. In the Options window, under “General” tab, click “Restore to Default“.
    restore-to-default-settings-mozilla-firefox-removal-guide-browser-hijacker

    5. Select “Search” in the left menu, mark the unknown search engine and press “Remove”.
    search-remove-unknown-search-engine-mozilla-firefox-removal-guide-browser-hijacker

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

    settings-google-chrome-browser-hijacker-removal-guide

    2. Click “Extensions” in the left menu. Then click on the trash bin icon to remove the suspicious extension.
    delete-suspicious-extension-google-chrome-browser-hijacker-removal-guide

    3. Again in the left menu, under Chrome, Click on “Settings“. Go under “On Startup” and set a new page.
    set-new-page-google-chrome-browser-hijacker-removal-guide

    4. Afterward, scroll down to “Search“, click on “Manage search engines“.
    manage-search-engines-google-chrome-browser-hijacker-removal-guide

    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“.
manage-add-ons-internet-explorer-removal-browser-hijacker-bestsecuritysearch

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“.
remove-suspicious-toolbars--internet-explorer-removal-browser-hijacker

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”.
search-providers-set-engine-delete-suspicious-internet-explorer-removal-browser-hijacker

4. Open the Tools menu, select “Internet Options”.
internet-options-internet-explorer-removal-browser-hijacker

5. In the “General” tab, in “Home page”, enter your preferred page. Click “Apply” and “OK”.
enter-preferred-homepage-internet-explorer-removal-browser-hijacker

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.
  • How disturbing is this problem?

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    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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