Dharma .combo Ransomware Virus Removal Guide (Full Instructions)

remove dharma ransomware restore .combo files bestsecuritysearch

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

Manual Removal Guide
Recover .combo Files
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Note for Mac users!
In case that your Mac has been affected by Dharma .combo or you suspect that other threats are running on it you can follow detailed instructions on how to detect and remove Mac viruses so you can keep the device clean and secure.

Distribution of Dharma .combo Ransomware Virus

Dharma .combo virus is a new data locker ransomware that belongs to Dharma ransomware family. This new iteration has been released in attack campaigns against computer users worldwide. The threat could be utilizing widely used tactics of distribution to infect computer systems.

One of the easiest ways for the criminals to spread the payload of Dharma ransomware is by attaching it to email messages that are later released in active attack campaigns. The method allows hackers to send the virus to large lists of potential victims. The attachments to malicious email spam messages usually have Word documents or other types of files which users open without hesitation. Once opened on a target host these compromised files trigger the ransomware payload and infect the device with Dharma crypto virus. Another infection tactic related to emails is hyperlink inserted in the content of the messages. The links are usually labeled as leading to a familiar website or a file of user interest.

Computer criminals behind this new ransomware can be using malicious sites or download portals to distribute malware of different kinds, including Dharma 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 Dharma .combo 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 add-ons 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 Dharma .combo Ransomware Virus

The notorious Dharma ransomware has been spotted once again in active attack campaigns. This time the threat is using a sequence of three extensions to mark all corrupted files. The pattern includes an ID number, a contact email combo@tutanota.de left by hackers and the distinctive extension .combo.

Alike some of its predecessors (Dharma .bip, Dharma .wallet, Dharma .arrow, and other) this new Dharma .combo primarily aims to encode target types of files stored on the machines it compromises. But before this infection phase, the ransomware needs to establish its malicious files on the system in order to become able to plague essential system settings and gain persistence. For the purpose Dharma .combo perform various system modifications by triggering its malicious files on the system.

The threat is likely to be designed to evade detection and support its malicious activities by taking over some legitimate system processes. One way to detect that something wrong is happening with your system is the temporary malfunction that the infection process is likely to cause. If you manage to detect the ransomware on time you could prevent the encryption phase by shutting down the device. However, ransomware is an infection with highly sophisticated code and the detection of its activities that are running on the background is hard task even for experienced computer users.

Once all modules have been executed the ransomware engine will be started. Using a strong cipher it will target files based on a built-in list. An example list includes the following data:

  • Images
  • Videos
  • Music
  • Documents
  • Archives
  • Backups

Following encryption all corrupted files stay renamed with the specific sequence of extensions associated with this new Dharma ransomware. For example a files called mydog.jpg will be renamed to mydog.jpg.id-.[hackers’email].combo and the information it stores will remain inaccessible until an effective restore solution reverts back the original code.

It is likely that you have learned about the existence of the threat after it finished the last infection phase which is ransom message display. Once Dharma .combo encrypts all target files it drops a ransom note to inform you about its presence and impact. The file could be hosted on the desktop or in some of the folders that contain encrypted .combo files. At this point there is no exact information what is stated in the message but based on our research experience we could guess that it urges victims to pay a specified ransom amount in exchange for a specific decryption key that could restore all .combo files. For the sake of your security it is advisable to avoid any negotiations with hackers and refrain from ransom payment. There is no guarantee that they possess a working decryption solution so eventually along with your data you may lose your money too.

Remove Dharma .combo Ransomware Virus and Restore PC

Please note that paying the requested ransom fee to cyber criminals does not really solve your problem with Dharma .combo crypto virus. In fact, you only encourage hackers to continue spreading ransomware of this kind. Instead, you must remove the threat immediately, and only then look for optional ways to recover your data.

WARNING! Manual removal of Dharma .combo ransomware 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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CryptON Ransomware 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 below 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

Show Hidden Files

Some ransomware threats are designed to hide their malicious files in the Windows so all files stored on the system should be visible.

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

how to make hidden files visible in Windows 8 10 bestsecuritysearch instructions

4. Click Apply and then OK button

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

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

Recover .combo Files

WARNING! All files and objects associated with Dharma .combo ransomware virus should be removed from the infected PC before any data recovery attempts. Otherwise the virus may encrypt restored files. Furthermore, a backup of all encrypted files stored on external media is highly recommendable.

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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.

3. Using System Restore Point

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

restore-files-using-windows-system-restore-point

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

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.
  • Gergana Ivanova

    Author : Gergana Ivanova

    Gergana Ivanova is computer security enthusiast who enjoys presenting the latest issues related to cyber security.


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