Leto Virus Ransomware (.leto File) – How to Remove + Restore Data

Why are all your valuable files marked with the extension .leto ? What is Leto virus? How did it land on the PC? How to get rid of Leto ransomware and make .leto files work again?

The Leto virus is malicious software of ransomware type. It is reported to be yet another vicious data locker ransomware that belongs to STOP threat family. Leto is designed to plague computer systems in order to corrupt personal files. Then it forces victims to pay a ransom fee to hackers.

A sure sign of infection with Leto virus is the appearance of an extension of the same name .leto at the end of the names of valuable files stored on the infected device. Unfortunately, Leto ransomware will prevent you from accessing them. This comes as a result of an encryption process. The encryption is realized via strong cipher algorithms like AES and RSA. At the end of the attack, the ransomware drops a ransom message that extorts ransom payment for a decryption tool.

If you wonder how to effectively remove Leto ransomware virus keep up with our removal guide. By the end of it, you will also know how to restore .leto files.

Manual Removal Guide
Files Recovery Approaches
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Note for Mac users!
In case that your Mac has been affected by Leto 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 Leto Virus

Leto virus is a new data locker ransomware that has been released in active attack campaigns against computer users worldwide. The threat could be utilizing common tactics of distribution to infect computer systems.

One of the easiest ways for the criminals to spread the payload of Leto 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 Leto 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 Leto 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 Leto 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 Leto Ransomware Virus

The so-called Leto cryptovirus has been detected in active attack campaigns. It is based on the code of the infamous ransomware STOP.

As soon as the payload file of Leto virus loads on your machine, it triggers a long sequence of malicious commands that corrupt main operating system settings. Plagued could be some registry keys, shadow volume copies, and essential system processes.

These are some common folder locations where Leto virus may be hiding malicious files and objects:

  • %SystemDrive%\C:\)
  • %SystemRoot%\C:\Windows, %WinDir%\
  • %UserProfile%\
  • %UserProfile%\AppData\Roaming\
  • %AppData%\
  • %LocalAppData%\
  • %ProgramData%\%AllUserProfile%\
  • %Temp%\%AppData%\Local\Temp\

The main goal of Leto ransomware is to become able to activate а specific cipher module that corrupts target files by utilizing sophisticated cipher algorithms like AES, RSA, and Salsa20. At the end of the encryption process, the ransomware appends an extension of the same name – .leto

Unfortunately, since all of the following types of files are often used for the storage of important data, they are likely to be corrupted by Leto STOP ransomware:

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

At the end of the attack, Leto virus ransomware drops ransom note file to extort a ransom fee for files recovery. When opened that file may state the following:

Be advised to avoid paying the ransom as afterward hackers could send you a broken decryption key or even skip answering you at all.

Remove Leto Ransomware Virus and Restore PC

Please note that paying the requested ransom fee to cybercriminals does not really solve your problem with Leto 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.

Beware that the manual removal of present malicious entries requires quite a lot of computer experience. At the same time, you have to clean up your system if you want to use it securely again. So in the event that you don’t feel quite comfortable with the manual removal steps you could consider the help of an advanced malware removal tool that will locate malicious entries and delete them for you in just a few minutes.

WARNING! Manual removal of Leto 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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Leto 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 Leto

4. Mark Safe Leto 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 Encrypted Files

WARNING! All files and objects associated with Leto 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.

DOWNLOAD SpyHunter Anti-Malware Tool

 
SpyHunter is a Windows application designed to scan for, identify, remove and block malware, potentially unwanted programs (PUPs) and other objects. By purchasing the full version, you will be able to remove detected malware instantly. Additional information about SpyHunter / Help to uninstall SpyHunter

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

How to Prevent Future Malware Instrusions?

  • 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.
  • Avatar

    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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    Comments

    • Hello Mahesh,

      The best you can do at this time is to remove all malicious files established on the system by Leto virus, make a backup of your .leto files and wait for a free decryption tool. Security experts at Emsisoft have managed to develop a decryption tool for 148 STOP ransomware variants. In addition, the security researcher Michael Gillespie has also released a free decryption tool for victims whose machines store offline ID keys. Hopefully, the release of .lеto files decryption tool will happen soon.

    • Hi Shivam Nandan,

      Yes, this action will remove malicious entries. However, if you want to keep your handy apps as well as your own system settings, it will be better to remove only malicious files created by Leto ransomware. This you can do by following the removal steps in our guide. Before the beginning make sure to back up all encrypted .leto files to an external drive so that you can keep them safe until a free decryption tool appears in the wild. Hope this answer is helpful. If you need further assistance, please do contact us again.

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