Remove .like Dharma Ransomware Infections — Restore .like Files

An infection with the dangerous .like Dharma ransomware virus leads to serious security issues. With our removal guide victims can try to restore and protect their computers.

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

.like Dharma 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 .like 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 .like 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 .like 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 .like Dharma 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 .like Dharma Ransomware Virus

The .like Dharma variant is a newly discovered strain of the Dharma ransomware family. One of the main distribution methods is the delivery of executable files. This shows that the virus is deliberately made in order to spread in a bulk-like manner. Such files are also used to spread a single configuration based on the hacker-made configuration.

As such the .like Dharma virus variants can feature the full impact as every other version of the family. It is very likely that it will follow a classic infection behavior. This virus tactic begins with a data collection module which harvests useful information by looking out for specific strings. The first main group of data is related to personal information that can be abused by the criminals to reveal the identity of the victims. Such information contains strings that can reveal a person’s name, address, phone number, location, interests and account credentials.

Other information that is acquired by the engine is related to the generation of the unique victim ID. This includes a report of the installed hardware components, certain user settings and operating system variables. Using a special algorithm these values are processed and as a result the ID is generated.

This is followed by a stealth protection engine which can take advantage of the harvested information in order to scan for the presence of any security software that can interfere with the virus infection. This includes anti-virus engines, sandbox (debug) environments and virtual machine hosts.

At this point the .like Dharma virus will be able to have complete control of the system. Popular ransomware threats will institute Windows Registry modifications and creation of strings associated with the virus. If the changes alter any values belonging to the operating system then key services and basic functionality can be impacted. Modifications to third-party applications can lead to errors during their use and severe performance issues. At this stage the modular engine can also create strings for the virus itself. This is part of the persistent threat mechanism which manipulates the system to automatically start the infection every time the computer is powered on. It can also disable the ability to enter into the recovery boot menu thereby making many manual user removal instructions obsolete.

The .like Dharma ransomware virus can be programmed to delete sensitive user data. Examples of this is the removal of Shadow Volume Copies and System Restore Points. If this is done so then the users will face additional troubles when attempting to fully restore their systems.

Some Dharma ransomware variants can also insert a Trojan module which is used by the hacker operators to spy on the victim users in real-time. It works by connecting the infected client to a hacker-controlled server over an encrypted connection. This client instance allows the operators to spy on the users in real-time, as well as to hijack their data both before and after encryption.

When all prior components have completed execution the .like Dharma ransomware engine will be ccalled. It functions in the same way as previous strains of this malware family by processing target data 3ith a strong engine. The victims will be left with locked files and a ransomware note asking for payment in return for decryption. A list of specific file type extensions is used by the encryption engine to decide what user data will be affected. An example list is the following:

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

All of the victim files are to be renamed with the .like extension. The accompanying ransomware note (either in a .TXT or .DOC file) will feature the blackmail message written by the hacker operators.

Remove .like Dharma Ransomware Virus and Restore PC

Please note that paying the requested ransom fee to cyber criminals does not really solve your problem with .like Dharma 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 .like Dharma 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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.like Dharma 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 Encrypted Files

WARNING! All files and objects associated with .like Dharma 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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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

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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