Remove STOP Ransomware Virus – Restore Files

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An infection with the dangerous STOP ransomware virus leads to serious security issues. With our removal guide, victims can try to secure their computers and attempt to restore encrypted files.

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

A devastating cryptovirus called STOP has been circling around the web since the end of 2017. Recently security researchers detected that the threat is released in active attack campaigns against computer users worldwide. For its spread threat actors could be utilizing widely used methods.

One of the methods that may be used by the malicious actors behind STOP ransomware includes the coordination of SPAM email messages — they are used to spread the threat by sending out messages that pose as legitimate notifications sent by popular Internet portals or services that the targets may use. The virus files can be either directly attached or linked in the body. They can also be uploaded to fake download sites which are designed to appear like any of the popular Internet portals or vendor download sites. The malicious actors may use similar sounding domain names, certificates and hijacked design and contents to coerce the victims into thinking that they are accessing the legitimate address.

Another way that the threat may spread is through infected payloads — the use of various files that are infected with virus code. A popular example is the malicious document which can take any form: presentations, rich text files, spreadsheets and databases. Once they are opened by the victims a notification message will pop-up asking the target users to enable the built-in scripts. If this is done the virus infection will follow. The other popular technique is the inclusion of the code in application installers. They are malicious copies of legitimate setup files of popular end-user programs that have been modified with the STOP ransomware code.

Ransomware files are also popularly spread by fake user profiles — they can post to community forums or social media accounts. The criminals can utilize both fake or stolen identities to increase the number of infected users.

In certain cases, the criminals may also be distributed via malicious browser plugins — additions to the most popular web browsers that are advertised as useful. The plugins are uploaded to the official repositories and often make use of fake or hijacked user reviews and developer credentials. Once they are installed by the users they will execute their built-in instructions that in many cases leads to the STOP ransomware virus infection in the end.

Impact of STOP Ransomware Virus

Analyses of STOP cryptovirus samples reveal that it acts like a typical data locker ransomware that contaminates computer system settings in order to reach targeted types of files, encode them and then extort a ransom payment for their decryption.

Even if STOP ransomware virus is not a threat that renders your PC inoperable, it applies a lot of modifications that seriously disrupt system security.

Once the execution of STOP ransomware’s payload on your system is a fact, the threat becomes able to initiate various malicious activities that support the completion of all following infection stages. For the purpose, the threat is likely to create additional malicious files directly on the system or drop them from a remote command and control server. It could be set to establish these files in some of the mentioned system folders – %Roaming% , %Windows% , %AppData% , %Local% , %Temp%

When all needed files are successfully created and established, the threat starts executing them in a predefined order. This process, in turn, results in heavy system settings modifications. Affected will be some registry keys stored by the Windows Registry, legitimate system processes as well as settings of other essential components.

Following contamination of system settings, STOP ransomware utilizes a built-in encryption module which marks the beginning of the main infection stage – data encryption. Since this module is designed to transform the original code of targeted files with a combination of two sophisticated cipher algorithms – AES and RSA, after encryption, corrupted files remain unusable. Only when their code is reverted back to its original state victims could access stored data again.

Encrypted and as a consequence renamed with the extension .STOP could be:

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

The end of the attack could be recognized by the appearance of a text file with a ransom message. The ransomware loads the file !!!YourDataRestore!!!.txt on the screen to inform you about its presence and the impacts it has just caused. This ransom message attempts to blackmail you into paying hackers a ransom fee. Here is its full text:

All your important files were encrypted on this PC.

All files with .STOP extension are encrypted.

Encryption was produced using unique private key RSA-1024 generated for this computer.

To decrypt your files, you need to obtain private key + decrypt software.

To retrieve the private key and decrypt software, you need to contact us by email [email protected] send us an email your !!!YourDataRestore!!!.txt file and wait for further instructions.

For you to be sure, that we can decrypt your files – you can send us a 1-3 any not very big encrypted files and we will send you back it in a original form FREE.

Price for decryption $600 if you contact us first 72 hours.

Your personal id:

[Redacted] E-mail address to contact us:

[email protected]

Reserve email address to contact us:

[email protected]

The good news for all victims of STOP ransomware is that security researchers have managed to crack the code of this threat and eventually released a free decryption tool. So once you remove all present malicious files and objects from your infected system you don’t need to contact hackers nor to pay them the requested ransom.

Instead you could download the decryption tool and start the recovery process. Beware that you should first back up all encrypted files to an external drive. Otherwise, you risk their irreversible loss.

Note!

The same decryption tool is also working for STOP ransomware versions .puma, .pumax, .pumas, .djvu, .djvuq, .djvur, .djvut, .djvuu, .pdff, .tfude, .trudet, .tfudeq, .tro, and .udjvu

Remove STOP Ransomware Virus and Restore PC

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

DOWNLOAD SpyHunter Anti-Malware Tool

STOP 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 STOP 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

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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    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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