VapeLauncher ransomware is a dangerous malware based on existing code that can be removed easily by following our complete removal guide.
VapeLauncherd Ransomware Description
Malware researchers have discovered a dangerous new virus called VapeLauncher ransomware. This is a highly severe threat as it is descendant from CryptoWire, a well-known malware which has its code posted on various popular sites.
This is a customized version of the core threat and as such brings a lot of new things, one of the most dangerous characteristics of it is that it not only encrypts target files with the AES-256 cipher. It also deletes all Shadow Volume Copies from the victim computers which makes data recovery very difficult without the use of quality data recovery software.
The initial infection is done by several primary methods of infection. One of them involves a payload trigger which is initiated by a downloaded file. One of the samples indicate that an example file is one called Vape2.6-Minecrafthax.net.zip which impersonates a Minecraft-related cheating utility (also known as a “hacking tool”).
The CryptoWire threat is similar to the HiddenTear and EDA2 families as a popular code base for creating new malware. The VapeLauncher ransomware uses a strong encryption engine to target specific files using the powerful AES-256 cipher.
It is very possible that the VapeLauncher also contains strong stealth protection features. These are modules which typically follow a predefined routine of infection:
- Before starting the initial infection the virus checks for any running anti-virus or anti-spyware solutions installed on the host machine. If such are detected then the virus deletes itself and removes all traces.
- Other types of stealth protection techniques involves modifying the settings of the running security solutions and placing the virus in the whitelist.
- Upon intrusion the virus may set up a persistent environment for itself which can stop any running processes and prevent other utilies and programs from interfering the encyption engine.
The following dangerous characteristics have been noted:
- The Virus Can Affect Network Shares & Removable Devices – The virus is capable of targeting mapped network shares and other removable storage.
- Services – The virus is capable of infecting online cloud services such as OneDrive, Dropbox and Google Drive.
- System Sabotage – The ransomware is able to prevent normal interaction with the infected computer. This is done by displaying an error when the computer boots.
- Persistence – The fact that the virus can modify so many settings and files makes it very difficult to remove without the use of a quality anti-spyware solution.
Upon infection the encryption process is started which encrypt the following file type extensions:
.7z, .bmp, .doc, .docm, .docx, .html, .jpeg, .jpg, .mp3, .mp4, .pdf, .php, .ppt, .pptx, .rar, .rtf, .sql, .tiff, .txt, .xls, .xlsx, .zip
They include some of the mst popular archives, photos, documents, databases and other commonly used data. All of the affected files receive the .encrypted extension.
The virus displays the ransom note in an application window which reads the following contents:
Your files has been encrypted
[number of encrypted files]
The only way you can recover your files is to buy a decryption key
The payment method is: Bitcoins. The price is: $200 = Bitcoins
Click on the ‘Buy decryption key’ button.
As usual the hackers extort the victims for a ransom payment. The malware requests the sum of 200 US Dollars payable in Bitcoins.
VapeLauncher Ransomware Distribution
Like other similar it threats it uses double extensions to trick beginner users into executing it. Once the targets interacts with the file the Vape Launcher.exe main executable is crafted and executed.
The ransomware itself can be distributed using one of the following strategies:
- Download Sites and BitTorrent Trackers – As some of its samples pose as Minecraft hacking tools and cheats it is very easy to acquire a copy from gaming-related download sites, portals and forums. Other possible sources include BitTorrent trackers and related P2P networks.
- Email Spam – The virus creators employ bulk spam messages which can be sent from hacker-controlled inboxes and servers. In most of the cases they employ infected Microsoft Office documents or hyperlinks in legitimate-looking messages that pose as originating from famous companies, vendors, financial institutions or government agencies. Such social engineering tactics are the primary reason why ransomware infections have become so succesful.
- Social Networks and Online Community Sharing – A very popular place for distributing gaming-related content include various forums, social networks and chat networks that are popular among PC gamers. As the virus poses as a Minecraft hacking utility it would be very easy to infect a lot of victims using such tactics.
- Dangerous Redirects & Browser Hijackers – Hacker-controlled scripts and ad networks not only generate revenue for the hackers, but they also infect the users with the dangerous virus. Browser hijackers modify the settings of the installed web browsers (Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome and Internet Explorer) – new tabs page, default homepage and default search engine. In addition most of them also violate the users privacy by harvesting their history, stored accounts and cookies.
Summary of the VapeLauncher Ransomware
| 200 US Dollars in Bitcoins|
|You can skip all steps and remove VapeLauncher Ransomware ransomware with the help of an anti-malware tool.|
|VapeLauncher Ransomware ransomware can be removed manually, though it can be very hard for most home users. See the detailed tutorial below.|
|Spam Email Campaigns, malicious ads & etc.|
VapeLauncher Ransomware Ransomware Removal
STEP I: 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.
- 1) Hit 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
Or check our video guide – “How to start PC in Safe Mode with Networking”
STEP II: Show Hidden Files
- 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
4) Click “Apply” and then “OK” button
STEP III: 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
STEP IV: Remove Completely VapeLauncher Ransomware Ransomware Using SpyHunter Anti-Malware Tool
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
STEP V: Repair Windows Registry
- 1) Again type simultaneously the Windows Button + R key combination
2) In the box, write “regedit”(without the inverted commas) 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
STEP VI: Recover Encrypted Files
How To Restore VapeLauncher Files
- 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
- 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