Ransomware are known for corrupting data and creating havoc to your personal computer or the distributed network. When a Ransomware attacks your computer, it collects the data from your device in all formats and then change them into encrypted files with added extensions by following specific encryption methods for example AES encryption etc.
Once after the encryption method is done, it displays a message on your monitor demanding a ransom amount by blocking all your files from further accessing. With the email provided, one has to contact the ransomware developer for the decryption key of your data after paying the demanded ransom amount in order to get the files back without any loss.
In the last year, the variants of ransomware have been constantly increasing with various names and the developers started victimizing people with a twofold capacity. That being said, ransomware are different from one and another and each ransomware needs a different decryption tool in order to recover the data. One of such prominent ransomware is Locky which prevailed in the past few months.
What is Locky Ransomware?
As I have mentioned earlier there are literally hundreds of ransomware infections being invented on daily basis for example, Cryptowall, CryptoShield, UmbreCrypt, CryptoLocker etc and all of them show almost identical behavior. They follow the same pattern of encrypting the files through different algorithms and demanding a ransom. The only difference between one malware to the other is that the type of algorithm used varies and so is the ransom amount.
Few decryption keys doesn’t work even after paying the ransom. Locky is mainly spread to the devices using P2P networks, Trojans and mainly through malicious spam emails. To avoid doing this, one has to keep their computers updated, double check the downloading file (especially the .doc files) and also not open the spam mails without any precautions.
How did Locky get into your Computer?
Distributed as malicious Locky virus hidden in .doc files mainly attached in spam mails, the Locky ransomware spreads in your computer in the form of scrambled text appearing to be macros. When the user opens the doc file in Word and enables the macro settings, an executable ransomware is downloaded on your computer which then encrypts all the files on the computer and changes them into encrypted files with a digital combination of 16 letters attached as file extensions for example, .shit, .locky, .thor, .odin, .zepto and .aesir.
Therefore, it is not nearly impossible for us to demarcate the original and not so original files and all the more because of the encryption algorithm used which not only contains AES-1024 but also RSA-20148. Therefore, you need to have a private decryption key provided by the server controlling criminals in order to get the data that you have lost.
Once the files of your device are encrypted, Locky creates a .txt file and HELP_instructions.html (or _WHAT_is.html) in the folders containing these encrypted files. The ransomware then makes changes to your computer by changing the desktop wallpaper and then sending a message on the desktop containing information about the encryption.
It demands a ransom of around .5 bitcoin for the decryption which is equivalent to $207.63 and that the victim should install Tor and follow the links in order to pay the amount and get the decryption key or else the locky uses the shadow volume idea in order to delete the files and double them. Currently, there are no decryption tools available in the market but we are waiting for developers like Avast to come up with some soon.
How to Remove Locky Ransomware?
There are few ways to remove the Locky virus from your computer, but before that make sure that you find a way to decrypt the data that has been encrypted. Though it is not encouraged to pay the ransom to the criminals, initially start with searching for the free decryption tools that can deal with the AES-1024 and RSA-2048 encryption algorithm to get the data back. Apart from that, here are few methods that you can try in order to remove Locky Ransomware from your device.
Restore your system
The first and safest option of removing the Locky Ransomware from your device is by restoring the system. To do that, shut down your computer and restart it. While starting, keep pressing F8 for a couple of times until you see the ‘Windows Advanced Options.’ In the menu, select the ‘Safe Mode’ option and start the ‘Command Prompt’ by clicking enter.
The device will load the ‘Command Prompt’ for you after booting. Once the window is open, Enter ‘:cd restore: and press enter. Now in the next line, enter ‘rstrui.exe’ and click enter. The windows will ask you to proceed. Click on ‘Next’. Now, you can witness few restoration points with early dates and time.
Make sure that you select a restoration point where your device was safe without any invasion of Locky ransomware and run the restoration of the system and wait for some time. This will remove the ransomware from your device and soon after the computer is started, download an anti-malware tool and scan the device to delete all the remaining files or ransomware.
Now, restore the encrypted files by Locky, using the ‘Windows Previous Version’ option. If that doesn’t work our, try these system restore alternatives and give them a try. This is the most reliable option available given that your computer supports the above options and therefore, make sure that there are no shadow volume copies or else your restoration won’t work. You can also work with a specific file by accessing the ‘Properties’ and clicking ‘Restore’ to a previous version.
The second way to remove the Locky virus from the device is by restarting your computer in safe mode. While the computer is being turned on, press F8 a couple of times and go to the ‘Windows Advanced’ menu and select ‘Safe Mode’ from ‘Networking.’ If you’re using devices with Windows 8/8.1/10; open them in safe mode by pressing the F5 key repetitively.
Anti-spyware/ Anti-malware tools
Once you have opened the computer in the safe mode, make a user account login which contains the Locky ransomware and open a particular internet browser. Download a legitimate anti-malware tool and perform a full scan to know about the potential threats. Remove the entries using the malware. It is recommended to use premium malware as they act efficiently than the free ones, but few malware tools by Avast are the best.
Locky ransomware works with the shadow volume of files, and therefore, it is not sure that the restoration option works well with this on all devices. Therefore, it is better to boot the computer with a backup disc using another computer and shadow Explorer on that computer to recover the files and then completely format your computer and start off new with the recovered data altogether.
Conclusion of Locky Ransomware
Having said that, Locky ransomware is new on the dark web, and it might require some time for the popular developers to come up with Locky decryption tools that can fight against this kind of encryption. Therefore, it is best to recommend to use one of these above methods and then pay the ransom if none of them worked. If your computer is vulnerable to these kind of threats, make sure that you have downloaded the anti-spyware tools in the least to enhance the security.