Ransomware is a type of malicious software (or malware) that blocks victim’s access to the computer and demands to pay the ransom. The ransom and the official reason, why a victim should pay it, depends on the type of the virus. Some versions of ransomware claim that the payment should be made for avoiding the punishment of the governmental authority (usually, FBI or local agency), others inform that this is the only way to decrypt encrypted data. Additional behavior of ransomware parasites may involve stealing user’s sensitive information, terminating legitimate software (anti-virus, anti-spyware, etc.), showing survey warnings and causing other unwanted activities. The first variants of this type of malware were released in Russia. Since then, they showed up in almost every world’s country.
Types of ransomware parasites
There are several types of ransomware programs that use different methods for making PC users to pay the ransom. At the moment of writing, there are three different versions:
File Encrypting Ransomware. This ransomware version is mostly spread with the help of trojans. Once it infiltrates computer, it finds the mostly used files and encrypts them. Traditionally, encrypted files include photos, music files, videos, art, business and other data that is considered important for the victim. In addition, such ransomware starts displaying a huge warning message claiming that the only way to decrypt encrypted data is to pay a ransom. In fact, it is right because the most of such malware deletes the shadow copies of files and prevents their recovery.
Non-Encrypting Ransomware. This type of ransomware blocks the entire PC system and seeks to threaten PC user into paying an invented fine. For that, it presents itself as the warning message of the governmental authority. Typically, hackers use such names as FBI, police and others. Once it infects the system, it checks it for illegal files, like pornographic content or unlicensed program versions on victim's computer. Once they are detected, a virus locks the computer down and starts displaying a huge warning message that looks like it belongs to some governmental authority. In this case, victim is informed that there are illegal files that were detected after scan on his/hers computer. In addition, user is asked to pay a fine in order to avoid getting into jail.
What is caused by ransomware viruses
- Ransomware viruses are capable of encrypting sensitive user's data, such as business documents, videos, photos and other files. Once they do so, they start asking a ransom for decrypting encrypted files.
- Such viruses can delete predetermined documents, multimedia objects or any other files containing important information. It can also try to delete essential system components or important parts of other software.
- Ransomware threats can be used for stealing login names, passwords, valuable personal documents, identity data and other user sensitive information. This data is sent through a background Internet connection to a remote host.
- When infected with ransomware, you can notice system freezes that can make it almost unusable. Such threats can also degrade overall system performance, decrease its speed, etc.
- Ransomwares and crypto-ransomwares can rapidly terminate active antivirus, anti-spyware and other security-related software by blocking its processes and disabling essential system services.
- There is no uninstall feature in ransomware. Such virus tries to hide its own processes, files and other objects in order to complicate its removal.
Typical ransomware parasites are very dangerous. Although they usually do not self-replicate, such threats can make lots of problems on your computer. They can make your vital information inaccessible, they can steal your valuable data and destroy the entire system. It is highly recommended NOT to pay ransom, which is asked by this threat because that doesn't help to remove the parasite and restore affected information.
Distribution techniques and methods
The most of ransomware parasites are able to propagate themselves and infect their target PC systems without users' knowledge. They can affect computers running Windows operating system, Mac OS X, Android and other operating systems. There are two major ways how these parasites can get into your computer.
Trojan Horse and other malware. The most of ransomware parasites are spread with the help of trojans. Trojan.Lockscreen is the mostly used threat for installing ransomwares on the system. They get into the system without user's knowledge as they tend to arrive in files attached to e-mail messages that present themselves as messages from reputable parties, such as Amazon, ebay, financial institutions, etc. Once user is tricked into downloading such attachment to computer, the trojan, which is related to ransomware, is also installed on it.
Fake pop-up notifications. Another part of ransomware pests are distributed by fake pop-up notifications that can be seen either on illegal or on legitimate websites. Mostly, they are set to report about missing updates but they can also "inform" you about a need to scan the system for free and remove viruses from it. These ads are usually filed with unsuspicious names and legitimate logos, so they can trick even the most experienced PC user into clicking them.
The most infamous examples of Ransomware viruses
Cryptolocker is a malicious ransomware, which encrypts important victim's files and offers to purchase the decryption key by paying the specific ransom. Once executed, this parasite checks the system and blocks the most valuable files. Typically, it looks for business documents, images, video files and other files that could scare the victim and make him/her concerned after discovering that these files can't be opened. In addition, it shows a message threatening the user that these files will be lost forever. Of course, Cryptolocker gives a chance to recover these files by paying a ransom
FBI virus is yet another typical example of ransomware. It doesn't block the files, but, instead of that, it blocks the entire PC system and then starts showing a fake warning message. Typically, this message claims that user was noticed for his or hers illegal activity on the Internet. You can be informed about illegal visiting of pornographic websites and similar activities. In addition, the parasite claims that victim can be sent to jail and that the only way to avoid it is to pay a ransom. After paying it, FBI virus stops blocking the system. However, it doesn't mean that there are no malicious files on it anymore.
Your browser has been blocked. This is a clear example of browser-locking ransomware. It can also be called as a scareware because it doesn't infect the PC system. Instead of doing that, it blocks the browser and asks to pay the fine for visiting illegal websites. That's the least aggressive example of ransomware as it can be eliminated just by terminating the affected web browser.
Unblocking computer and removing ransomware
In case of the ransomware infection, it is not recommended paying the ransom. There are lots of people who have lost their money in this way. Also, do not believe messages stating that you are dealing with governmental authorities because it's not true. Usually, such statements are displayed just for pushing people into paying ransoms. Fortunately, the most of antivirus and anti-spyware software can easily find ransomware files on the system and remove each of them. The most powerful anti-spyware solutions can be found in each description of ransomware virus and in the Software section.
If your system is blocked and you can't launch anti-spyware to remove your ransomware, try these options:
If our recommended tool failed to help you fix your computer, you should perform these alternative steps:
- Reboot computer to Safe Mode and repeat installation of anti-malware;
- Reboot computer to Safe Mode with Command Prompt and then install anti-malware program;
- Restore your system settings;
- Disable the affected web browser;
- Use SpyHunter Spyware HelpDesk feature;
- Contact 2spyware customer service thru “Ask Us” section.
Database of Ransomware Parasites
September 24th, 2013 | 2
Smart HDD is a rogue optimization and defragmentation program. It reports false information about hard drive e...
'Policijos Departamentas Prie Vidaus Reikalų Ministerijos' virus
April 16th, 2014 | No Comments
'Policijos Departamentas Prie Vidaus Reikalų Ministerijos' virus (also known as 'Policijos Departamentas Prie...
'Stop Online Piracy Automatic Protection System'
October 9th, 2012 | 1
'Stop Online Piracy Automatic Protection System' is a forged message, which should be ignored because it has n...
'You steal music I lock your PC' virus
September 24th, 2013 | No Comments
'You steal music I lock your PC' virus is a dangerous ransomware, which blocks down the system as soon as it i...
'Your Computer is Inactive - System Cleaner is in Progress'
October 16th, 2012 | No Comments
'Your Computer is Inactive -System Cleaner is in Progress' is a fake alert that belongs to ransomware category...
.aaa File Extension virus
January 25th, 2016 | 3
.aaa File Extension virus is a malicious ransomware that can PERMANENTLY destroy your personal files. You have...
.abc File Extension virus
February 7th, 2016 | 3
What are the most important facts that I need to know about .abc File Extension virus? We believe that t...
.bin file extension virus
July 7th, 2016 | 5
What dangers lie behind .bin file extension virus? While recently Alfa ransomware has sprung to life, its so-...
.ccc File Extension virus
December 18th, 2015 | 5
What does .ccc File Extension at the end of the file names mean? At the end of October, security vendors have...
May 6th, 2016 | 3
.code file extension virus: highly dangerous and bothersome There has been a tendency to launch a new type of...
.crypt file extension virus
May 25th, 2016 | 4
.crypt file extension virus is a ransomware-type computer infection, which can get inside your PC in a decepti...
April 5th, 2016 | 4
Why should you beware of .Cryptohasyou virus? .Cryptohasyou virus leaves no doubt that it is a dangerous viru...
May 6th, 2016 | 5
What is there to know about .dot file extension virus? There is a wide variety of different types and forms o...
.ecc File Extension virus
January 22nd, 2016 | 3
.ecc File Extension is known as a version of Teslacrypt ransomware, which is a very dangerous virus. It belong...
.exx File Extension virus
January 24th, 2016 | No Comments
How can I get infected with .exx File Extension virus? First of all, we should say that .exx File Extens...
.ezz File Extension virus
January 25th, 2016 | 3
Have the names of your files changed overnight? Do they have .ezz extension now? Let us guess - you cannot ope...
.Lock file extension virus
April 20th, 2016 | 4
How can you protect your PC from .Lock file extension virus? If you have been aware of recent ransomware atta...
April 3rd, 2016 | 3
What are the essential things you must know about .Locked virus? .Locked virus is a ransomware-type virus whi...
.locky file extension virus
May 13th, 2016 | 5
What is known about .locky file extension virus and its functionality? .locky file extension virus is ransomw...
.micro file extension virus
January 21st, 2016 | 5
I think I was infected with .micro file extension virus. Was I? If you can't open your files and yo...