BTCWare ransomware virus. How to remove? (Uninstall guide)

removal by Jake Doevan - - | Type: Ransomware
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New BTCWare versions appear too frequently – learn how to identify the one that hit your PC

BTCware virus

BTCware virus is yet another malicious program that aims to encrypt important victim's data. Some experts say that it is derived from CrptXXX ransomware family. After placing its files on the target system, the ransomware encodes all data on the computer, adding .btcware file extensions on its way.

Cybersecurity experts have also noticed versions of this virus that use .xfile, .onyon, .blocking, .theva, .cryptobyte, .cryptowin extensions. After corrupting all data, the malicious software creates and saves a ransom note that can be called #_HOW_TO_FIX_!.hta.htm, !#_READ_ME_#!.inf or !#_RESTORE_FILES_#!.inf.

At the moment of writing, the latest version is called BTCWare Master ransomware virus and it adds .master file extensions to locked files. Master ransomware developers keep improving the virus and change their contact email address (including newnintendoss@qq.com, pardon1@bigmir.net, pardon@cock.li, help@onyon.info) every now and then. The current list of criminals' email addresses can be found below.

This virus is not modest – it requires at least 0.5 BTC, which equals 496,44 USD[1]. Regardless of how important files are, it is not recommended to assist the cyber villains with money. There are no reports whether the individual who remitted the payment retrieved his or her files. Likewise, we recommend looking at this situation rationally and focusing on BTCware removal. For that, you can use Reimage or Malwarebytes Anti Malware.

CrptXXX emerged this year, and its name reminds us of the infamous ransomware known as CryptXXX[2]. BTCware malware, which is the second version of Crptxxx, does not stand out among other ransomware threats.

It hacks into an operating system and encrypts personal documents. Taking into account that this virus derives from the mentioned malware family, the improved deviation targets a variety of file types.

During the encryption process, you may not notice any particular signs except slower PC performance and odd UAC messages. The virus appends specific file extensions to encrypted files and then creates a ransom note which opens via user's default web browser.

During the encryption process, you may not notice any particular signs except slower PC performance and odd UAC messages. However, typically the virus encrypts files so quickly that the user simply does not notice anything suspicious[3].

The ransom note, which the virus provides contains an explanation how to pay a ransom to restore files. It manifests a sign of complaisance as it provides links to several links which instruct victims how to purchase a Bitcoin wallet.

When you transfer the indicated amount of ransom, the offenders will supposedly transfer the key which you have to enter in Command Prompt window in such form: with biznet.exe-d [your_decrypt_key]. According to the ransom note, the virus also places its malicious files in AppData Roaming folder. Therefore, we suggest making a move and remove BTCware immediately.

Update May 2017: Malware researchers release BTCware decryptor after a long wait

Getting infected with ransomware does not always mean the permanent loss of files. Experts are working hard to find alternative tools which would allow ransomware victims to recover their files without having to pay the criminals for the recovery key. This time, BTCware victims were the lucky ones to be handed a free ransomware decrypter.

The decrypted has been built by an experienced virus expert Michael Gillespie, who can take pride in creating a number of other decryption software including BitKangarooDecrypter, StupidDecrypter, Crypt38Decrypter, etc.

The BTCware decrypted was released at the beginning of May, 2017 and since then another breakthrough happened – an anonymous user under a nickname checker123 posted the master key of the malware on Internet forums. Whether the key was released by the malware creators themselves or their opponents, it only benefits the users.

Update: Michael Gillespie updates the BTCWare decryptor to unlock .theva and .onyon files

Michael Gillespie continues to be a guy cyber criminals hate the most as he has just released an updated version of BTCWare decryptor to support ransomware versions featuring .theva and .onyon extensions. Gillespie worked in collaboration with Francesco Muroni – an enthusiast malware researcher and computer engineer by profession.

The work of these two security experts has led to the creation of a tool which not allows thousands of BTCWare ransomware victims to recover their files completely free of charge and cuts a large portion of profit for the malware creators.

In fact, at the moment of writing the tool has already been downloaded over 920 times and that’s just over the span of a week. Besides from decrypting files with the mentioned .theva and .onyon extensions, this tool covers versions that feature .[< email address >].btcware; .[< email address >].cryptobyte and .[< email address >].cryptowin extensions as well.

So, if you have had your files encrypted by this ransomware, go to the end of this article where you will find the decryptor download link along with other data recovery suggestions.

Malware related to BTC Ware virus

Master ransomware virus. Master ransomware is a virus that emerged in April 2017. The ransomware drops #HOW_TO_FIX.inf file after locking all files and marking them with [criminal's email address].master file extensions. The current ransomware variant was noticed to use a long list of email addresses, including: newnintendoss@qq.com, pardon1@bigmir.net, pardon@cock.li, help@onyon.info, westnigger@india.com, stopstorage@qq.com, support_config@protonmail.com, predatorthre@bigmir.net, predator3@gmx.us or teroda@bigmir.net.

It is unknown how much do cyber criminals ask in exchange for a decryption software, as well as whether they actually provide it after receiving the payment. Sadly, BTCWare Master virus has a slightly improved source code that prevents experts from reversing the malware, therefore previous decryption tools won't be able to restore files marked with .master file extensions.

OnyonLock ransomware virus. This BTCWare variant is known to be using .onyon file extensions to mark files it encrypts. After encoding private user's files, the virus creates a ransom note called !#_DECRYPT_#!.inf. The ransom note contains instructions on how to decode locked files.

The ransom price is unknown, because the criminals do not state it in the ransom note. They, however, suggest writing to them via one of the provided email addresses: decrypter@onyon.su or tk.btcw@protonmail.ch. Files locked by this ransomware can be decrypted for free.

.blocking file extension virus. This ransomware version emerged in June, 2017. It was spotted to be using [criminal's email address].blocking file extensions for encrypted files. The email address used by cyber criminals is 3bitcoins@protonmail.com.

The email address suggests that victims should pay 3 Bitcoins for data decryption software, and that equals 7710 USD. We do not recommend paying the ransom because the decryptor provided at the end of this article might help you to recover some files.

.theva file extension virus. BTCWare Theva ransomware virus has been spotted in April 2017 and it was using [email].theva extensions for encrypted data. Currently known email address associated with this ransomware version is sql772@aol.com.

There is no information on how much .theva file extension virus demands from its victims, however, paying up would be meaningless since there is a free decryptor available.

Cryptobyte ransomware virus. The ransomware is one of the earliest BTCWare versions that drops #_HOW_TO_FIX.inf as a ransom note on victim's PC. Cryptobyte tends to add .[btc.com@protonmail.ch].cryptobyte or [no.xm@protonmail.ch].cryptobyte file extensions to files and include the given email addresses in the ransom note as well.

Luckily, you do not have to pay for data decryption since a free decryption tool is available. You can find its download link below.

.cryptowin file extension virus. Cryptowin ransomware appeared in spring 2017, encrypting data on target computers at full speed. Luckily, it was quickly defeated by malware researchers who released a free decryption tool. The ransomware used to append .[no.btc@protonmail.ch].cryptowin file extensions to locked files or .[decrypter@protonmail.ch].cryptowin. These files are 100% decryptable – you just have to remove the ransomware and use a free decryption tool.

Aleta ransomware virus. BTCWare Aleta virus is the latest member of the infamous malware family, and it typically adds such file extension to encrypted files: .[black.mirror@qq.com].aleta. Although the email address can differ depending on the version of the malware, you will notice the name of the virus' version right after it.  

In addition, the virus uses a different ransom note name: !#_READ_ME_#!.inf. Victims report that criminals demand 2 Bitcoins as a ransom for data decryption, although there is no news whether the crooks fulfill their promises after receiving the ransom. An immediate ransomware removal is required to protect your PC from further damage. To restore files, we suggest using data backups.

Virtual extortion tools are distributed in several ways

The initial version of this virus was distributed in a form of a deceptive program called Rogers Hi-Speed Internet. This obfuscated program was actually BTCWare's executable.

This threat is also likely to be distributed in two ways: by spam messages and trojans[4]. While in the former case, you can lower the risk of BTCware hijack; things are more serious when it comes to trojans. Arm up with anti-spyware and anti-virus tools. Malware elimination tool will help you lower the risk. Update it daily. If BTCware virus has descended on your files, such utility will assist in terminating it as well.

What is more, note that not only illegal or torrent sharing domains are likely to disguise a threat. Cyber villains more and more often target legal websites as well[5]. As for the reminder, do not get tempted to open the attachments of email even if they are addressed to you personally. Confirm the authenticity of the message and the sender and only then risk to review the attached content.

Removing BTCWare ransomware for good

Despite how terrifying ransomware may look, there are also options to curb it. Let anti-spyware tool remove BTCware virus. As a result of its complexity, do not get surprised if the virus shuts down some crucial computer functions. In that case, enter the computer in Safe mode and proceed with BTCware removal.

Note that malware removal programs do not decrypt the files. For that purpose, you will need other tools. In relation to this, you might find useful information below the access recovery guidelines.

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What to do if failed?
If you failed to remove infection using Reimage, submit a question to our support team and provide as much details as possible.
Reimage is recommended to uninstall BTCWare ransomware virus. Free scanner allows you to check whether your PC is infected or not. If you need to remove malware, you have to purchase the licensed version of Reimage malware removal tool.

More information about this program can be found in Reimage review.

More information about this program can be found in Reimage review.

Manual BTCWare virus Removal Guide:

Remove BTCWare using Safe Mode with Networking

Reimage is a tool to detect malware.
You need to purchase Full version to remove infections.
More information about Reimage.

  • Step 1: Reboot your computer to Safe Mode with Networking

    Windows 7 / Vista / XP
    1. Click Start Shutdown Restart OK.
    2. When your computer becomes active, start pressing F8 multiple times until you see the Advanced Boot Options window.
    3. Select Safe Mode with Networking from the list Select 'Safe Mode with Networking'

    Windows 10 / Windows 8
    1. Press the Power button at the Windows login screen. Now press and hold Shift, which is on your keyboard, and click Restart..
    2. Now select Troubleshoot Advanced options Startup Settings and finally press Restart.
    3. Once your computer becomes active, select Enable Safe Mode with Networking in Startup Settings window. Select 'Enable Safe Mode with Networking'
  • Step 2: Remove BTCWare

    Log in to your infected account and start the browser. Download Reimage or other legitimate anti-spyware program. Update it before a full system scan and remove malicious files that belong to your ransomware and complete BTCWare removal.

If your ransomware is blocking Safe Mode with Networking, try further method.

Remove BTCWare using System Restore

Reimage is a tool to detect malware.
You need to purchase Full version to remove infections.
More information about Reimage.

System Restore is a second option you might try to regain the access.

  • Step 1: Reboot your computer to Safe Mode with Command Prompt

    Windows 7 / Vista / XP
    1. Click Start Shutdown Restart OK.
    2. When your computer becomes active, start pressing F8 multiple times until you see the Advanced Boot Options window.
    3. Select Command Prompt from the list Select 'Safe Mode with Command Prompt'

    Windows 10 / Windows 8
    1. Press the Power button at the Windows login screen. Now press and hold Shift, which is on your keyboard, and click Restart..
    2. Now select Troubleshoot Advanced options Startup Settings and finally press Restart.
    3. Once your computer becomes active, select Enable Safe Mode with Command Prompt in Startup Settings window. Select 'Enable Safe Mode with Command Prompt'
  • Step 2: Restore your system files and settings
    1. Once the Command Prompt window shows up, enter cd restore and click Enter. Enter 'cd restore' without quotes and press 'Enter'
    2. Now type rstrui.exe and press Enter again.. Enter 'rstrui.exe' without quotes and press 'Enter'
    3. When a new window shows up, click Next and select your restore point that is prior the infiltration of BTCWare. After doing that, click Next. When 'System Restore' window shows up, select 'Next' Select your restore point and click 'Next'
    4. Now click Yes to start system restore. Click 'Yes' and start system restore
    Once you restore your system to a previous date, download and scan your computer with Reimage and make sure that BTCWare removal is performed successfully.

Bonus: Recover your data

Guide which is presented above is supposed to help you remove BTCWare from your computer. To recover your encrypted files, we recommend using a detailed guide prepared by 2-spyware.com security experts.

If your files are encrypted by BTCWare, you can use several methods to restore them:

Data Recovery Pro and your files

This program is one of the options to restore the files encrypted by BTCware virus.

The benefits of ShadowExplorer

The key advantage of this utility is that it uses shadow volume copies to restore your files. Note that this option is only effective in case the file-encrypting threat does not delete them beforehand.

  • Download Shadow Explorer (http://shadowexplorer.com/);
  • Follow a Shadow Explorer Setup Wizard and install this application on your computer;
  • Launch the program and go through the drop down menu on the top left corner to select the disk of your encrypted data. Check what folders are there;
  • Right-click on the folder you want to restore and select “Export”. You can also select where you want it to be stored.

BTCware Decryptor

Download BTCware Decryptor released by Michael Gillespie here. When downloaded, launch the program, select the partitions, folders or specific files you want to decrypt and hit decrypt! Remember that you might be asked to provide an encrypted and healthy version of the same file for the decryptor to be able to generate the file unlock key. Make sure you have these files prepared before launching the application.

Finally, you should always think about the protection of crypto-ransomwares. In order to protect your computer from BTCWare and other ransomwares, use a reputable anti-spyware, such as Reimage, Plumbytes Anti-MalwareWebroot SecureAnywhere AntiVirus or Malwarebytes Anti Malware

About the author

Jake Doevan
Jake Doevan - Computer technology expert

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  • miltonmel

    When the PC got hit with this virus, I was like: “WTF?!!!”…hurry up with the decrypter!

  • cassy145V

    Pay or not to pay…Im still not sure if other decrypting programs will decrypt files after purchasing them…

  • Benetton.Nona

    This one seems quite tricky.

  • 71Mika

    Just great..under ransomware…-_-