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Dharma ransomware virus. How to Remove? (Uninstall Guide)

removal by - -   | Type: Ransomware
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What do security researchers report about Dharma ransomware?

Dharma virus is a dangerous ransomware which reached malware analysts in November 2016.[1] In the beginning, many speculations emerged about this cyber infection. Experts were discussing weather this virus is an original creation of ransomware developers or just a newer version of some larger family of crypto ransomware. Also, could it be as dangerous as Locky virus?[2] Since the appearance of Dharma ransomware, experts pointed out it’s resemblance to the CrySiS ransomware and the fact that the initial version of the virus can be decrypted. However, it can't be done with the latest version of this ransomware[3] known to use amagnus@india.com for informing people about their encrypted files[4] and ask them to pay a ransom. This information is also provided in info.hta ransom note. We should add that, according to the latest reports, the current version of Dharma uses these extensions that it appends to the target files: .dharma, .wallet, .zzzzz. 

On the day of its appearance, security experts didn't know much about Dharma in general and believed it to be one of the new-generation viruses.[5] It seems that the virus developers were trying to keep it as obscure as possible and didn't follow the typical patterns other ransomware creators do. For instance, the virus did not drop ransom notes or any other additional documents that would let you know about the virus hiding in the system. Also, in November, antivirus utilities did not seem to detect it either, significantly complicating Dharma removal. Nonetheless, you can now use such software, like Reimage, for instance, to eliminate this ransomware from the computer. Thus, before taking any virus removal steps, make sure you have the proper tools to back you up.

Image of the Dharma ransomware

The latest versions of Dharma ransomware do leave a simple ransom note on the infected computer that reads:

ATTENTION!
At the moment, your system is not protected.
We can fix it and restore files.
To restore the system write to this address:
bitcoin143@india.com

As you can see, victims have to contact the criminals via an email address provided in the note and ask them about the ransom needed to recover the affected files. Apart from the email, you will also see .dharma, .wallet or .zzzzz pinned at the very end of the string. For instance, if your file is labeled picture.jpg, the affected version of the file will be picture.jpg[email_address].dharma. It is interesting that the email addresses the hackers provide vary. So, when infected with the virus, you might be required to contact bitcoin143@india.com, worm01@india.com, etc. We strongly suggest not to do that. You have absolutely no way of knowing what to expect from this bunch of extortionists and how contacting them might end. It is more reasonable to simply remove Dharma and use your computer normally again. If you continue using it with a ransomware running, every time you reboot the system will result in new encrypted files.

How can I get infected with ransomware?

While trying to infect systems with this malware, the developers of Dharma ransomware have been actively relying on phishing.[6] The most common method is considered the delivery of virus with the help of infected email messages. The scammers use malicious spam campaigns to spread fraudulent emails with attached malware around and, sadly, the users often fall for their tricks. If you, yourself, receive an email from some unknown sender, company or institution, carefully investigate it. Think about whether you expected such an email in the first place, if you have no idea why it has reached your email -- it might be that you are being targeted by extortionists. In such a case, you should stay away from any attachments that might be added to the email and delete it immediately. Otherwise, Dharma can sneak in its malicious payload with some fake plane ticket, speeding ticket or any other documents that might look convincing enough to be taken for granted.

How to remove Dharma from your PC?

All computer security unanimously agree that the best way to remove Dharma virus or any ransomware virus from the infected device is by scanning it with a professional anti-malware tool. Nevertheless, you probably remember that this virus is specifically good at hiding on the computer and may not even be detected by the security tools. That is why you cannot approach Dharma removal directly and need to complete a few extra steps first before you run the system scan. We have presented these steps down below. Feel free to use them and don’t forget to scan your system automatically afterward!

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What to do if failed?
If you failed to remove infection using Reimage Reimage, submit a question to our support team and provide as much details as possible.
Reimage is recommended to uninstall Dharma 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.
Reimage is recommended to uninstall Dharma 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.
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References

Method 1. Remove Dharma using Safe Mode with Networking

Step 1: Reboot your computer to Safe Mode with Networking
Windows 7 / Vista / XP
  • Click Start Shutdown Restart OK.
  • When your computer becomes active, start pressing F8 multiple times until you see the Advanced Boot Options window.
  • Select Safe Mode with Networking from the list
Select 'Safe Mode with Networking'
Windows 10 / Windows 8
  • Press the Power button at the Windows login screen. Now press and hold Shift, which is on your keyboard, and click Restart..
  • Now select Troubleshoot Advanced options Startup Settings and finally press Restart.
  • Once your computer becomes active, select Enable Safe Mode with Networking in Startup Settings window.
Select 'Enable Safe Mode with Networking'
Step 2: Remove Dharma

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 Dharma removal.

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

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

Method 2. Remove Dharma using System Restore

Step 1: Reboot your computer to Safe Mode with Command Prompt
Windows 7 / Vista / XP
  • Click Start Shutdown Restart OK.
  • When your computer becomes active, start pressing F8 multiple times until you see the Advanced Boot Options window.
  • Select Command Prompt from the list
Select 'Safe Mode with Command Prompt'
Windows 10 / Windows 8
  • Press the Power button at the Windows login screen. Now press and hold Shift, which is on your keyboard, and click Restart..
  • Now select Troubleshoot Advanced options Startup Settings and finally press Restart.
  • 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
  • Once the Command Prompt window shows up, enter cd restore and click Enter. Enter 'cd restore' without quotes and press 'Enter'
  • Now type rstrui.exe and press Enter again.. Enter 'rstrui.exe' without quotes and press 'Enter'
  • When a new window shows up, click Next and select your restore point that is prior the infiltration of Dharma. After doing that, click Next. When 'System Restore' window shows up, select 'Next' Select your restore point and click 'Next'
  • 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 Dharma removal is performed successfully.
Reimage is a tool to detect malware. You need to purchase full version to remove infections.
More information about Reimage
Reimage is a tool to detect malware. You need to purchase full version to remove infections. More information about Reimage

Bonus: Recover your data

Guide which is presented above is supposed to help you remove Dharma 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 Dharma, you can use several methods to restore them:

Using Data Recovery Pro to restore files encrypted by Dharma ransomware

Data Recovery Pro is a software choice that is recommended for those who do not wish to spend time recovering data themselves. It is an automatic tool that will do all the work for you. So, follow the steps below, sit back and wait for the results. 

Using Windows Previous Versions feature to recover files encrypted by Dharma

Windows Previous Versions feature is another option you can try in order to recover your data. Keep in mind, though, that this technique requires a System Restore function to be enabled. If it was on before the virus attack, try your chance in recovering data using the instructions below.

  • Find an encrypted file you need to restore and right-click on it;
  • Select "Properties" and go to "Previous versions" tab;
  • Here, check each of available copies of the file in "Folder versions". You should select the version you want to recover and click "Restore".

Relying on ShadowExplorer to fix your files

Last but not least, ShadowExplorer can also be used for the data recovery. ShadowExplorer particularly focuses on extracting data from the Volume Shadow Copies which are normally kept on the computer. If the virus has not deleted them, of course. In case all the needed information is intact, follow the steps below to proceed the data recovery.

  • Download Shadow Explorer (http://shadowexplorer.com/);
  • Follow a Shadow Explorer Setup Wizard and install this application on your computer;
  • Launch the program and go thru 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.

Use Dharma decrypter to recover your files

There is no Dharma decryptor yet. However, this malware is very similar to Crysis ransomware, so you can try using its decrypter presented by Kaspersky Lab. You can download it from here.

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

Jake Doe
Jake Doe - Life is too short for wasting your time on viruses

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Information updated:

Comments on Dharma ransomware virus

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PweDiepie
What a spiritual title for such a nasty parasite
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Ebbie Millton
Well this virus escalated from an obscure little parasite. I still remember when it first came out

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