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

removal by Jake Doevan - - | Type: Ransomware
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Turkish HiddenTear-based Executioner continues causing trouble

The screenshot of Executioner ransom notes

Executioner virus (alternatively known as Cellat malware) functions as ransomware created on the basis of HiddenTear[1]. Interestingly, the malware is of Turkish origin. However, there is no need to understand the language to grasp the basic meaning: the ransom note informs that all files photos, documents, and other important documents are encrypted.

Furthermore, the original version of the threat appended random file extensions to the affected files. Nonetheless, the latest version attaches the extension indicating a random set of 6 characters and numbers. No specific information about the used encryption method is presented. Besides its main ransom text, the malware also leaves the HTML link, Sifre_Cos_Talimat.html, on a local folder.

It contains the text in English informing victims that their files have been encoded. In order to purchase the decryption software, Executioner Decrypter, affected users should contact the perpetrator via executioner.ransom@protonmail.com or executioner.ransom@bk.ru.

They should purchase the amount of bitcoins even to 150 dollars. For that purpose, the malware indicates the bitcoin address. Let us remind you that HiddenTear free decryption tool is available on the web, so it would be wiser to proceed to Executioner removal. Reimage or Malwarebytes Anti Malware makes this process much faster. Luckily, IT specialist has found a way how to decrypt files. The tool also works with the latest edition.

Many might question why HiddenTear pattern has not been still removed from the web. Its availability enables crooks of various ilk to engage in the illegal activities of ransomware programming. On the other hand, programming the malware according to this pattern also increases the chances of decryption. Executioner malware manifests that the developer has higher than the basic programming skills.

The virus is set to attach different file extensions which trouble the detection of the malware on time. Furthermore, unlike the majority of HiddenTear based threats, the threat does not display a .txt file with instruction but rather Sifre_Cos_Talimat.html website link. It asks you to visit two onion website links for supposed instructions.

After entering them, you are redirected to the domain called “Executioner” in both, Turkish and English, with the USA and Turkish flags. It also contains transparent video icon and below link suggesting to have some fun. Naturally, these links may contain another portion of the ransomware. Further sections will explain how to remove Executioner.

New versions come out, the virus is still decryptable

After the original version made its way through the virtual space, the author has not given up. A new version has been roaming on the wild. However, the developer did not introduce any significant changes. Instead of previous email address, now the malware employs executioner.update@protonmail.com

Furthermore, the threat generates a random crypto key. In other words, data recovery might be futile. In contrast to the original threat, the infection also appends a file extension comprised of 6 random characters and numbers. Luckily, victims of this EDA2  threat can decode their files for free regardless of which version they are infected with.[2]

Distribution techniques

Before proceeding further, it is crucial to be aware of its distribution channels in order to prevent Executioner hijack in the future. The virus is apt in spreading via spam emails. Its executioner.exe file may be wrapped in a fake delivery email or tax report alert. Do not rush opening any of suspicious links before verifying the sender.

Moreover, it is likely that the virus may have lurked in corrupted video links or torrent files. Note that some hackers even distribute malware in corrupted subtitle files[3]. Thus, keep an attentive look to your Inbox and visited websites and update computer security tool for it to fortify cyber protection as well. Fortunately, numerous cyber security tools can already detect the trojan –  Gen:Heur.Ransom.HiddenTears.1.

Eliminate Executioner infection

You may remove Executioner virus with the assistance of an anti-spyware tool. However, it is not surprising if you may encounter system errors. They are likely to be counterfeited by the malware to prevent you from deleting.

In that case, reboot the PC in a Safe Mode and launch a cyber security tool. After that, you will be able to finish Executioner removal. Below instructions, you may find some useful programs which may benefit for data recovery. Try HiddenTear Decrypter as well. Besides Turkish netizens, nearest countries, such as Bulgaria[4], might encounter the threat. Be vigilant and employ different prevention measures.

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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 Executioner 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 Executioner virus Removal Guide:

Remove Executioner 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 Executioner

    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 Executioner removal.

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

Remove Executioner using System Restore

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

In case the first method fails to restore access to vital system functions, opt for System Restore.

  • 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 Executioner. 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 Executioner removal is performed successfully.

Bonus: Recover your data

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

Does Data Recovery Pro decrypt files encoded by Executioner malware?

It does not rather decrypt, but, more specifically, may recover lost and damaged files. It is said to be effective in restoring lost emails as well.

The benefits of SjadowExplorer

The key pro is its ability to restore files according to volume shadow copies. There are high chances that you may succeed this time as well.

  • 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.

Executioner Decrypter

You may benefit from this free HiddenTear Decrypter. A cyber security specialist Michael Gillespie has devised a decryption tool. 

Finally, you should always think about the protection of crypto-ransomwares. In order to protect your computer from Executioner 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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References