Akira ransomware (virus) - Recovery Instructions Included
Akira virus Removal Guide
What is Akira ransomware?
Akira ransomware is dangerous file-locking malware that can damage files permanently
Ransomware can cause permanent data loss if no backups are available
Akira ransomware is malicious software that gains unauthorized access to a computer system and uses sophisticated encryption algorithms to encrypt the user's personal files, such as photos, videos, and documents. When the encryption process is finished, the victims will be unable to access or use their data.
The affected files have the “.akira” extension, and the file icons have been changed to blank white pages, making it difficult for the user to identify their files. Furthermore, the attackers typically leave a ransom note called “akira_readme.txt” that informs the victim of what has happened to their files.
|TYPE||Ransomware, cryptovirus, data-locking malware|
|DISTRIBUTION||Email attachments, peer-to-peer file-sharing platforms, malicious ads|
|FILE RECOVERY||If no backups are available, recovering data is almost impossible. We list alternative methods that could help you in some cases below|
|MALWARE REMOVAL||Scan your machine with anti-malware software to eliminate the malicious files (this will not recover your data)|
|SYSTEM FIX||Malware can seriously tamper with Windows systems, causing errors, crashes, lag, and other stability issues. To remediate the OS and avoid its reinstallation, we recommend scanning it with the RestoroIntego repair tool|
The ransom note
The full akira_readme.txt ransom note from Akira developers reads as follows:
Whatever who you are and what your title is if you're reading this it means the internal infrastructure of your company is fully or partially dead, all your backups – virtual, physical – everything that we managed to reach – are completely removed. Moreover, we have taken a great amount of your corporate data prior to encryption.
Well, for now let's keep all the tears and resentment to ourselves and try to build a constructive dialogue. We're fully aware of what damage we caused by locking your internal sources. At the moment, you have to know:
1. Dealing with us you will save A LOT due to we are not interested in ruining your financially. We will study in depth your finance, bank & income statements, your savings, investments etc. and present our reasonable demand to you. If you have an active cyber insurance, let us know and we will guide you how to properly use it. Also, dragging out the negotiation process will lead to failing of a deal.
2. Paying us you save your TIME, MONEY, EFFORTS and be back on track within 24 hours approximately. Our decryptor works properly on any files or systems, so you will be able to check it by requesting a test decryption service from the beginning of our conversation. If you decide to recover on your own, keep in mind that you can permanently lose access to some files or accidently corrupt them – in this case we won't be able to help.
3. The security report or the exclusive first-hand information that you will receive upon reaching an agreement is of a great value, since NO full audit of your network will show you the vulnerabilities that we've managed to detect and used in order to get into, identify backup solutions and upload your data.
4. As for your data, if we fail to agree, we will try to sell personal information/trade secrets/databases/source codes – generally speaking, everything that has a value on the darkmarket – to multiple threat actors at ones. Then all of this will be published in our blog -.
5. We're more than negotiable and will definitely find the way to settle this quickly and reach an agreement which will satisfy both of us.
If you're indeed interested in our assistance and the services we provide you can reach out to us following simple instructions:
1. Install TOR Browser to get access to our chat room – hxxps://www.torproject.org/download/.
2. Paste this link – -.
3. Use this code – – – to log into our chat.
Keep in mind that the faster you will get in touch, the less damage we cause.
The ransom note begins with a greeting and acknowledges that the company's internal infrastructure is either completely or partially damaged and that all backups and data that they could access have been deleted. The attackers claim to have taken a large amount of corporate data and encrypted it.
The note then explains why the company should pay the ransom. The attackers claim that they are not interested in financially ruining the company and that they will study its financial statements before making a reasonable demand. They also claim that paying the ransom will save the company money, time, and effort and that their decryptor will work on any system.
The attackers emphasize the importance of the security report or exclusive information that the company will receive upon agreement. They also threaten to sell the company's data to multiple threat actors and publish it on their blog if no agreement is reached.
Paying the ransom does not guarantee that the attackers will provide a working decryption tool, and it may encourage them to target the company again or other companies. Furthermore, paying a ransom is illegal and could result in a fine for the company. Instead, the company should notify law enforcement and work on recovering their data through other means.
Cybercriminals can't be trusted because they may not decrypt users' files
Threat actors' methods for spreading Akira ransomware are unknown, but there are some common tactics they use to distribute malware. One method is to use “cracked” software installations, which allow malicious files to enter the system. These installations are frequently discovered on unregulated platforms that serve as a breeding ground for malware.
Another method is via email, in which cybercriminals embed malicious links or attachments. When receiving emails from unknown senders, it is critical to exercise caution and even confirm with the sender via another platform if you receive an attachment from someone on your friend list.
Hackers may also use flaws in operating systems or software to spread ransomware. It is critical to keep all systems and software up to date in order to mitigate this risk. Security updates are frequently released by software developers to address newly discovered vulnerabilities, and failure to update can leave a system vulnerable to attacks.
Start the removal process
To begin with, it is crucial to disconnect the affected machine from the local network to prevent further damage. For home users, disconnecting the ethernet cable is an effective solution. However, in corporate environments, the process may be more complex, and instructions for disconnecting should be followed accordingly (as described below in this post).
Attempting to recover data before removing the malicious files may result in permanent data loss or the encryption of files again. Therefore, it is recommended that individuals refrain from removing the malicious program themselves unless they possess advanced IT skills. Manual removal of ransomware is complex and should only be attempted by those with relevant experience.
Use anti-malware tools like SpyHunter 5Combo Cleaner or Malwarebytes to scan your system. This security software should find all the related files and entries and remove them automatically for you. In some cases, malware does not let you use antivirus in normal mode, so you need to access Safe Mode and perform a full system scan from there:
Windows 7 / Vista / XP
- Click Start > Shutdown > Restart > OK.
- When your computer becomes active, start pressing F8 button (if that does not work, try F2, F12, Del, etc. – it all depends on your motherboard model) multiple times until you see the Advanced Boot Options window.
- Select Safe Mode with Networking from the list.
Windows 10 / Windows 8
- Right-click on Start button and select Settings.
- Scroll down to pick Update & Security.
- On the left side of the window, pick Recovery.
- Now scroll down to find Advanced Startup section.
- Click Restart now.
- Select Troubleshoot.
- Go to Advanced options.
- Select Startup Settings.
- Click Restart.
- Press 5 or click 5) Enable Safe Mode with Networking.
Repair corrupted system files
Malware infections can cause significant performance, stability, and usability issues to the extent that a complete reinstallation of Windows is often necessary. Malicious software can alter the Windows registry database, damage essential bootup sections, delete or corrupt DLL files, and more. When a system file is damaged by malware, it cannot be repaired by antivirus software alone.
Manual troubleshooting of this damage can be very complex and time-consuming. To address this issue, RestoroIntego was created. This tool can repair much of the damage caused by such infections, including Blue Screen errors, freezes, registry errors, damaged DLLs, and other problems that can render your computer unusable. Using this maintenance tool can help you avoid the need to perform a complete reinstallation of Windows.
Try recovering data with third-party software
If you did not back up your files prior to the attack, the decryption key required to unlock them is in the hands of the hackers. As a result, there is a high probability that you will not be able to retrieve them. While you can attempt to use data recovery software, keep in mind that these third-party tools may not be able to decrypt your files.
Nonetheless, we advise you to at least give this method a try. Prior to proceeding, make sure to copy the encrypted files and save them on an external storage device such as a USB flash drive. Also, bear in mind that you should only do this if you have already removed the Akira ransomware from your system.
Before you begin, several pointers are important while dealing with this situation:
- Since the encrypted data on your computer might permanently be damaged by security or data recovery software, you should first make backups of it – use a USB flash drive or another storage.
- Only attempt to recover your files using this method after you perform a scan with anti-malware software.
Install data recovery software
- Download Data Recovery Pro.
- Double-click the installer to launch it.
- Follow on-screen instructions to install the software.
- As soon as you press Finish, you can use the app.
- Select Everything or pick individual folders where you want the files to be recovered from.
- Press Next.
- At the bottom, enable Deep scan and pick which Disks you want to be scanned.
- Press Scan and wait till it is complete.
- You can now pick which folders/files to recover – don't forget you also have the option to search by the file name!
- Press Recover to retrieve your files.
Getting rid of Akira virus. Follow these steps
Isolate the infected computer
Some ransomware strains aim to infect not only one computer but hijack the entire network. As soon as one of the machines is infected, malware can spread via network and encrypt files everywhere else, including Network Attached Storage (NAS) devices. If your computer is connected to a network, it is important to isolate it to prevent re-infection after ransomware removal is complete.
The easiest way to disconnect a PC from everything is simply to plug out the ethernet cable. However, in the corporate environment, this might be extremely difficult to do (also would take a long time). The method below will disconnect from all the networks, including local and the internet, isolating each of the machines involved.
- Type in Control Panel in Windows search and press Enter
- Go to Network and Internet
- Click Network and Sharing Center
- On the left, pick Change adapter settings
- Right-click on your connection (for example, Ethernet), and select Disable
- Confirm with Yes.
If you are using some type of cloud storage you are connected to, you should disconnect from it immediately. It is also advisable to disconnect all the external devices, such as USB flash sticks, external HDDs, etc. Once the malware elimination process is finished, you can connect your computers to the network and internet, as explained above, but by pressing Enable instead.
Find a working decryptor for your files
File encryption is a process that is similar to applying a password to a particular file or folder. However, from a technical point of view, encryption is fundamentally different due to its complexity. By using encryption, threat actors use a unique set of alphanumeric characters as a password that can not easily be deciphered if the process is performed correctly.
There are several algorithms that can be used to lock data (whether for good or bad reasons); for example, AES uses the symmetric method of encryption, meaning that the key used to lock and unlock files is the same. Unfortunately, it is only accessible to the attackers who hold it on a remote server – they ask for a payment in exchange for it. This simple principle is what allows ransomware authors to prosper in this illegal business.
While many high-profile ransomware strains such as Djvu or Dharma use immaculate encryption methods, there are plenty of failures that can be observed within the code of some novice malware developers. For example, the keys could be stored locally, which would allow users to regain access to their files without paying. In some cases, ransomware does not even encrypt files due to bugs, although victims might believe the opposite due to the ransom note that shows up right after the infection and data encryption is completed.
Therefore, regardless of which crypto-malware affects your files, you should try to find the relevant decryptor if such exists. Security researchers are in a constant battle against cybercriminals. In some cases, they manage to create a working decryption tool that would allow victims to recover files for free.
Once you have identified which ransomware you are affected by, you should check the following links for a decryptor:
- No More Ransom Project
- Free Ransomware Decryptors by Kaspersky
- Free Ransomware Decryption Tools from Emsisoft
- Avast decryptors
If you can't find a decryptor that works for you, you should try the alternative methods we list below. Additionally, it is worth mentioning that it sometimes takes years for a working decryption tool to be developed, so there are always hopes for the future.
Create data backups to avoid file loss in the future
One of the many countermeasures for home users against ransomware is data backups. Even if your Windows get corrupted, you can reinstall everything from scratch and retrieve files from backups with minimal losses overall. Most importantly, you would not have to pay cybercriminals and risk your money as well.
Therefore, if you have already dealt with a ransomware attack, we strongly advise you to prepare backups for future use. There are two options available to you:
- Backup on a physical external drive, such as a USB flash drive or external HDD.
- Use cloud storage services.
The first method is not that convenient, however, as backups need to constantly be updated manually – although it is very reliable. Therefore, we highly advise choosing cloud storage instead – it is easy to set up and efficient to sustain. The problem with it is that storage space is limited unless you want to pay for the subscription.
Using Microsoft OneDrive
OneDrive is a built-in tool that comes with every modern Windows version. By default, you get 5 GB of storage that you can use for free. You can increase that storage space, but for a price. Here's how to setup backups for OneDrive:
- Click on the OneDrive icon within your system tray.
- Select Help & Settings > Settings.
- If you don't see your email under the Account tab, you should click Add an account and proceed with the on-screen instructions to set yourself up.
- Once done, move to the Backup tab and click Manage backup.
- Select Desktop, Documents, and Pictures, or a combination of whichever folders you want to backup.
- Press Start backup.
After this, all the files that are imported into the above-mentioned folders will be automatically backed for you. If you want to add other folders or files, you have to do that manually. For that, open File Explorer by pressing Win + E on your keyboard, and then click on the OneDrive icon. You should drag and drop folders you want to backup (or you can use Copy/Paste as well).
Using Google Drive
Google Drive is another great solution for free backups. The good news is that you get as much as 15GB for free by choosing this storage. There are also paid versions available, with significantly more storage to choose from.
You can access Google Drive via the web browser or use a desktop app you can download on the official website. If you want your files to be synced automatically, you will have to download the app, however.
- Download the Google Drive app installer and click on it.
- Wait a few seconds for it to be installed.
- Now click the arrow within your system tray – you should see Google Drive icon there, click it once.
- Click Get Started.
- Enter all the required information – your email/phone, and password.
- Now pick what you want to sync and backup. You can click on Choose Folder to add additional folders to the list.
- Once done, pick Next.
- Now you can select to sync items to be visible on your computer.
- Finally, press Start and wait till the sync is complete. Your files are now being backed up.
Report the incident to your local authorities
Ransomware is a huge business that is highly illegal, and authorities are very involved in catching malware operators. To have increased chances of identifying the culprits, the agencies need information. Therefore, by reporting the crime, you could help with stopping the cybercriminal activities and catching the threat actors. Make sure you include all the possible details, including how did you notice the attack, when it happened, etc. Additionally, providing documents such as ransom notes, examples of encrypted files, or malware executables would also be beneficial.
Law enforcement agencies typically deal with online fraud and cybercrime, although it depends on where you live. Here is the list of local authority groups that handle incidents like ransomware attacks, sorted by country:
- USA – Internet Crime Complaint Center IC3
- United Kingdom – ActionFraud
- Canada – Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre
- Australia – ScamWatch
- New Zealand – ConsumerProtection
- Germany – Polizei
- France – Ministère de l'Intérieur
If your country is not listed above, you should contact the local police department or communications center.
How to prevent from getting ransomware
Access your website securely from any location
When you work on the domain, site, blog, or different project that requires constant management, content creation, or coding, you may need to connect to the server and content management service more often. The best solution for creating a tighter network could be a dedicated/fixed IP address.
If you make your IP address static and set to your device, you can connect to the CMS from any location and do not create any additional issues for the server or network manager that needs to monitor connections and activities. VPN software providers like Private Internet Access can help you with such settings and offer the option to control the online reputation and manage projects easily from any part of the world.
Recover files after data-affecting malware attacks
While much of the data can be accidentally deleted due to various reasons, malware is one of the main culprits that can cause loss of pictures, documents, videos, and other important files. More serious malware infections lead to significant data loss when your documents, system files, and images get encrypted. In particular, ransomware is is a type of malware that focuses on such functions, so your files become useless without an ability to access them.
Even though there is little to no possibility to recover after file-locking threats, some applications have features for data recovery in the system. In some cases, Data Recovery Pro can also help to recover at least some portion of your data after data-locking virus infection or general cyber infection.
- ^ What is encryption? Data encryption defined. Ibm. Data Protection.
- ^ Georgina Torbet. 5 Security Reasons Not to Download Cracked Software. Makeuseof. Security Blog.
- ^ Blue screen of death. Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.