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Annabelle ransomware. How to remove? (Uninstall guide)

removal by Lucia Danes - - | Type: Ransomware

Annabelle ransomware is a troublesome crypto-virus based on Annabelle horror movie

Image of Annabelle virus

Annabelle ransomware is a file-encrypting malware which seems to be inspired by a well-known horror movie Annabelle. This crypto-virus is closely related to Stupid ransomware. As soon as the malicious code is executed on user's PC, all the files become unusable after appending .ANNABELLE file extension to each of targeted files. Additionally, a lock screen is displayed with a message which explains the user what should be done next.

Fortunately, Annabelle virus is decryptable. Previously, users had been offered to rely on a decryptor which was created for Stupid ransomware. However, security experts at Bitdefender Labs created a new decrypter which was designed to deal with this crypto-virus specifically. However, since this malware is complicated, a series of procedures should be executed before data can be recovered.

As soon as Anabelle ransomware gets into the system, it makes some changes to the system to boot with Windows startup. Ransomware also disables various process and programs, such as Msconfig, Task Manager, Process Explorer, etc. 

Additionally, Annabelle ransomware disables computer’s security, meaning it turns off Windows Defender, firewall and any antivirus programs that are installed on the computer. However, these activities are not enough for ransomware virus.

Annabelle malware also modifies Image File Execution registry[1] to prevent users from accessing various programs, for instance, Notepad or web browsers. For this reason, the computer becomes nearly useless because many programs become unresponsive.

Once it finishes causing chaos on the system, it tries to spread further via USB drives. Finally, it starts the primary task of the ransomware – data encryption. Ransomware uses a static key for file encryption and adds .ANNABELLE file extension to targeted audio, video or image files, documents, databases, and similar entries. Additionally, it deletes Shadow Volume Copies of the targeted data.

Following the successful encryption, ransomware reboots the computer and displays a lock screen message with a character of American horror movie. At the bottom of the lock screen, a developer known as iCoreX0812, leaves his/her Discord username, assuming that victims should contact to get back access to their computers and files.

Annabelle ransomware virus also leaves a ransom note where victims are informed about a necessity to pay the ransom of 0.1 Bitcoin to get back access to the corrupted files and prevent system damage:

What is goin to happen if I'm not going to pay?
If you are not going to pay, then the countdown will easily ran out and then your system will be broken. If you are going to restart, then the countdown will ran out a much faster. So, its not a good idea to do it.

When the timer in the lock screen message counts to an end, malware displays a BSOD and runs a program that replaces the Master Boot Record (MBR).[2] However, it seems that the purpose of Anabelle ransomware is to demonstrate developer’s skills because it can be easily decrypted with Stupid decrypter.

However, before data recovery, victims should proceed with Annabelle ransomware removal and fixing all the damage caused by the malware. You should not try to clean your PC manually because it’s a complicated task that may lead to irreparable damage to your device.

To remove Annabelle virus and fix its damage, you should obtain a tool like Reimage which can clean malicious components, replace corrupted registry entries and solve other problems caused by malware.

File-encrypting malware like Annabelle virus can be distributed in few different methods

This crypto-virus spreads similarly to other ransomware viruses. Therefore, it can infect Windows computers via:

  • malicious email attachments;
  • malware-laden ads;
  • bogus software updates or downloads;
  • exploit kits.

Security experts from[3] suggest taking extra precautions to avoid infiltration of ransomware. Malicious spam emails remain the main crypto-malware distribution strategy. Therefore, you should learn how to identify phishing email and do not take harsh actions in your inbox.

Apart from avoiding suspicious emails, you should also avoid clicking unknown links, download questionable content and visiting high-risk websites. It’s highly recommended to install all available updates, strengthen computer’s security with antivirus and to create data backups.

Annabelle ransomware should be deleted before file recovery procedure

Annabelle ransomware removal should be performed immediately because malware makes numerous changes to the system and prevents from using the computer normally. We want to discourage you from trying to terminate virus manually. This task can be successfully performed only by experienced IT specialists.

We recommend you to remove Annabelle virus using Reimage. If you cannot run security software, please follow the instructions below. After virus elimination, you can recover your files using backups, Stupid decryptor or alternative recovery methods that are given below.

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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 Annabelle ransomware. 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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Manual Annabelle virus Removal Guide:

Remove Annabelle using Safe Mode with Networking

Follow these steps to disable Annabelle ransomware and run antivirus:

  • 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 Annabelle

    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 Annabelle removal.

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

Remove Annabelle using System Restore

This method might also help to get rid of the malware too:

  • 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 Annabelle. 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 Annabelle removal is performed successfully.

Bonus: Recover your data

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

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

Data Recovery Pro – alternative tool to recover files encrypted by Annabelle ransomware virus

This tool can help to restore some of the files after the ransomware attack. Follow these steps to use it:

Try Windows Previous Versions Feature

If you need to restore only a few important files and System Restore was enabled before ransomware attack, follow these steps:

  • 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”.

Stupid decryptor

Annabelle virus is based on Stupid ransomware. Hence, it's decryptor helps to restore files with .ANNABELLE extension. You can download it from here.

Security experts at Bitdefender Labs created Annabelle Ransomware Decryption Tool at the start of March 2018. This took is specifically designed for the virus; hence we recommend using the latest decryptor available.

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

About the author

Lucia Danes
Lucia Danes - Virus researcher

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