Annabelle virus Removal Guide
What is Annabelle ransomware?
Annabelle ransomware is a troublesome crypto-virus based on Annabelle horror movie
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 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). 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 ReimageIntego which can clean malicious components, replace corrupted registry entries and solve other problems caused by malware.
Annabelle ransomware is decryptable malware; however, it can damage Windows OS and make computer impossible to use.
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 losvirus.es 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 ReimageIntego. 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.
Getting rid of Annabelle virus. Follow these steps
Manual removal using Safe Mode
Follow these steps to disable Annabelle ransomware and run antivirus:
Manual removal guide might be too complicated for regular computer users. It requires advanced IT knowledge to be performed correctly (if vital system files are removed or damaged, it might result in full Windows compromise), and it also might take hours to complete. Therefore, we highly advise using the automatic method provided above instead.
Step 1. Access Safe Mode with Networking
Manual malware removal should be best performed in the Safe Mode environment.
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.
- Press Restart.
- Now press 5 or click 5) Enable Safe Mode with Networking.
Step 2. Shut down suspicious processes
Windows Task Manager is a useful tool that shows all the processes running in the background. If malware is running a process, you need to shut it down:
- Press Ctrl + Shift + Esc on your keyboard to open Windows Task Manager.
- Click on More details.
- Scroll down to Background processes section, and look for anything suspicious.
- Right-click and select Open file location.
- Go back to the process, right-click and pick End Task.
- Delete the contents of the malicious folder.
Step 3. Check program Startup
- Press Ctrl + Shift + Esc on your keyboard to open Windows Task Manager.
- Go to Startup tab.
- Right-click on the suspicious program and pick Disable.
Step 4. Delete virus files
Malware-related files can be found in various places within your computer. Here are instructions that could help you find them:
- Type in Disk Cleanup in Windows search and press Enter.
- Select the drive you want to clean (C: is your main drive by default and is likely to be the one that has malicious files in).
- Scroll through the Files to delete list and select the following:
Temporary Internet Files
- Pick Clean up system files.
- You can also look for other malicious files hidden in the following folders (type these entries in Windows Search and press Enter):
After you are finished, reboot the PC in normal mode.
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
- 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
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.
Step 2: Restore your system files and settings
- Once the Command Prompt window shows up, enter cd restore and click Enter.
- Now type rstrui.exe and press Enter again..
- 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.
- Now click Yes to start system restore.
Bonus: Recover your dataGuide 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 2-spyware.com 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:
- Download Data Recovery Pro;
- Follow the steps of Data Recovery Setup and install the program on your computer;
- Launch it and scan your computer for files encrypted by Annabelle ransomware;
- Restore them.
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”.
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 ReimageIntego, SpyHunter 5Combo Cleaner or Malwarebytes
How to prevent from getting ransomware
Do not let government spy on you
The government has many issues in regards to tracking users' data and spying on citizens, so you should take this into consideration and learn more about shady information gathering practices. Avoid any unwanted government tracking or spying by going totally anonymous on the internet.
You can choose a different location when you go online and access any material you want without particular content restrictions. You can easily enjoy internet connection without any risks of being hacked by using Private Internet Access VPN.
Control the information that can be accessed by government any other unwanted party and surf online without being spied on. Even if you are not involved in illegal activities or trust your selection of services, platforms, be suspicious for your own security and take precautionary measures by using the VPN service.
Backup files for the later use, in case of the malware attack
Computer users can suffer from data losses due to cyber infections or their own faulty doings. Ransomware can encrypt and hold files hostage, while unforeseen power cuts might cause a loss of important documents. If you have proper up-to-date backups, you can easily recover after such an incident and get back to work. It is also equally important to update backups on a regular basis so that the newest information remains intact – you can set this process to be performed automatically.
When you have the previous version of every important document or project you can avoid frustration and breakdowns. It comes in handy when malware strikes out of nowhere. Use Data Recovery Pro for the data restoration process.