.AnonymouS virus – HiddenTear-based ransomware built for money extortion
AnoymouS ransomware is a data locking malware that encrypts files and holds them hostage until ransom is paid
On October 23, 2020, new malware has arisen – AnonymouS ransomware. Like most ransomware, this one also infects victims' computer systems, encrypts all personal files, and demands a ransom to unlock their data. After encryption is done, all non-system files receive a file extension .AnonymouS, hence the name of the virus. The malware lands on the users' system via an executive file (.exe) – GTA V Setup.exe, although other samples might be using different names. It is also became apparent that the virus stems from one of the most prominent open-source ransomware known as Hidden Tear.
|FILE NAME||GTA V Setup.exe|
|CLASIFICATION||Malware, Ransomware, Cryptoware|
|ENCRYPTION USED||RSA-2048, AES-128|
|RANSOM NOTE||Message_Important.txt appears in affected folders. The text file contains ransom details in two languages – French and English.|
|DISTRIBUTION||Spam emails and their content, torrent websites|
|INFECTION AFTERMATH||Victims' files are encrypted and receive a new file extension – .AnonymouS, rendering the files inaccessible|
|REMOVAL STEPS||To remove malware infection from your computer, you should scan your machine with anti-malware. If needed, access Safe Mode with Networking – we explain how below|
|SYSTEM FIX||Ransomware can pose a significant danger not only to personal but also system files. If your computer is crashing and experiencing other stability issues, you can attempt to fix them with ReimageIntego or other repair software|
Users find text files (“Message_Important.txt”) in contaminated folders with a ransom demanding message inside (see the whole message below this paragraph). It's presented in two languages – French and English. Perpetrators define that users' data was encrypted using two cryptographic algorithms – RSA-2048 and AES-128. Unlike in most ransom notes, the cybercriminals behind the .AnonymouS virus aren't warning the victims not to try and alter the files by renaming them or trying to decrypt with third party tools.
The developers just tell that the decryption is only possible with their “private key and decryption program.” Then they're presenting the instructions on how to pay the ransom. As always, the cybercriminals cannot be trusted, so we strongly advise you not to meet their demands, because usually, the victims not only lose their data but their money too.
Ransom note in the Message_Important.txt reads as follows:
1) French Version :
Vos fichiers sont cryptés avec chiffrement RSA-2048 et AES-128.
Décrypter vos fichiers est uniquement possible à l'aide d'une clé privée et un programme de décryptage
Qui se trouvent sur notre serveur secret, il s'agit d'un ransomware et non pas de virus.
Pour décrypter vos fichiers, veuillez suivre les instructions suivantes :
instruction à faire pour nous aider à décrypter vos fichiers :
1)Achetez des bitcoins de prix $ ,USD
2)Vous pouvez acheter rapidement les bitcoins icihxxps://localbitcoins.com
3)Envoyez les bitcoins à cette adresse : your wallet bitcoins
4)Dès qu'on reçoit les bitcoins ,on décrypte vos fichiers:your-email
2) English version :
Your files are encrypted with RSA-2048 and AES-128 encryption.
Decrypting your files is only possible using a private key and a decryption program,
Which are on our secret server, it is a ransomware and not viruses.
To decrypt your files, please follow these instructions :
instruction to help us decrypt your files :
1) Buy bitcoins from prix $ ,USD
2) You can buy bitcoins quickly here : hxxps://localbitcoins.com
3) Send bitcoins to this address: your wallet bitcoins
4) As soon as we receive the bitcoins, we decrypt your files :your-email
According to VirusTotal.com, 48 out of 71 antivirus (AV) programs found the ransomware. This once again emphasizes the usefulness of a reliable antivirus. Bellow are few examples of how some popular AVs detect the malware:
- Kaspersky – HEUR:Trojan.Win32.Generic
- McAfee – RDN/Ransom
- Malwarebytes – Ransom.HiddenTear
- Panda – Trj/GdSda.A
- Symantec – Ransom.HiddenTear!g1
AnoymouS ransomware prevents all access to the personal files
We strongly advise you to use SpyHunter 5Combo Cleaner for detection and ReimageIntego for system restoration after the .AnonymouS ransomware removal is completed. Otherwise, your PC might suffer from various crashes, errors, BSODs, and other issues post-termination.
Keep in mind that you should copy all the encrypted files before you remove AnonymouS ransomware if you have no backups to restore data from. Otherwise, you might permanently damage files, and they might become corrupted due to malware elimination of the usage of third-party tools.
Ransomware distribution methods
Malware spreads in many different ways – file-sharing platforms, spam emails, to name just a few. Instead of downloading what the user thought he was getting, he might obtain some mischievous software from the file-sharing platforms without knowing about it. People should always download software only from reliable sources, e.g., from the developers.
While conducting a spam campaign, cybercriminals send out thousands of infected emails to computer users all over the world. The emails might look like an official letter from your company, your bank, etc., but beware of the attachments and unnatural looking links. The attachments might contain malware that would attack your data by encrypting or stealing it. And one might never know what you could find at the other end of the phony link, but in most cases – some sort of virus.
Recommended AnonymouS ransomware removal tools
To prevent the criminals from success in their line of work, firstly it is recommended to use powerful antivirus software (such as SpyHunter 5Combo Cleaner or Malwarebytes) and keep it updated at all times. To add more security to your data – keep backups of it in separate locations, such as the cloud, servers, removable drives.
AnoymouS ransomware delivers a ransom note written in English and French
If you're one of the thousands of unlucky computer users that caught the AnonymouS ransomware infection – all is not lost. Your data might be, but your whole system still has hope. We strongly advise never against agreeing with the demands of the cybercriminals.
For AnonymouS malware removal, we recommend using a powerful and trustworthy anti-malware software. Usually, malware messes up the computers' registry, which might lead to your systems' irregular work, crashes, etc. To restore your system to its normal state, we advise you to use ReimageIntego.
To remove AnoymouS virus, follow these steps:
Manual AnoymouS removal using Safe Mode
If anti-virus software is not working correctly, access Safe Mode with Networking:
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 AnoymouS using System Restore
System Restore can be used to eliminate the malware as well:
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 AnoymouS. 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 AnoymouS 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 AnoymouS, you can use several methods to restore them:
Data Recovery Pro might be useful
This tool might be able to restore at least some of the locked files.
- 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 AnoymouS ransomware;
- Restore them.
Windows Previous Versions feature
This method can be used to restore files one-by-one, although only works when System Restore function was enabled prior to ransomware attack.
- 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”.
ShadowExplorer might safe all your files in some cases
You might be able to recover all the encrypted data if malware failed to delete Shadow Copies.
- 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.
No decryptor is currently available
Finally, you should always think about the protection of crypto-ransomwares. In order to protect your computer from AnoymouS and other ransomwares, use a reputable anti-spyware, such as ReimageIntego, SpyHunter 5Combo Cleaner or Malwarebytes
Protect your privacy – employ a VPN
There are several ways how to make your online time more private – you can access an incognito tab. However, there is no secret that even in this mode, you are tracked for advertising purposes. There is a way to add an extra layer of protection and create a completely anonymous web browsing practice with the help of Private Internet Access VPN. This software reroutes traffic through different servers, thus leaving your IP address and geolocation in disguise. Besides, it is based on a strict no-log policy, meaning that no data will be recorded, leaked, and available for both first and third parties. The combination of a secure web browser and Private Internet Access VPN will let you browse the Internet without a feeling of being spied or targeted by criminals.
No backups? No problem. Use a data recovery tool
If you wonder how data loss can occur, you should not look any further for answers – human errors, malware attacks, hardware failures, power cuts, natural disasters, or even simple negligence. In some cases, lost files are extremely important, and many straight out panic when such an unfortunate course of events happen. Due to this, you should always ensure that you prepare proper data backups on a regular basis.
If you were caught by surprise and did not have any backups to restore your files from, not everything is lost. Data Recovery Pro is one of the leading file recovery solutions you can find on the market – it is likely to restore even lost emails or data located on an external device.