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Archiveus. How to remove? (Uninstall guide)

removal by Julie Splinters - - | Type: Ransomware

Archiveus – one of the first ransomware viruses that got cracked by security researchers quickly

Archiveus trojan
Archiveus is one of the first ransomware viruses that locked up files and asked users to email hackers for further instructions

Archiveus is a quite primitive trojan that enters users computers silently and encrypts all personal files. The virus also drops an “Instructions how to get your files back.txt” ransom note which explains victims that the user got infected with the Archiveus virus while browsing pornographic websites. To retrieve their data, victims have to unlock all files located in EncryptedFiles.als using a password of more than 30 symbols long. Hackers then inform users that they have to contact them via restoring@safemail.net or restoringfiles@yahoo.com email and make several purchases in three different online pharmacy stores before they are provided the password. Fortunately, Archiveus ransomware was decrypted successfully by Sophos security researchers[1] in a short period after the ransomware surfaced.

SUMMARY
Name Archiveus
Type Ransomware
Ransom note Instructions how to get your files back.txt
File location EncryptedFiles.als
Decryptable? Yes. Password: mf2lro8sw03ufvnsq034jfowr18f3cszc20vmw
Distribution Spam emails, malicious websites, etc.
Detection and eleimination Use Reimage

Archiveus trojan typically infiltrates machines via spam emails, file-sharing sites, and other deceptive means. As soon as it enters the device, it scans the computer for various files, including:

  • db
  • key
  • pdf
  • rar
  • txt
  • xls
  • xml
  • zip, etc.

As soon as the scan is complete, every personal file is deleted from its original location and a copy created which is then placed into EncryptedFiles.als folder. Every time the victim tries to open any file, he or she is presented with the following ransom note “how to get your files back.txt”:

INSTRUCTIONS HOW TO GET YOUR FILES BACKREAD CAREFULLY
This is automated report generated by auto archiving software.
All your documents, text files and databases was archived with the long password.
You can not guess the password for your archived files – password length is more than 30 symbols that makes all password recovery programs fail to bruteforce it (guess password by trying all possible combinations).

Do not try to search for a program that encrypted your information – it simply does not exist in your hard disk anymore. System backup will not help you to restore files. Reporting to police about a case will not help you, they do not know the password. Reporting somewhere about our email account will not help you to restore files. Moreover, you and other people will lose contact with us, and consequently, all the encrypted information.

WE DO NOT ASK YOU FOR ANY MONEY! We only want to do business with you. You can even EARN extra money with us. If you really care about the documents and information in encrypted files, you should send an email to restoring@safemail.net or restoringfiles@yahoo.com This is your only way to get your files back and save your time.

We do not want to do you any harm, we do not ask you for money, we only want to do business with you.

Archiveus ransomware also modifies Registry entries that can then be associated with the .ALS files. Therefore, each time the victim clicks on the file the malicious executable is run.

Fortunately, security experts managed to crack the Archiveus malware quickly. The password for the affected files is mf2lro8sw03ufvnsq034jfowr18f3cszc20vmw, and it applies to every user who is affected. Nevertheless, unlike in other Crypto-viruses, Archiveus removal has to be performed after data recovery. Otherwise, getting access to your files will be impossible. 

Archiveus trojan also creates Demo.als file as a proof that decoding data is possible. Nevertheless, users should simply ignore hackers and remove Archiveus ransomware after they recover personal data. Unfortunately, the trojan is quite buggy, and several files might become corrupted after decryption. Therefore, the only safe way to get your files back is by using backups.

As soon as you are done with the data retrieval, you should remove Archiveus virus using Reimage or other reputable security software. 

Be careful when browsing the internet and opening spam emails

According to researchers,[2] users are used to browsing the internet carelessly, be it questionable websites or suspicious spam emails. However, it seems like users take no actions until it is too late and they get infected with a file locking virus. Therefore, it is crucial to be attentive online.

One of the main trojan distribution methods is via phishing emails.[3] These messages often contain an attachment that can be disguised as a legitimate document (.pdf, .doc, .html, .txt, .rar, etc.). As soon as users click on the file and allow the malicious macros to run, the payload is executed on the targeted machine. Alternatively, users might be prompted to click on a cleverly designed hyperlink which would immediately initiate the installation of the virus.

Another dangerous part of the internet is the questionable websites. Certain sites (file-sharing, porn, online dating, etc.) are less secure than others – especially those who offer to download executables. Therefore, avoid questionable domains and download the software and its updates on legitimate sites only.

Finally, make sure you install security software and keep your system backups up to date.

Make no mistake – recover your files before you eliminate Archiveus virus

Although it took researchers only a few weeks to find malware's weakness and uncover the password, it is crucial to take caution when following the Archiveus removal procedure. Be aware that you have to recover your files by using a mf2lro8sw03ufvnsq034jfowr18f3cszc20vmw password for data locked inside the EncryptedFiles.als folder. 

As soon as you are done with the file recovery, you can remove Archiveus virus using reputable security software. Beware that the virus can tamper with the proper operation of the anti-virus program. Thus, you might have to access Safe Mode with Networking as explained below.

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If you decided to select another anti-spyware, uninstall Reimage from your computer.
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Alternative Software
Different security software includes different virus database. If you didn’t succeed in finding malware with Reimage, try running alternative scan with Malwarebytes.
Alternative Software
Different security software includes different virus database. If you didn’t succeed in finding malware with Reimage, try running alternative scan with Combo Cleaner.

To remove Archiveus, follow these steps:

Remove Archiveus using Safe Mode with Networking

In case the Archiveus is tampering with the security software, enter Safe Mode with Networking:

  • 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 Archiveus

    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 Archiveus removal.

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

Remove Archiveus using System Restore

To disable the malware, use 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 Archiveus. 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 Archiveus removal is performed successfully.

Bonus: Recover your data

Guide which is presented above is supposed to help you remove Archiveus from your computer. To recover your encrypted files, we recommend using a detailed guide prepared by 2-spyware.com security experts.

Although the password has long been uncovered, it might leave your files damaged. In such case, check third-party software that can recover corrupted data.

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

Data Recover Pro

This application was designed to recover accidentally deleted or otherwise damaged 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 Archiveus ransomware;
  • Restore them.

Windows Previous Versions feature

Beware that this method will only work if you had System Restore function enable before the virus 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

ShadowExplorer is an excellent tool if the ransomware failed to delete Shadow Volume 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.

Use the password

Use mf2lro8sw03ufvnsq034jfowr18f3cszc20vmw password to get your data back.

Finally, you should always think about the protection of crypto-ransomwares. In order to protect your computer from Archiveus and other ransomwares, use a reputable anti-spyware, such as Reimage, Malwarebytes MalwarebytesCombo Cleaner or Plumbytes Anti-MalwareMalwarebytes Malwarebytes

About the author

Julie Splinters
Julie Splinters - Malware removal specialist

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References