Armage ransomware (Removal Guide) - Decryption Steps Included
Armage virus Removal Guide
What is Armage ransomware?
Armage ransomware – a malware infection that renders personal files useless
Armage ransomware is a dangerous file-encrypting virus that demands ransom to be paid for encrypted file release
Armage ransomware is a crypto-virus that was first discovered on the 23rd of July, 2018. The malicious program uses AES-256 cipher to encode files, blocking the access entirely. Soon after encryption, the .armage appendix is added, a unique encryption key is generated and sent to hackers to a remote Command & Control server. This key is needed to get the control of data back, but, unfortunately, only cybercriminals have access to it. To decode data, victims have to pay ransom in digital currency, usually Bitcoin. To inform users of the consequences of the infection, the Armage virus is programmed to put a ransom note “Notice.txt” into every affected folder and the desktop.
|Distribution||Spam emails, malicious websites, etc.|
|Detection and elimination||Download and install RestoroIntego or Malwarebytes|
Ransomware is a sneaky type of infection and is injected into victims' machines using social engineering. Phishing emails are often sent out to thousands of users and those who are not careful enough to execute the malicious code, infecting it. Additionally, Armage ransomware can be hosted by dubious file-sharing sites. Thus, users are advised to avoid such domains and consider every spam email as suspicious by default.
Soon after infiltration, Armage ransomware makes several changes to the machine, including Windows Registry modification, which allows it to start up with every Windows boot. Then, the virus scans the device for files to encrypt – documents, databases, pictures, videos, music, etc. Personal data is then modified in a way that it cannot be opened by regular programs and requires decryption key which only Armage ransomware authors can provide.
Armage ransomware has another unusual feature security researchers discovered. Upon infiltration, malware deletes Windows explorer shortcuts and system libraries. Therefore, it is impossible not to notice that something is wrong. Victims should not panic and proceed with Armage removal instead. Only then they will have a chance of recovering their personal files.
The ransom note of Armage ransomware states the following:
Your files was encrypted using AES-256 algorithm, write me to e-mail email@example.com to get your decryption key.
Your USERKEY: [combination of 128 characters]
Users are prompted to contact hackers using firstname.lastname@example.org, and many actually do. Nevertheless, security researchers do not recommend doing that, as a risk of losing money is quite high. Besides, not only would such actions fund criminals' attacks, but might also make them choose you as a target in the future, knowing you are willing to pay.
Thus, do not contact cybercrooks, as you can not trust people who use such ambiguous methods to obtain money illegally. Instead, use anti-malware software to remove Armage ransomware. Only then you can start the file recovery procedure. Unfortunately, the only method of getting all data back safely is by restoring it from a backup. If you did not have one created, you could try third-party software instead.
Armage - a recent cyberthreat that encrypts data using AES cipher
Keep your eyes on spam emails – ransomware virus might be hidden inside
You log in to your email to check if you got anything important and noticed that a couple of new emails arrived – both of them in the spam folder. You do not pay attention to their location and open the first message. It includes a carefully composed text warning you about taxes you did not pay for. According to the author, you can find all the details inside the attachment.
In a rush, you download a file and double click it. Unfortunately, it fails to open as it asks you to use macro function. Baffled, you agree. As soon as that button is pressed, there is no way back, as malware executes its payload and starts its activity immediately.
And that is precisely how users get tricked – cleverly engineered phishing emails can deceive even those computer-savvy ones if they are not careful enough. Thus, pay attention to your Inbox and carefully examine each email before opening any attachments or clicking on links.
Other file-encrypting virus infiltration methods are:
- Unprotected RDP;
- Weak passwords;
- Exploit kits;
- Malicious websites;
- Malversting, etc.
Don't forget that every executable can be a virus. Thus, refrain yourself from visiting suspicious websites, do not click on dubious ads and patch your software as soon as new updates are available.
Eliminate .armage file extension virus from your PC
Armage ransomware removal should never be attempted without professional help. Ransomware infections are written in a complicated code which makes several system changes. To repair the damage, you would have to locate malicious files and get rid of them manually, which is a complicated process and can only be executed by IT professionals.
Thus, to successfully remove .armage virus from your computer, download and install security software that can be trusted. We recommend RestoroIntego or Malwarebytes – these malware removal applications are capable of disabling the virus and deleting all malicious files and revert changes performed by Armage ransomware.
As soon as the elimination procedure is complete, you can recover your files using a backup or by using third-party software. You will find the instructions below.
Getting rid of Armage virus. Follow these steps
Manual removal using Safe Mode
If the virus does not allow your security software to start properly, enter 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 Armage using System Restore
Stop Armage ransomware by using System Restore function:
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 Armage. 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 Armage from your computer. To recover your encrypted files, we recommend using a detailed guide prepared by 2-spyware.com security experts.
Regardless how large the demanded sum is, never pay cybercrooks. They are known to ignore victims, even after the ransom is paid. Instead, try alternative file recover methods mentioned below.
If your files are encrypted by Armage, you can use several methods to restore them:
Use Data Recover Pro to get your files back
This software was originally created to help users who accidentally deleted their files. Nevertheless, the application is also known to help victims of ransomware attack.
- 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 Armage ransomware;
- Restore them.
Make use of Windows Previous Versions feature
This method will only work if you had System Restore enabled before Armage ransomware struck your system.
- 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 could save all your files
In case the crypto-virus failed to delete Shadow Volume Copies, ShadowExplorer is the answer.
- 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 available yet
Finally, you should always think about the protection of crypto-ransomwares. In order to protect your computer from Armage and other ransomwares, use a reputable anti-spyware, such as RestoroIntego, SpyHunter 5Combo Cleaner or Malwarebytes
How to prevent from getting ransomware
Stream videos without limitations, no matter where you are
There are multiple parties that could find out almost anything about you by checking your online activity. While this is highly unlikely, advertisers and tech companies are constantly tracking you online. The first step to privacy should be a secure browser that focuses on tracker reduction to a minimum.
Even if you employ a secure browser, you will not be able to access websites that are restricted due to local government laws or other reasons. In other words, you may not be able to stream Disney+ or US-based Netflix in some countries. To bypass these restrictions, you can employ a powerful Private Internet Access VPN, which provides dedicated servers for torrenting and streaming, not slowing you down in the process.
Data backups are important – recover your lost files
Ransomware is one of the biggest threats to personal data. Once it is executed on a machine, it launches a sophisticated encryption algorithm that locks all your files, although it does not destroy them. The most common misconception is that anti-malware software can return files to their previous states. This is not true, however, and data remains locked after the malicious payload is deleted.
While regular data backups are the only secure method to recover your files after a ransomware attack, tools such as Data Recovery Pro can also be effective and restore at least some of your lost data.
- ^ John Mason. Advanced Encryption Standard (AES). Thebestvpn. VPN reviews.
- ^ Danny Palmer . What is phishing? Everything you need to know to protect yourself from scam emails and more. ZDNet. Tech news site.
- ^ Viruset. Viruset. Nerwegian malware research site.