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Armage ransomware. How to remove? (Uninstall guide)

removal by Lucia Danes - - | Type: Ransomware

Armage ransomware – a malware infection that renders personal files useless

Armage ransomware
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[1] 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.

Summary
Name Armage
Type Ransomware
Appendix .armage
Ransom note Notice.txt
Contact email armagedosevin@aol.com
Encryption algorithm AES-256
Distribution Spam emails, malicious websites, etc.
Detection and elimination Download and install Reimage or Plumbytes Anti-MalwareMalwarebytes Malwarebytes

Ransomware is a sneaky type of infection and is injected into victims' machines using social engineering. Phishing[2] 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 armagedosevin@aol.com to get your decryption key.
Your USERKEY: [combination of 128 characters]

Users are prompted to contact hackers using armagedosevin@aol.com, and many actually do. Nevertheless, security researchers[3] 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. 

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 Reimage or Plumbytes Anti-MalwareMalwarebytes 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.

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What to do if failed?
If you failed to remove virus damage using Reimage, submit a question to our support team and provide as much details as possible.
Reimage is recommended to remove virus damage. 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.
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 Armage virus, follow these steps:

Remove Armage using Safe Mode with Networking

If the virus does not allow your security software to start properly, 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 Armage

    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 Armage removal.

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

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
    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 Armage. 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 Armage removal is performed successfully.

Bonus: Recover your data

Guide 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 Reimage, Malwarebytes MalwarebytesCombo Cleaner or Plumbytes Anti-MalwareMalwarebytes Malwarebytes

About the author

Lucia Danes
Lucia Danes - Virus researcher

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References