Severity scale:  
  (97/100)

Assembly ransomware. How to remove? (Uninstall guide)

removal by Linas Kiguolis - - | Type: Ransomware

Assembly Ransomware is a dangerous cyber infection that seeks to encrypt personal files

Assembly ransomware attacks English-speaking users

Assembly is a cyber infection classified as crypto-ransomware. Its developers exploit different social engineering strategies[1] to disseminate ransomware payload in a form of assembly.exe file. When installed, it locks the access to 26 most widely used file types using AES-256 (CBC mode). File extension used by Assembly ransomware is .locked. Victims are informed about an attack in READ_ME.txt file, which demands to pay the $1000 ransom in BTC.

Name Assembly
Classified as Ransomware
Danger level High. Initiates system's changes under admin privileges, locks personal files, demands to pay a ransom
Related files assembly.exe, READ_ME.txt
Encryption AES-256
Decryptable No
To get rid of Assembly, run a scan with Reimage

Assembly virus has been revealed in the middle of April 2018. Currently, no payments have been made to the 1NRtwvG6hvmpm4qv7ChoFGxNNsLaU8A5B9 BTC wallet that is indicated in the ransom note. Thus, it seems that the virus hasn't yet went wild, though people should be cautions and be extremely careful when opening suspicious emails or seeing misleading ads online.

According to ransomware researchers, Assembly crypto-malware is built on the HiddenTear open-source ransomware code. Its distribution relies on the assembly.exe file, which may be disguised under .doc, .docx, .pdf, or similar file types attached to spam email or rogue software updates. Once installed, it scans the system for the following file types (26 in total) and encrypts them using AES-256 cipher.

.asp, .aspx, .cpp, .csx, .csv, .doc, .docx, .html, .jpg, .mdb, .odt, .pdf, .php, .png, .ppt, .pptx, .psd , .raw, .rtf, .sln, .sql, .txt, .vb, .xls, .xlsx, .xml

Each file encrypted by Assembly ransomware gets a .locked file extension and cannot be opened. The victim can get acquanted with the current situation by reading a READ_ME.txt file, which contains the following information:

All files have been encrypted
Send 1000 $ in BTC to
1NRtwvG6hvmpm4qv7ChoFGxNNsLaU8A5B9
and send your computername to
ransomrust@protonmail.com
in order to decrypt the files.

Extortionists demand the victim to pay $1000 in cryptocurrency Bitcoin in exchange of a Assembly decryptor. To maximize the profit from ransom, crooks programmed the virus so that it deletes Volume Shadow Copies.[2] Nonetheless, it seems to leave System Restore Points intact, meaning that there's a possibility to retrieve personal files without paying a redemption.

Anyway, paying a ransom is not a great deal whatsoever. Extortionists need “investments” for the future crimes, so each ransom gives the way for them to develop more severe cyber infections.

In case you are currently seeing files encrypted with .locked file extension, you should immediately scan your PC with Reimage or Malwarebytes to remove Assembly ransomware.Once eliminated, it won't be able to repeatedly lock your files.

If Assembly removal is not permitted due to multiplicity of Windows OS changes that the virus executed, you will have to bypass the restriction by switching to the Safe Mode with Networking mode. You can find instructions on how to do that down below.

Malspam campaigns – the primary source of ransomware attacks

Although criminals are more and more often exploiting unprotected Remote Desktop services, using Exploit kits, drive-by-download attacks, and other highly suspicious means to spread ransomware, malspam campaigns remain a number one danger for the cyber community. The scheme or these campaigns are quite primitive:

  • Criminals launch distribution campaign by creating a misleading email, which contains an attachment infected with .exe file;
  • The email is sent to hundreds or thousands of potential victims via spam bots or similar channels;
  • If the potential victim falls for the catch and opens the attachment, ransomware payload is being executed;

Thus, it's very important to be cautions about smap email and restrain from opening attachments of messages that are supposedly sent by IRS, Amazon, eBay or another well-known company, unless you expected to get one.

Beware that malicious emails often contain grammar, spelling and type mistakes or may not contain body text, which is not normal in original emails from reputable sources. Zondervirus.nl[3] experts point out to another factor raising suspicions – the requirement to enable Macros to read the attachment. Macros is needed to unravel ransomware payload, but not a regular PDF or DOC file.

Finally, protect your PC and its content by installing a powerful anti-virus and keep it up-to-date.

System scan can help you to remove Assembly virus

Ransomware viruses are dangerous in their nature. They change boot sequence, run scripts via Command Prompt and Powershell, create dangerous Registry entries, and initiate other modifications that can hardly be fixed manually. Thus, it you're PC has been attacked, we recommend to launch a scanner of the anti-virus and let it perform a Assembly removal.

If it turns out that it's not easy to remove Assembly using the anti-virus because it's blocked, you may need to restart the system into safe mode. Once there, use Malwarebytes, Plumbytes Anti-MalwareNorton Internet Security or another robust malware removal tool to get rid of infections.

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To remove Assembly virus, follow these steps:

Remove Assembly using Safe Mode with Networking

Boot the system into Safe Mode with Networking if the virus blocks the security tool:

  • 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 Assembly

    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 Assembly removal.

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

Remove Assembly using 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 Assembly. 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 Assembly removal is performed successfully.

Bonus: Recover your data

Guide which is presented above is supposed to help you remove Assembly 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 Assembly, you can use several methods to restore them:

Take advantage of Data Recovery Pro scanner

Data Recovery Pro can help to recover accidentally deleted files, data lost due to system's crash or ransomware attack. Although there's no hundred percent guarantee that it will unlock files encrypted by Assembly malware, it's worth giving a try. 

  • 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 Assembly ransomware;
  • Restore them.

Enable System Restore Point

System Restore Point can help you to get rid of ransomware and retrieve the files that it managed to lock. Here's what you should do:

  • 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 free decryptor available yet.

About the author

Linas Kiguolis
Linas Kiguolis - Expert in social media

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References