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BlackHeart ransomware. How to remove? (Uninstall guide)

removal by Linas Kiguolis - - | Type: Ransomware

BlackHeart – new ransomware virus relying on AES cryptography

BlackHeart ransomware note

BlackHeart is yet another crypto-ransomware virus[1] that has been detected at the end of April 2018. Also known as BlackRouter, the crypto-extortionist spreads as SF.exe, TR.exe or BLACKROUTER.EXE file and locks personal data using AES cryptography. It is easy to recognize this virus by the .BlackRouter or .pay2me extension it appends at the end of the filename following the encryption. Those who are infected with BlackHeart ransomware receive the ReadME-BLackHeart.txt file, which demands to contact to for further instructions.

Name BlackHeart
Also known as BlackRouter
Classification Ransomware
Danger level

High. Encrypts personal files and demands for a redemption. Corrupts system's settings

File extension used .BlackRouter or .pay2me
Contact email
Related files SF.exe, TR.exe, BLACKROUTER.EXE, aut3.tmp, aut4.tmp, aut5.tmp, jrw.gif
Distribution Spam email attachments, unprotected Remote Desktop Services, fake software updates, phishing sites, etc.
Download Reimage and run a full system scan to eliminate BlackHeart ransomware

The BlackHeart or BlackRouter virus has been revealed by ransomware researchers after detection of SF.exe, TR.exe or BLACKROUTER.EXE files. In-Depth analysis showed all of them to be malicious files carrying ransomware payload. Usually, these files can be found disguised under malicious spam email attachments or fake software update installers, though sometimes that can be installed on PCs using brute-forcing technique and RDP exploitation.

Following the installation, the BlackHeart ransomware targets pictures, photos, documents, videos, etc. and encrypts them using AEC cipher. Each locked file is marked with .BlackRouter or .pay2me file extension, which cannot be removed or changed manually.

The victim can also find a ReadME-BLackHeart.txt file, which stands for a ransom note. It does not contain much information on what has happened to data on the PC or how the payment is expected to be made. It only states:

All your data has been locked us. You want to return? Contact to: Your Personal key:

In case the owner of the infected PC opts for a personal ID that is supposed to unlock files, he or she has to send an email to for payment instructions. According to experts, crooks ask to pay the ransom[2] that ranges from $300 to $500 in Bitcoins.

However, we do not recommend sending money to crooks. Instead, perform BlackHeart removal immediately using a professional anti-virus, such as Reimage, Malwarebytes or Plumbytes Anti-MalwareNorton Internet Security. Otherwise, criminals can trick you into giving away your money for another malicious software instead of BlackHeart decryptor.

Do not try to remove BlackHeart virus manually because that's practically impossible. It installs a package of malicious files (aut3.tmp, aut4.tmp, aut5.tmp, jrw.gif, SF.exe, TR.exe, etc.) on \ User_folders \, \ Temp \, \ AppData \ Local \, and other system's folders to evade removal. Therefore, you need a professional anti-virus to immunize all BlackHeart ransomware components.

Upon virus elimination, try to decrypt files locked by .BlackRouter file extension virus with the help of third-party data recovery tools or other alternative methods that we've listed at the end of this article.

Most common ransomware virus distribution techniques

Most frequently ransomware-type viruses are spread via malicious spam emails. This distribution technique is practiced for more than a decade and is employed by criminals to disseminate virus as widely as possible.[3] team points out that malicious spam emails typically contain a .doc, .pdf, .docx, .png, and similar attachment. It may contain body text or not, but usually, the victim is being tricked into opening the attachment in disguise of authorities or well-known companies. Therefore, it's essential not to open attachments before verifying if it contains grammar/typo or spelling mistakes, as well as the sender, Subject, and other relevant information that may turn out to be suspicious.

In addition to spam, ransomware may be disseminated via unprotected Remote Desktop Services. Hackers may easily exploit PCs connected to RDS directly to the Internet and inject malicious files using the brute-forcing attack. Finally, don't forget the existence of fake software updates, phishing websites, and other means that are used for spreading the virus.

Learn how to get rid of BlackHeart virus

The most important thing is not to remove BlackHeart virus alone. An attempt to eliminate it manually can end up with a severe system's crash and permanent data loss. To get rid of this cyber infection, use a professional software removal tool, say Reimage.

Upon complete BlackHeart removal, you can begin to file decryption procedure. You can find all recommended methods down below.

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To remove BlackHeart virus, follow these steps:

Remove BlackHeart using Safe Mode with Networking

To eliminate ransomware successfully, first of all boot the system into 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 BlackHeart

    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 BlackHeart removal.

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

Remove BlackHeart using System Restore

If the previous method failed to work and you are still struggling with ransomware removal, follow these steps:

  • 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 BlackHeart. 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 BlackHeart removal is performed successfully.

Bonus: Recover your data

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

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

Decrypt files encrypted by BlackHeart with Data Recovery Pro

This software utility can help you to retrieve most or all of the data locked by ransomware virus. Here's what you have to do:

  • 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 BlackHeart ransomware;
  • Restore them.

Take advantage of Previous Windows Version feature

  • 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”.

Exploit Volume Shadow Copies

Experts haven't yet revealed whether BlackHeart malware deleted Volume Shadow Copies or not. To check that, you should download and install ShadowExplorer and run a full scan to see what files it detects. 

  • Download Shadow Explorer (;
  • 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 released yet.

About the author

Linas Kiguolis
Linas Kiguolis - Expert in social media

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