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CHIP ransomware virus. How to remove? (Uninstall guide)

removal by Olivia Morelli - -   Also known as .DALE file extension virus | Type: Ransomware
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What do we know about CHIP virus:

CHIP virus is a ransomware-type application[1] created for the sole purpose of extorting money from the infected computer owners. The principle this program employs is simple. It either brute-forces its way into the system or sneaks inside by deception and then runs a malicious script which encodes certain types of files with a strong encryption algorithm. Specifically, CHIP ransomware uses RSA encryption[2] which allows locking the data with a public key, while the decryption can only be achieved with a private one. The files encrypted by CHIP ransomware can be uncovered by finding .DALE file extension added to them. Usually, these viruses are programmed to target high-importance “working” content including media files, Office documents or PDF files. The virus is said to encrypt virtual or the most popular cloud drives[3] as well, so, if you are thinking about backing up your data on such platforms to prevent ransomware attacks, you should start thinking about some other option. However, if infected, you need to remove CHIP virus first because each second counts and you can lose even more files stored on your computer.  

When the files are encrypted, the criminals drop the ransom note DALE_FILES.TXT that manipulates their victims into paying considerable sums of money in order to regain the lost access to their personal data. According to the latest findings, they ask people to contact them via grion@protonmail.com, grion@techie.com, grion@dr.com, grion@protonmail.com and similar email addresses. We should remind you that CHIP is a creation of cyber criminals who should not be trusted![4] These individuals may try to convince you into thinking that they are the only ones who can help you to get your data back, but, please, keep in mind that security expert have already found alternative ways to help people recover their data. By paying up, you only support the criminals, but, by carrying out CHIP removal, you can diminish their motivation to move forward with the virus invention. We suggest doing just that and contributing to the battle against cyber infections.

Image of CHIP ransomware virus

CHIP virus earns its name from the .chip extensions it adds to the infected files. However, the latest its version uses .Dale file extension. Documents that feature such extensions are inaccessible and remain like this until they are decrypted using the offered decryption key or in case the encryption is bypassed some other way. The targeted files are compromised by changing their inner structure. For instance, after the encryption, information on a Word document will be replaced by a jumble of unintelligible symbols. The number of symbols indicates the complexity of encryption: the more symbols — the stronger encryption. To solve this problem, the hackers offer the victim to purchase a private decryption key which will supposedly bring these files in their previous order. On the infected computer, the virus automatically drops a ransom note called DALE_FILES.TXT (or previously used CHIP_FILES.TXT) in which this data retrieval process is explained in more detail as can be seen in an example below:

YOUR ID:[random_string_of_characters]
Hello! All Your files are encrypted! For more specific instructions,
please visit a support home page: hxxp://mm6x57ri2coivya6.onion
To see this page follow these steps: 1 – Download and install tor-browser: hxxp://www.torproject.org/projects/torbrowser.html.en
2 – After a successful installation, run the browser
3 – Type in the address bar – hxxp://mm6x57ri2coivya6.onion
4 – Follow the instructions on the site
Attention: DO NOT USE ANY PUBLIC DECRYPTERS! YOU CAN DAMAGE YOUR FILES!
Kind regards,
Support Team.
YOUR ID:[random_string_of_characters]

As you can see, the hackers are not willing to discuss the financial issues immediately and urge the victims to access the predetermined payment site first. Even after that, the victims are asked to provide their own email address to that the hackers could contact them privately. The notice is declared as follows:

Hello!
Your files are encrypted!
If You want to restore Your system, You need to use a contact form below.
Leave Your ID number (ID number is located in the “CHIP_FILES.TXT”) and contact email.
Our appointment coordinators will contact you within 24 hours!
Attention: DO NOT USE ANY PUBLIC DECRYPTERS! YOU CAN DAMAGE YOUR FILES!

Is is likely that after you contact the criminals, you will be asked to transfer them a ransom that ranges from $500 to $1000. Even with such large sums at play, you are never guaranteed that your files are safe and will be decrypted. Thus, the most rational decision in such a case is to remove CHIP virus, try to recover the encrypted data via alternative techniques and take steps to protect your future data, namely, create backup copies of your files.

How do hackers distribute this virus?

What concerns CHIP virus distribution, we have to say that it is pretty basic. The virus primarily attacks computers through spam emails. Hackers have become surprisingly good at creating persuasive emails that inform about tax refund, delivery confirmation, flight bookings and similar issues which, in reality, work as a hook to get the targeted victims download malicious files.[5] Thus, you should never rush to open similar emails or download attached files, even if the sender is an authoritative company or institution. If you are not cautious enough and download one of the infected .js, .wsf, .hta, .html files that CHIP developers use to distribute this virus with, you may get infected and lose your files. Stay vigilant and stay away from such emails as far as possible at the same time taking care of your data backups.

How can you remove CHIP virus from your computer?

CHIP virus is malicious, but there is no need to panic. You should stay collected and take matters into your own hands. CHIP removal requires patience and attention, not to mention proper elimination tools. We highly recommend obtaining a sophisticated, legal and powerful utility that will get rid of the virus and protect you against similar infections in the future. As for the already mentioned data recovery steps, you will find them by scrolling below the article.

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What to do if failed?
If you failed to remove infection using Reimage, submit a question to our support team and provide as much details as possible.
Reimage is recommended to uninstall CHIP ransomware virus. 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.
More information about this program can be found in Reimage review.
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Manual CHIP virus Removal Guide:

Remove CHIP using 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 CHIP

    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 CHIP removal.

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

Remove CHIP 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 CHIP. 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 CHIP removal is performed successfully.

Bonus: Recover your data

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

Data Recovery Pro abilities to rescue files encrypted by CHIP ransomware

Data Recovery Pro is a powerful and sophisticate tool that is normally used for the recovery of accidentally deleted files but can also be used to eliminate consequences of ransomware attack. Below we present the steps which will explain how to use this tool and recover your files:

Windows Previous Versions feature in decrypting files encrypted by CHIP virus

Windows Previous Versions feature is a useful technique which can help recover individual files, but not the entire system. If this suites your needs, you should give it a try following the instructions we have presented below:

  • 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 software and its data recovery capabilities

ShadowExplorer is a tool that you can use to recover files from the Volume Shadow Copies if they remain stored on the computer after ransomware attack. To test your options, follow the brief guide below. 

  • 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.

Finally, you should always think about the protection of crypto-ransomwares. In order to protect your computer from CHIP and other ransomwares, use a reputable anti-spyware, such as Reimage, Plumbytes Anti-MalwareWebroot SecureAnywhere AntiVirus or Malwarebytes Anti Malware

About the author

Olivia Morelli
Olivia Morelli - Ransomware analyst

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