Remove CHIP ransomware / virus (Dec 2016 update) - Decryption Methods Included

removal by Olivia Morelli - -   Also known as .DALE file extension virus | Type: Ransomware

CHIP virus Removal Guide

What is CHIP ransomware virus?

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 virus damage using Reimage Intego, submit a question to our support team and provide as much details as possible.
Reimage Intego has a free limited scanner. Reimage Intego offers more through scan when you purchase its full version. When free scanner detects issues, you can fix them using free manual repairs or you can decide to purchase the full version in order to fix them automatically.
Alternative Software
Different software has a different purpose. If you didn’t succeed in fixing corrupted files with Reimage, try running SpyHunter 5.
Alternative Software
Different software has a different purpose. If you didn’t succeed in fixing corrupted files with Intego, try running Combo Cleaner.

Getting rid of CHIP virus. Follow these steps

Manual removal using Safe Mode

Important! →
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
  1. Click Start > Shutdown > Restart > OK.
  2. 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.
  3. Select Safe Mode with Networking from the list. Windows 7/XP
Windows 10 / Windows 8
  1. Right-click on Start button and select Settings.
    Settings
  2. Scroll down to pick Update & Security.
    Update and security
  3. On the left side of the window, pick Recovery.
  4. Now scroll down to find Advanced Startup section.
  5. Click Restart now.
    Reboot
  6. Select Troubleshoot. Choose an option
  7. Go to Advanced options. Advanced options
  8. Select Startup Settings. Startup settings
  9. Press Restart.
  10. Now press 5 or click 5) Enable Safe Mode with Networking. Enable safe mode

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:

  1. Press Ctrl + Shift + Esc on your keyboard to open Windows Task Manager.
  2. Click on More details.
    Open task manager
  3. Scroll down to Background processes section, and look for anything suspicious.
  4. Right-click and select Open file location.
    Open file location
  5. Go back to the process, right-click and pick End Task.
    End task
  6. Delete the contents of the malicious folder.

Step 3. Check program Startup

  1. Press Ctrl + Shift + Esc on your keyboard to open Windows Task Manager.
  2. Go to Startup tab.
  3. Right-click on the suspicious program and pick Disable.
    Startup

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:

  1. Type in Disk Cleanup in Windows search and press Enter.
    Disk cleanup
  2. 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).
  3. Scroll through the Files to delete list and select the following:

    Temporary Internet Files
    Downloads
    Recycle Bin
    Temporary files

  4. Pick Clean up system files.
    Delete temp files
  5. You can also look for other malicious files hidden in the following folders (type these entries in Windows Search and press Enter):

    %AppData%
    %LocalAppData%
    %ProgramData%
    %WinDir%

After you are finished, reboot the PC in normal mode.

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 ReimageIntego 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:

  • 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 CHIP ransomware;
  • Restore them.

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 ReimageIntego, SpyHunter 5Combo Cleaner or Malwarebytes

How to prevent from getting ransomware

Protect your privacy – employ a VPN

There are several ways how to make your online time more private – you can access an incognito tab. However, there is no secret that even in this mode, you are tracked for advertising purposes. There is a way to add an extra layer of protection and create a completely anonymous web browsing practice with the help of Private Internet Access VPN. This software reroutes traffic through different servers, thus leaving your IP address and geolocation in disguise. Besides, it is based on a strict no-log policy, meaning that no data will be recorded, leaked, and available for both first and third parties. The combination of a secure web browser and Private Internet Access VPN will let you browse the Internet without a feeling of being spied or targeted by criminals. 

No backups? No problem. Use a data recovery tool

If you wonder how data loss can occur, you should not look any further for answers – human errors, malware attacks, hardware failures, power cuts, natural disasters, or even simple negligence. In some cases, lost files are extremely important, and many straight out panic when such an unfortunate course of events happen. Due to this, you should always ensure that you prepare proper data backups on a regular basis.

If you were caught by surprise and did not have any backups to restore your files from, not everything is lost. Data Recovery Pro is one of the leading file recovery solutions you can find on the market – it is likely to restore even lost emails or data located on an external device.

About the author
Olivia Morelli
Olivia Morelli - Ransomware analyst

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