Severity scale:  
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Clop ransomware. How to remove? (Uninstall guide)

removal by Linas Kiguolis - - | Type: Ransomware

Clop ransomware is evasive malware that targets corporate networks instead of regular computer users

Clop ransomware
Clop ransomware is a file locking virus that enters without users noticing encrypts all personal file with AES encryption algorithm

Clop ransomware is a data locker that belongs to CryptoMix virus family and uses various obfuscation techniques to actively avoid detection. For example, the main executable often comes digitally signed with a valid certificate, which allows the virus to bypass detection.[1] It uses AES cipher to encrypt pictures, videos, music, databases documents, and appends .CLOP or .CIOP file extension, which prevents victims from accessing personal data. Hackers behind the threat ask users in ransom note ClopReadMe.txt to contact them via specified email addresses (for example, icarsole@protonmail.com) and pay in Bitcoin for the alleged file decryptor. Clop ransomware authors threaten victims to delete the decryption tool if they fail to reach out cybercriminals within two weeks. As usual, users are not recommended contacting virus developers and instead use alternative file recovery methods. The newest variant of Clop virus shuts down anti-virus software, startup repair feature, and multiple Windows processes in order to perform file encryption without interruption. Additionally, the ransom note is directed towards companies instead of regular users, which means that malware authors are focusing on Big game hunting – a trend that is becoming more prevalent among ransomware developers due to increased profit margins.

Name Clop
Type Ransomware
Family CryptoMix
Cipher AES
Shuts down processes Windows startup repair, shadow volume copies, anti-malware software, MySQL, Microsoft SQL Server, Microsoft Exchange, etc.
Related files clop.exe, tcpsov.exe, swaqp.exe, gmontraff.exe, clearnetworkdns_11-22-33.bat
Extension .Clop, .CIOP
Ransom note ClopReadMe.txt, CIopReadMe.txt
Contact servicedigilogos@protonmail.com, managersmaers@tutanota.com, antnony.blackmer@protonmail.com, icarsole@protonmail.com, bactocepnyou@protonmail.com, unlock@eqaltech.su, unlock@royalmail.su, kensgilbomet@protonmail.com
Decryptable? No
Elimination Use security software like Reimage, Malwarebytes MalwarebytesCombo Cleaner or other security tool that can detect the virus[2]

Interestingly, the Clop virus' name comes from a Russian “klop,” which means “bed bug” – a bug that sucks blood from its victims when they are asleep.

Clop ransomware can be injected with a variety of methods, such as:

  • Spam email attachments or hyperlinks;
  • Unprotected RDP connection;
  • Compromised or hacker-created websites
  • Re-packed installers;
  • Keygens, cracks, and other executables;
  • Exploit kits, etc.

Once inside the system, Clop virus grants itself elevated privileges with the help of a fake certificate issued to the executable and launches the clearnetworkdns_11-22-33.bat file. This allows malware to overwrite and modify system files. It also reads several technical details like computer name or CPU data and sends it off to hackers. Additionally, Clop ransomware creates \Users\CIiHmnxMn6Ps folder where more malicious files are executed.

Clop ransomware then scans the device for files to encrypt. It targets most commonly used files, such as .jpg, .mp3, .doc, .mkv, and many others. After encryption, a file like picture.jpg is turned into picture.jpg.Clop, and becomes inaccessible.

Note that data is not corrupted; it is merely locked by a key that only hackers have access to. However, encryption can sometimes be bypassed when using third-party software. Nevertheless, you need to remove Clop ransomware before attempting file recovery, or otherwise, they will get encrypted repeatedly.

One of the ClopReadMe.txt ransom notes states:

*_*Your network has been penetrated*_*
All files on each host in the network have been encrypted with a strong algorithm!
Backups were either encrypted or deleted or backup disks were formatted!
Shadow copies also removed, so F8 or any other methods may damage encrypted data but not recover!
We exclusively have decryption software for your situation!
===No DECRYPTION software is AVAILABLE in the PUBLIC===
– DO NOT DELETE readme files.
– DO NOT RENAME OR MOVE the encrypted or readme files.
– DO NOT RESET OR SHUTDOWN – files may be damaged.
—THIS MAY LEAD TO THE IMPOSSIBILITY OF RECOVERY OF THE CERTAIN FILES—
—A:: REPAIR TOOLS ARE USELESS AND CAN DESTROY YOUR FILES IRREVERSIBLY—
<…>

Despite warnings from malware authors, you should proceed with Clop ransomware removal. Do not try to accomplish that yourself – the virus modified multiple system files and finding and deleting them manually is almost impossible. Thus, use anti-malware software that can recognize the threat. We recommend installing Reimage or Malwarebytes MalwarebytesCombo Cleaner.

Clop virus
Clop virus authors actively try to discourage users from using alternative file recovery methods. Be aware that it is in their best interest to make victims believe that no other recovery method is possible

Ransomware avoidance technique is simple – be attentive online

Malicious actors usually are intelligent people, that is why they are continually developing their scripts, obfuscating them better and employing sophisticated techniques to spread the virus. However, most of the users who adopt basic security measures can avoid most of the cyber infections, industry experts[3] point out.

The primary security measures against ransomware include the installation of security software. There are plenty on the market to choose from, but be sure not to download rogue anti-spyware – tools that flag thousands of fraudulent issues and then demand payment for its full version. These tools will not only fail to protect you but might also infect your device with adware or other PUPs. Thus, make sure you pick reputable AV engines.

Other things you should do include:

  • Prepare backups of your files as required;
  • Avoid visiting high-risk sites;
  • Update your system and programs as soon as security patches come out;
  • Do not casually open spam email attachments or click on links;
  • Use ad-blocker;
  • Do not download cracks, keygens, and similar hacking tools;
  • Enable Firewall;
  • Do not click on the content on sites you get randomly redirected to;
  • Disable Adobe Flash or only download its updates from the official website.[4] 

Terminate Clop ransomware with the help of anti-malware software

To remove Clop virus, you will have to employ anti-malware software that can detect the payload. Be aware that the threat might use some obfuscation techniques (it is known that the threat delays some of its processes by up to five minutes).[5] In such a case, enter Safe Mode with Networking as explained below and perform full system scan using Reimage, Malwarebytes MalwarebytesCombo Cleaner, or another trusted security application.

Once you are done with Clop ransomware removal, you can attempt to recover your data. Unfortunately, there is no known method that would work 100%, apart from if you retrieve your files from backups. If you did not have any prepared, you should rely on third-party software that does not decipher records, but instead extracts the working versions from the computer. Additionally, some malware, while programmed to delete Windows backups, fails to remove Shadow Volume copies, giving an excellent opportunity to reclaim all the data.

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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 Clop virus, follow these steps:

Remove Clop using Safe Mode with Networking

In case the Clop file virus interferes with proper operation of security software, enter Safe Mode with Networking as explained below:

  • 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 Clop

    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 Clop removal.

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

Remove Clop using System Restore

System Restore is another option available for Clop ransomware removal:

  • 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 Clop. 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 Clop removal is performed successfully.

Bonus: Recover your data

Guide which is presented above is supposed to help you remove Clop from your computer. To recover your encrypted files, we recommend using a detailed guide prepared by 2-spyware.com security experts.

Even if you are desperate to recover your files, you should understand that the possibility of losing your money is quite high. Hackers do not need to send you anything – as soon as they get your money, they might never contact you. Thus, rather make use of alternative methods that we describe below.

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

Data Recovery Pro is a professional tool that might be able to help you

Data Recovery Pro is an application designed to recover corrupted or accidentally deleted files. However, it might be able to help users whose data was encrypted by ransomware.

  • 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 Clop ransomware;
  • Restore them.

Make use of Windows Previous Versions feature

This option can only function if you enabled System Restore before the infection. Additionally, you can only recover files one-by-one, so recovery of a large amount of data might be impossible.

  • 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”.

Take advantage of ShadowExplorer to recover files

As we already mentioned, some ransomware viruses fail to remove Shadow Volume Copies. In such a case, ShadowExplorer will be able to help you:

  • 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 Clop and other ransomwares, use a reputable anti-spyware, such as Reimage, Malwarebytes MalwarebytesCombo Cleaner or Plumbytes Anti-MalwareMalwarebytes Malwarebytes

About the author

Linas Kiguolis
Linas Kiguolis - Expert in social media

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