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CryptoFortress virus. How to remove? (Uninstall guide)

removal by Jake Doevan - -   Also known as CryptoFortress | Type: Ransomware

Understanding CryptoFortress ransomware virus

CryptoFortress virus [1] is a file-encrypting malware that has been attacking computers and encoding users' personal files since the March 2015. Researchers have revealed that malware is an updated version of TorrentLocker ransomware [2] because it uses the source code for the ransom notes and other web pages from Torrent Locker. It has also been called as a “new generation” ransomware [3] as it can block unmapped network shares as well. Cyber criminals distribute malware via malicious spam emails and infected links, and when the victim clicks on it, malware steps into the system and starts looking for targeted file types (.unity3d, .blob, .wma, .avi, .rar, .DayZProfile, .doc, .odb, .asset, .forge, .cas, .map, .mcgame, .rgss3a, .big, .wotreplay, .xxx, .m3u, .png, .jpeg, .txt, .crt, .x3f, .ai, .eps, .pdf, .lvl, .sis, .gdb). CryptoFortress ransomware uses AES encryption algorithm and appends either .frtrss or .ecc extension to each encoded picture, document, audio or video files. When data encryption is completed, malware delivers a warning message to the victims:

All your important files (such as files on the network disks, USB devices, etc.): photos, videos, documents were encrypted with CryptoFortress virus. The only way to get your files back is to buy our decryption software. Otherwise, your files will be lost.

Caution: Removing of CryptoFortress will not restore access to your encrypted files.

However, you should not let crooks scare you and blackmail you. On the one hand, they tell the truth – CryptoFortress removal will not recover your files. On the other hand, hackers are lying to you about the recovery pf your files because there are other ways to get back access to the lost data. However, in the ransom message hackers included links that lead to the official website and urge to send a certain amount to a particular address and then to transmit a transaction ID to validate the payment. The developers of CryptoFortress have been demanding 1 Bitcoin (about $300), but before transferring the ransom, victims can decrypt two files that are up to the size of 500 Kb for free. Of course, you can panic and fall for paying the ransom. However, don't be surprised after you lose not only the data from your PC but also money from the bank account. To prevent this from happening, make sure that you remove CryptoFortress virus from the system as soon as possible using Reimage or Malwarebytes. Then you can try to restore your files from backups or use additional data recovery methods.

How can this ransomware step in my PC?

CryptoFortress malware can enter your PC system similarly to other ransomware [4], such as TeslaCrypt, CryptoDefense, SynoLocker, and many others. Usually, the virus spreads via spam emails, fake update alerts, infected links and similar means. By the way, P2P networks may also be involved in the distribution of this virus. To protect your computer from being infected, we highly recommend you to install a reputable anti-spyware and keep it up-to-date. Besides, you should stay away from suspicious email attachments and links. Before opening them, you have to double check the sender and information which is added to the message. You should always look for typo or grammar mistakes to protect yourself from malicious emails. [5] Finally, make sure you keep your important data in the safe place, e.g. external hard drives and USB sticks.

CryptoFortress removal guidelines

Ransomware viruses are one of the most dangerous and complicated computer infections, so their removal is not easy as well. For CryptoFortress removal you have to employ professional anti-malware program, for instance, Reimage or Malwarebytes. However, if malware does not allow you to install or update security tools, you should reboot your computer with a Safe Mode with Networking and follow the steps presented at the end of the article. Unfortunately, it’s not enough to remove CryptoFortress virus from the PC to get back access to your files. For that, you will need other tools or data backups. Data recovery options are provided below. In the future, you should think about the immunity of your personal data in advance. We highly recommend you to use USB external hard drives, CDs, DVDs, or simply rely on online backups, such as Google Drive, Dropbox, Flickr and other solutions.

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To remove CryptoFortress virus, follow these steps:

Remove CryptoFortress 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 CryptoFortress

    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 CryptoFortress removal.

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

Remove CryptoFortress 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 CryptoFortress. 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 CryptoFortress removal is performed successfully.

Bonus: Recover your data

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

Before thinking about data recovery, you have to remove CryptoFortress virus from the computer. Otherwise, ransomware can encrypt your files one more time. When your computer is clean from viruses, you can plug in external device where you keep data backups and copy them. If you do not have data backups, you can try additional data recovery options presented below. Keep in mind that these solutions may not recover all your files; however, some of the importannt ones should be decrypted.

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

Restore your files with Data Recovery Pro

Data Recovery Pro is a professional tool that allows automatically restore accidentally deleted or encrypted files. Many computer users, who had dealt with data recovery after ransomware attack, claimed that this tool helped them to restore the majority of the corrupted 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 CryptoFortress ransomware;
  • Restore them.

Take advantage of Windows Previous Versions feature

This method allows traveling back in time and getting back the latest saved version of the encrypted files. However, you should know that this method cannot restore all files encrypted by CryptoFortress ransomware. It allows restoring only individual files. Besides, this method will work only if you have enabled System Restore function before ransomware attack.

  • 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”.

Data recovery with ShadowExplorer

If CryptoFortress virus failed to delete Shadow Volume Copies, you could call yourself lucky. You can use ShadowExplorer and restore your files following these steps:

  • 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.

About the author

Jake Doevan
Jake Doevan - Computer technology expert

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