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CryptoWall virus. How to remove? (Uninstall guide)

removal by Gabriel E. Hall - -   Also known as Cryptowall | Type: Ransomware
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CryptoWall ransomware is among the most persistent viruses out there

CryptoWall virus occupies a significant position [1] in the crypto-malware market. During its rampage on the Internet, it has earned more than $325 billion dollars worldwide [2]. It managed to so by employing elaborate file encrypting techniques which help it lock multiple files with different extensions at the same time. After the encryption process is complete, the threat presents the ransom message with the instructions to recover the files. If you also fell into the trap of this file-encrypting malware, concentrate on CryptoWal removal. It seems that this virus belongs to the same group of crooks who might be accused of CryptoDefense, Cryptolocker, BitCrypt, Critroni, and Cryptorbit, ownership. If you are a Windows user, you should be especially careful because CryptoWall virus is capable of infecting all Windows versions, including Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7, and Windows 10. Right after it infects the system, it, it encrypts predetermined files and blocks the user so that he/she wouldn’t be capable of accessing them. According to PC experts, the RSA 2048 encryption is used for that. To restore these files, you will be asked to transfer $500 using digital currency – Bitcoins. You might wonder why the developers of this ransomware are not caught already. One of the reasons is Tor network which guarantees the anonymity of the sender and the recipient [3]. Nonetheless, we do not recommend paying the money. Instead, remove CryptoWal as soon as possible.

The original version has been already granted several “offsprings” – 2.0, 3.0 or 4.0. CryptoWall 2.0 was updated at the end of 2014. It is capable of generating unique payment addresses for each of the victims. What is more, it has authentic gateways to TOR and uses the secure deletion method that doesn’t allow to use recovery tools while trying to decrypt important files. Cryptowall 3.0 was released in January, 2015. It seems that it is capable of encrypting new file names (HTML, PNG, TXT, URL), Soon afterward, Cryptowall 4.0 was released spring 2016.

It is unwise paying the money as there are few guarantees that you will retrieve the files. It’s just a malicious method used for earning illegal money. If you have just discovered that your computer was infected by Cryptowall, you should run a full system scan with Reimage ASAP. Please, make sure you use the updated version, which will help you to remove all malicious files that belong to this ransomware.

UPDATE: New Cryptowall versions appear

Cryptowall 2.0. This ransomware is almost identical to Cryptowall: it encrypts files, warns the victim about their encryption and then asks to pay a ransom. However, it seems that hackers decided to update it a little bit. First of all, this threat uses the RSA-2048 encryption algorithm to encrypt the files. Also, it seeks to make it victim pay either $500 USD, 500 EUR or 1.22 Bitcoin. To collect this money, virus generates a unique Bitcoin payment addresses for each of affected PC users. What is important is that this Cryptowall variant uses its own TOR gateways, for example, tor4pay.com,pay4tor.com, and pay2tor.com. This virus also differs from the first Cryptowall version because when it encrypts files, it deletes the original versions of user’s records.

Cryptowall 3.0. Just like Cryptowall and Cryptowall 2.0, this threat is used for collecting ransoms. This version spreads with the help of exploit kits, what means that it can get into the system easier than its previous examples. Once it infiltrates the computer, it encrypts needed files with the help of the same RSA-2048 algorithm and starts asking the money. The ransom note of this virus claims that the victim has to pay a ransom of 1.22 Bitcoins or $500 within seven days. What is more, the third version of Cryptowall adds a .aaa extension to the filenames of encrypted data.

Cryptowall 4.0. Also known as HELP_YOUR_FILES ransomware, this virus is considered to be the latest example of Cryptowall. This version of ransomware is filled with several features that haven’t been seen previously. One of them is the ability to encrypt those files that have already been encrypted by the user. Also, it can disable you from using a System Restore and, just like each of previous variants, can also delete all Shadow Volume Copies [4]. However, now this updated version asks to pay $700 in exchange for the decryption key.

Cryptowall 5.1 uses the same encryption technology as previous versions. Specifically, files encrypted with AES-256 pose a bigger challenge for IT experts. Furthermore, the ransom note is presented in the Italian language so users residing in this region are suspected to be the primary target. It also sets 48-hour limit to transfer the files. The authors of this malware present the mail address – cryptowall51@sigaint.org – for public communication. Another peculiarity of this threat is .locked appended file extension. Even if this cyber menace has assaulted your device as well, do not nurture big expectations that hackers will transfer the files even if you remit the payment.

one variant of Cryptowall notification

UPDATE 2: Smrss32 virus presents itself as CryptoWall

Envying the success of CryptoWall ransomware, many hackers attempt to generate as powerful file-encrypting malware as this one. Newly detected Smrss32 ransomware tries to deceive users into thinking that it is another version of this menacing cyber threat. However, such deception was quickly brought into the daylight by Michael Gillespie, a ransomware researcher. Though it managed to encode more than 6 000 file types and wheedle out money from several victims, it has significant flaws [5]. Therefore, IT experts are working on the decryption tool. Since the threat pretends to be a version of CryptoWall, it attaches .encrypted to the affected files. The ransomware is known to be using AES encryption method. If you have been attacked by this virus as well, make sure to remove it first before attempting file recovery.

It seems that this year was not successful for the cyber criminals of this threat regarding revenue. Specialists estimate that the latest version – CryptoWall 4.0 managed to collect only $18 billion dollars in comparison with other versions of the cyber infection. Moreover, the number of sent malicious emails with the ransomware dropped significantly as well — 7.2 million in contrast to 36,114. At first glance, such decrease might only suggest the withdrawal of the virus from the ransomware market. However, it was only a diversion. On July 27, 2016, the medical center in New Jersey reported that their database was hacked and more than 20 000 records of patients names, addresses, and credit card numbers and other confidential information was encrypted. 

Cryptowall

When does the crypto-malware occupy PCs?

This malicious intruder may enter your computer as a legitimate update for well-known programs (Java, Flash Player, Adobe Reader, etc.) that might be offered to you when visiting unsafe and corrupted websites. However, in most of the cases, CryptoWall ransomware travels around bundled with corrupted spam letters. You can download it after opening an infected email attachment that presents itself as a bill of your purchase or similar thing. If CryptoWall infects the system, it leaves DECRYPT_INSTRUCTION.txt, DECRYPT_INSTRUCTION.html, and DECRYPT_INSTRUCTION.url in every single folder that it encrypts. Also, this ransomware starts showing such alert:

Decrypt service
Your files are encrypted.
To get the key to decrypt files you have to pay 500 USD/EUR. If payments is not made before [date] the cost of decrypting files will increase 2 times and will be 1000 USD/EUR Prior to increasing the amount left: [count down timer]
We are present a special software – CryptoWall Decrypter – which is allow to decrypt and return control to all your encrypted files. How to buy CryptoWall decrypter?
1.You should register Bitcoin waller
2. Purchasing Bitcoins – Although it’s not yet easy to buy bit coins, it’s getting simpler every day.
3. Send 1.22 BTC to Bitcoin address: 1BhLzCZGY6dwQYgX4B6NR5sjDebBPNapvv
4. Enter the Transaction ID and select amount.
5. Please check the payment information and click “PAY”.

Means of CryptoWall removal

Unfortunately, if this ransomware infects the system, you won’t find Cryptowall decrypter, which could help you with the encryption of your files and the removal of this ransomware. In fact, you may run into serious issues when trying to recover your files because it uses various technologies for making them unusable. The first thing that you need to do to fix your computer is to remove every malicious file that belongs to this cyber threat. For that, we created a detailed removal guide, which is given below. Note that you have to be very attentive when following each of these steps and perform them in exact order.

Finally, we must add that we highly recommend you to think about the prevention of such infections as Cryptowall malware. For that you can use one of these programs that can also help you in avoiding ransomware threats and other cyber infections: Reimage, Plumbytes Anti-MalwareWebroot SecureAnywhere AntiVirus, Malwarebytes Anti Malware. Besides, don’t forget to think about the immunity of your files and make backups as frequently as possible. Also, you can use USB external hard drives, CDs, DVDs, or simply rely on Google Drive, Dropbox, Flickr and other solutions to keep extra copies of your files.

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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 CryptoWall 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.

Note: Manual assistance required means that one or all of removers were unable to remove parasite without some manual intervention, please read manual removal instructions below.

More information about this program can be found in Reimage review.

More information about this program can be found in Reimage review.
CryptoWall virus snapshot
Cryptowall 2.0Cryptowall decrypt pageCryptowall 3.0Cryptowall 4.0

CryptoWall virus manual removal:

Kill processes:
[random].exe

Delete files:
[random].exe

Manual CryptoWall virus Removal Guide:

Remove CryptoWall using Safe Mode with Networking

Reimage is a tool to detect malware.
You need to purchase Full version to remove infections.
More information about Reimage.

CryptoWall is undoubtedly one of the malicious and most active ransomware out there. It may justify this title by blocking you the access to your antivirus software or trying to prevent you from its removal in some other ways. When in such situation, do not panic ant follow the instructions 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 CryptoWall

    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 CryptoWall removal.

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

Remove CryptoWall using System Restore

Reimage is a tool to detect malware.
You need to purchase Full version to remove infections.
More information about Reimage.

Our experts have prepared the guide below to help you decontaminate the Cryptowall virus and carry out its removal smoothly. Scroll below to learn about its 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 CryptoWall. 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 CryptoWall removal is performed successfully.

Bonus: Recover your data

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

The effectiveness of Data Recovery Pro

There have been released decryption software for the original version of CryptoWall, but as new versions of the malware have emerged, the decrypter might not work. However, virus researchers are still working on it. Thus, you might try using Data Recovery software to retrieve some of your files.

Applying Windows Previous Versions feature for the recovery of files encrypted by CryptoWall

If you are infected with a version of CryptoWall on which our provided decrypter does not work, you may try the recovery using Windows Previous Versions feature. We explain how to use this tool here:

  • 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 as a solution to file recovery:

As we have mentioned, you can use free tool to unlock files encrypted by CryptoWall. Nevertheless, some of the virus versions may be resistant to this decryption method, thus, software like Shadow Explorer may come in handy. Try this technique out following steps 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.

CryptoWall Decrypter

Using this free decryption tool might give you a chance to recover the files.

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

About the author

Gabriel E. Hall
Gabriel E. Hall - Passionate web researcher

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References

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  • Jason

    Even if I use those, how do I get the music and other files back?

    • JR

      Download a program called Shadow Explorer. It will locate shadow copies of your files and allow you to restore them…if your lucky. I just had success with this resolution; good luck!

      • GK

        Only works if system restore is enabled and you are using Win7 or newer.

  • Doc

    I am using Malwarebytes and its not removing the Crypto virus. It tries, but the virus just shows right back up. Any ideas on what else I can do? I have gone through and looked at some stuff manually but am unable to determine what may be “re-installing” it.

  • RV

    My M/S OneDrive has been infected so all my backupped data! How can M/S not have an Anti Virus software??

  • pof

    Solutions gentleman….not words…..

  • Carl

    Instalei, o programa achou o virus e pediu para compra o programa!The program only works if you buy it.

  • mulki

    please help me….i had re install C drive with new Win 7 OS….but all my files on D and E drives are still encrypted!!….please anyone…help me…!!!!

  • sw

    I have scaned with SpyHunter but cannot get the registration screen to show up.

  • Dan

    Araykha, I would very much appreciate it if you could help me. I will be sending you one of my files. My only question is, how would you go about trying to decrypt them? Even if you have/got the decryption key, where do I enter it? I got the virus in 11/2014 (cryptowall rsa-2048) and all the websites listed on it have been removed. Thank you very much for your time.

  • Michael Stevens

    Cryptowall is horrible. The cheapest way I could find to get my files back was at cryptowallremoval.com I got the decrypter and fixed my computer. Then I backed up everything.

  • Michael Stevens

    Cryptowall is horrible. The cheapest way I could find to get my files back was at cryptowallremoval.com I got the decrypter and fixed my computer. Then I backed up everything.