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DDE ransomware. How to remove? (Uninstall guide)

removal by Olivia Morelli - - | Type: Ransomware

DDE ransomware – a dangerous virus that adds .encrypted extension to locked files

DDE ransomware
DDE ransomware is a file locking virus that asks to contact hackers via fake email address

DDE ransomware is a newly discovered cryptovirus that enters machines via macro-enabled malicious MS office documents. Researchers believe that the virus comes from Crypt888 ransomware family. DDE virus locks up all personal files using AES encryption algorithm and then appends the .encrypted extension. As soon as malware's payload is distributed, it runs a main executable dde_ransomware.exe. Additionally, the wallpaper is removed and replaced with a red one which contains a ransom note. Victims are urged to contact cybercrooks via no-reply@gmail.com and pay ransom for data release. Hackers also add a twist by stating that decryption is also possible without the personal key.

Summary
Name DDE
Type Ransomware
Main executable dde_ransomware.exe
Related to Crypt888 ransomware
File extension .encrypted
Cipher used AES
Purpose Money extortion
Distribution Macro-enabled MS office files, malicious websites
Detection and elimination Use Reimage or Plumbytes Anti-MalwareMalwarebytes Malwarebytes

DDE ransomware also displays a pop-up window with the name “HACKER” that shows the following text:

Your important files are encrypted.
If you need them, You can find my KEY to decrypt.
GOOD LUCK!

The ransom message is quite baffling, as it is not clear what crooks are talking about. The only way to recover encoded files is by using a unique key which is usually kept on a remote server by criminals. Nevertheless, it seems like DDE ransomware was made as a joke, as the email address “no-reply@gmail.com” does not exist and has nothing to do with Google.

If you found such message on your screen, you are in bad luck, as it seems like the only reliable way to retrieve access to files is by recovering them from a backup. However, before you proceed with data recovery, you should take care of DDE ransomware removal promptly. We suggest using powerful anti-malware software, such as Reimage or Plumbytes Anti-MalwareMalwarebytes Malwarebytes.

DDE ransomware makes a series of changes to the targeted machine. As soon as it enters, it boots an executable file which is run in the background, modifies Windows Registry to retain persistence and downloads malicious apps using Background Intelligent Transfer Service used by Windows. Finally, malware deletes Shadow Volume Copies.

DDE virus then scans the computer and looks for personal files, including:

  • Images
  • Pictures
  • MS Office and OpenOffice documents
  • Video
  • Audio
  • Databases
  • Archives, etc.

As soon as encryption is complete, users lose access to all personal data. The only way to decrypt files is by using backups. Additionally, third-party software may be able to help – please see instructions below.

Security experts recommend you to remove DDE ransomware using reliable anti-malware software. However, you should never attempt to get rid of the virus manually, as you could damage your machine even more.

Pay attention when opening emails from unknown sources – they can hide ransomware inside

Ransomware-type viruses are not a new threat and have been around for over ten years. Unfortunately, it seems like it is not a long enough time for users to learn the very basics of internet security and virtual safety. When asked about cybersecurity, users often do not practice safe browsing and click on various links. 

To avoid ransomware infection, please follow these simple tips:

  • Install anti-malware software and keep it up to date;
  • Always patch the operating system as soon as updates are out;
  • Do not open suspicious emails (most of them land in the Spam folder) or its attachments;
  • Backup all your files and keep it on a remote device such as a USB stick or a cloud account (OneDrive, iCloud, Dropbox, etc.);
  • Do not download cracked software;
  • Set all your software to update itself automatically – it is less likely to click on fake update pop-up;
  • Scan every executable using security software before opening it;
  • Avoid websites of questionable content, such as porn, file-sharing, gambling and other sites.

Eliminate DDE ransomware and then attempt to recover your data

The first step after the infection is to remove DDE ransomware from your computer. In some cases, such a task might require some time. Nevertheless, we suggest never to try to remove DDE ransomware manually, as only IT professionals should attempt such a procedure. Besides, you can damage your computer even more if you start tampering with system files.

Thus, simply download and install anti-malware software. We recommend using Reimage or Plumbytes Anti-MalwareMalwarebytes Malwarebytes for DDE virus elimination. However, you can always pick application you prefer more, just make sure it is legitimate. In case the malware is blocking security software, you should enter Safe Mode with Networking as explained below.

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

If you decided to select another anti-spyware, uninstall Reimage from your computer.
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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 DDE virus, follow these steps:

Remove DDE using Safe Mode with Networking

To disable the virus, enter Safe Mode with Networking the following way:

  • 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 DDE

    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 DDE removal.

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

Remove DDE using System Restore

You can also eliminate DDE ransomware 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 DDE. 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 DDE removal is performed successfully.

Bonus: Recover your data

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

There is not safe way to recover all your data safely, unless you have a backup. Nevertheless, you should check our instructions for alternative methods of file recovery below.

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

Try Data Recovery Pro

Data Recovery Pro is a sophisticated tool which is capable of restoring damaged of accidentally removed 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 DDE ransomware;
  • Restore them.

Windows Previous Versions feature could be the answer

Windows previous versions feature is only useful if you had System Restore activated before the malware struck.

  • 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 may help you

Although it is known that the ransomware attempts to eliminate Shadow Volume Copies, it is also known that the virus might fail to do it. In such case, ShadowExplorer is the best solution.

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

About the author

Olivia Morelli
Olivia Morelli - Ransomware analyst

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