DDE ransomware (Removal Guide) - Free Instructions

DDE virus Removal Guide

What is DDE ransomware?

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

DDE ransomwareDDE 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.

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 FortectIntego or 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.

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 FortectIntego or 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.

DDE virusDDE is a ransomware-type virus that uses complicated encryption algorithm to lock up files and demands ransom

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 FortectIntego or 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.

do it now!
Fortect Happiness
Intego Happiness
Compatible with Microsoft Windows Compatible with macOS
What to do if failed?
If you failed to fix virus damage using Fortect Intego, submit a question to our support team and provide as much details as possible.
Fortect Intego has a free limited scanner. Fortect 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 Fortect, 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 DDE virus. Follow these steps

Manual removal using Safe Mode

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

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.
  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.
  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.

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
    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):


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

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 FortectIntego 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 FortectIntego, SpyHunter 5Combo Cleaner or Malwarebytes

How to prevent from getting ransomware

Access your website securely from any location

When you work on the domain, site, blog, or different project that requires constant management, content creation, or coding, you may need to connect to the server and content management service more often. The best solution for creating a tighter network could be a dedicated/fixed IP address.

If you make your IP address static and set to your device, you can connect to the CMS from any location and do not create any additional issues for the server or network manager that needs to monitor connections and activities. VPN software providers like Private Internet Access can help you with such settings and offer the option to control the online reputation and manage projects easily from any part of the world.


Recover files after data-affecting malware attacks

While much of the data can be accidentally deleted due to various reasons, malware is one of the main culprits that can cause loss of pictures, documents, videos, and other important files. More serious malware infections lead to significant data loss when your documents, system files, and images get encrypted. In particular, ransomware is is a type of malware that focuses on such functions, so your files become useless without an ability to access them.

Even though there is little to no possibility to recover after file-locking threats, some applications have features for data recovery in the system. In some cases, Data Recovery Pro can also help to recover at least some portion of your data after data-locking virus infection or general cyber infection. 


About the author
Olivia Morelli
Olivia Morelli - Ransomware analyst

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