Dot ransomware / virus (Bonus: Decryption Steps) - Free Guide

Dot virus Removal Guide

What is Dot ransomware virus?

What is known about Dot ransomware virus?

In the middle of the February 2017, malware researchers spotted Dot ransomware virus. This brand new ransomware is still under investigation; however, it is already known that it operates like Ransomware-as-a-Service (RasS)[1]. RaaS services gain more and more popularity[2] in the dark web community. It allows wannabe hackers to learn from the experienced malware developers how to develop successful ransomware projects. Meanwhile, developers of the famous file-encrypting viruses generate passive incomes. Talking about Dot virus, it is supposed to behave like an ordinary ransomware. Therefore, it’s purpose is to get inside the computer, encrypt targeted files and demand victim to pay the ransom. Judging from the preliminary information, the virus might also be hiding under the Vanguard ransomware name. However, lack of specific information only allows making assumptions. The name of Dot malware also resembles of .dot virus that has been spotted encrypting a wide range of popular file types with AES encryption key about one year ago.

Dot virus hasn’t started spreading actively; hence, you have time to strengthen your computer’s security and protect your data. The number of ransomware attacks is rapidly growing. As a result, many computer users lose their personal files. Data backups[3] have never been as important as they are now. Sadly, computer users haven’t got used to back upping yet. Nevertheless, cyber criminals always offer to purchase decryption key; victims are advised not to do it. No one can guarantee that hackers provide you active and safe to use software. That’s why we suggest users remove Dot or other ransomware immediately after the attack. Virus elimination won’t rescue encrypted files; however, it prevents from further damage. Affected computers become vulnerable and might be the target of other ransomware and malware. Therefore, you may have to deal with never-ending computer and privacy-related problems. We highly recommend performing Dot removal with FortectIntego.

The image of Dot ransomware virusDot ransomware is another file-encrypting virus that demands paying the ransom.

How can I avoid ransomware?

Specific distribution methods are still unknown. However, it seems that developers of the Dot ransomware might be using malicious emails attachments to spread the malware executable known as Core.exe[4]. Sending obfuscated malware executable via spam emails is still a popular and, sadly, effective way to attack computers. Cyber criminals often use fake MS Word documents that might ask to activate malicious Macro commands or install malware immediately. The infected file might be renamed as invoice, statement or other important documents. People should be especially attentive and careful during the tax season[5] or around holidays. What is more, if you want to avoid Dot malware and other ransomware, you should not visit high-risk websites, such as gaming, gambling or adult-themed. Be aware that both potentially dangerous and legitimate sites might deliver malware-laden ads. Hence, avoid clicking ads that inform about detected viruses on your PC, suggests installing software or updates. Often these ads contain malware. Lastly, we highly recommend strengthening your computer’s security by installing reliable antivirus or anti-malware program.

How to remove Dot ransomware from the device?

Nevertheless, malware researchers do not have lots of information about this brand new cyber threat; there’s no doubt that it’s not supposed to be on your computer. Therefore, you have to remove Dot from the PC. Elimination of the ransomware requires a strong and professional malware removal tools, such as FortectIntego, SpyHunter 5Combo Cleaner or Malwarebytes. Install one of our suggested programs, update it and run a full system scan. However, this procedure might not be as easy as it might look at first. File-encrypting viruses are powerful and might prevent you from installing security tools or scanning the system. In this case, you may need to reboot your computer to the Safe Mode in order to launch automatic Dot removal.

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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 Dot virus. Follow these steps

Manual removal using Safe Mode

If malware prevents you from installing antivirus or anti-malware software, follow these steps to reboot your device to the Safe Mode. Then, try again.

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 Dot using System Restore

If previous method did not work, try 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 Dot. 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 Dot removal is performed successfully.

Bonus: Recover your data

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

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

Restore files encrypted by Dot ransomware virus with Data Recovery Pro

If you do not have data backups, Data Recovery Pro might be the best way to restore at least some of your files. Follow these steps to use this tool:

  • 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 Dot ransomware;
  • Restore them.

Recover files encrypted by Dot ransomware using Windows Previous Versions feature

If you have activated System Restore function before ransomware attack, follow these steps to recover individual files:

  • 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”.

Retrieve files encrypted by Dot virus with ShadowExplorer

It’s still unknown whether Dot ransomware can delete Shadow Volume Copies or not. If it fails to delete them, you can use ShadowExplorer to restore your files.

  • 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.

Finally, you should always think about the protection of crypto-ransomwares. In order to protect your computer from Dot 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
Gabriel E. Hall
Gabriel E. Hall - Passionate web researcher

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