Edw ransomware (virus) - Recovery Instructions Included

Edw virus Removal Guide

What is Edw ransomware?

Edw ransomware can permanently damage users' personal files by encrypting them

Edw ransomwareEdw ransomware developers hold users' personal files hostage to get paid

Edw ransomware is a file locker malware that prevents users from opening pictures, videos, music, documents, and other personal files. It belongs to the Dharma ransomware family. The affected files are marked with a .edw extension. It is usually during this period that victims notice the infection. The file names look something like this – picture.jpg.victimID.[email].edw, and the icons turn to white pages.

Shortly after the encryption[1] process is done, the malware generates a pop-up window and a text file named “FILES ENCRYPTED.txt”. In these ransom notes, hackers reveal to victims what happened to their files and ask for payment to receive a decryption key.

NAME Edw
TYPE Ransomware, cryptovirus, data locking malware
MALWARE FAMILY Dharma ransomware
DISTRIBUTION Email attachments, peer-to-peer file sharing platforms, malicious ads
FILE EXTENSION .edw
RANSOM NOTE A pop-up window, FILES ENCRYPTED.txt
FILE RECIVERY It is almost impossible to recover the files if you do not have backups
MALWARE REMOVAL Scan your machine with anti-malware software to eliminate all the malicious files (this will not recover your files)
SYSTEM FIX Windows reinstallation can be avoided with ReimageIntego maintenance tool, which can fix damaged files

The ransom note

Edw ransom noteEdw ransomware developers provide their contact information in a pop-up window

The full message from the Edw ransom pop-up window:

YOUR FILES ARE ENCRYPTED
Don't worry,you can return all your files!
If you want to restore them, follow this link:email edward22w@aol.com YOUR ID –
If you have not been answered via the link within 12 hours, write to us by e-mail:edward22w@tutanota.com
Attention!
Do not rename encrypted files.
Do not try to decrypt your data using third party software, it may cause permanent data loss.
Decryption of your files with the help of third parties may cause increased price (they add their fee to our) or you can become a victim of a scam.

Threat actors use scare tactics to pressure victims into contacting them. The payment method for file recovery is not specified in the note but in almost all cases, cyber criminals ask to be paid in cryptocurrencies.[2] They choose this method because it provides anonymity.

However, we do not recommend paying the ransom because victims often do not receive anything back from ransomware developers after the payment is sent. Once you make a cryptocurrency transaction, you cannot reverse it, so you will most likely be left without your money and data. By paying the money, you will also support the malicious activity, which leads to more malware attacks on innocent users.

Distribution methods

The best way to avoid ransomware attacks in the future is to learn how they are spread. Cybercriminals use email attachments, fake software updates, unofficial sites that distribute “cracked” programs,[3] and peer-to-peer file-sharing platforms to spread malicious code.[4] Opening .exe files can be the launch of a virus that brings down your computer and the entire network.

You should always be careful when downloading email attachments. Do not download attachments from senders you do not recognize, although sometimes malicious programs can infiltrate emails and send them from your friend's list. So regardless of who sent the email, always make sure to check if it is safe to download.

Fake software updates are also commonly used to infect computers by installing malware instead of updates. Never update your software through your browser. If a page pops up saying you need to update, go to the software's official page or open the program itself and check. Never download anything from a random pop-up.

It is prevalent for cracking tools to contain malware or have malicious code injected into them. As this activity is illegal, they are distributed on third-party sites that are not regulated. Another thing to note is the importance of keeping your operating system and software updated. Software developers regularly release security patches that should be installed if you want to prevent hackers from exploiting software vulnerabilities.

How to eliminate ransomware?

If you try to recover your data first, it can result in permanent loss. It can also encrypt your files the second time. It will not stop until you remove the malicious files causing it first. You should not attempt removing the malicious program yourself. Use anti-malware tools like SpyHunter 5Combo Cleaner or Malwarebytes to scan your system.

This security software should find all the related files and entries and remove them automatically for you. Automatic removal is the best option because there is less risk of leaving some of the traces behind. Malware could prevent you from using antivirus software by turning it off. In that case, you should proceed with accessing Safe Mode first:

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 XP/7

Windows 10 / Windows 8

  1. Right-click on Start button and select Settings.
  2. Scroll down to pick Update & Security.Update & Security
  3. On the left side of the window, pick Recovery.
  4. Now scroll down to find Advanced Startup section.
  5. Click Restart now.Recovery
  6. Select Troubleshoot.Choose an option
  7. Go to Advanced options.Advanced options
  8. Select Startup Settings.Startup settings
  9. Click Restart.
  10. Press 5 or click 5) Enable Safe Mode with Networking.Press F5 to enable Safe Mode with Networking

File recovery using third-party software

Only hackers hold the decryption key, which can unlock your files, so if you did not back them up previously, you possibly lost your files forever. You can try using data recovery software, but third-party programs cannot always decrypt the files. We suggest at least trying this method. Before proceeding, you have to copy the corrupted files and place them in a USB flash drive or another storage. And remember – only do this if you have already removed Edw ransomware.

  1. Download Data Recovery Pro.
  2. Double-click the installer to launch it.
    Edw ransomware
  3. Follow on-screen instructions to install the software.Install program
  4. As soon as you press Finish, you can use the app.
  5. Select Everything or pick individual folders where you want the files to be recovered from.Select what to recover
  6. Press Next.
  7. At the bottom, enable Deep scan and pick which Disks you want to be scanned.Select Deep scan
  8. Press Scan and wait till it is complete.Scan
  9. You can now pick which folders/files to recover – don't forget you also have the option to search by the file name!
  10. Press Recover to retrieve your files.Recover files

Fix system damage

Performance, stability, and usability issues, to the point where a full Windows reinstall is required, are expected after malware infection. These types of infections can alter the Windows registry database, damage vital bootup and other sections, delete or corrupt DLL files, etc. Once a system file is damaged by malware, antivirus software is not able to repair it.

This is why ReimageIntego was developed. It can fix a lot of the damage caused by an infection like this. Blue Screen errors,[5] freezes, registry errors, damaged DLLs, etc., can make your computer completely unusable. By using this maintenance tool, you could avoid Windows reinstallation.

  • Download the application by clicking on the link above
  • Click on the ReimageRepair.exe
    Reimage download
  • If User Account Control (UAC) shows up, select Yes
  • Press Install and wait till the program finishes the installation processReimage installation
  • The analysis of your machine will begin immediatelyReimage scan
  • Once complete, check the results – they will be listed in the Summary
  • You can now click on each of the issues and fix them manually
  • If you see many problems that you find difficult to fix, we recommend you purchase the license and fix them automatically.Reimage results

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

Isolate the infected computer

Some ransomware strains aim to infect not only one computer but hijack the entire network. As soon as one of the machines is infected, malware can spread via network and encrypt files everywhere else, including Network Attached Storage (NAS) devices. If your computer is connected to a network, it is important to isolate it to prevent re-infection after ransomware removal is complete.

The easiest way to disconnect a PC from everything is simply to plug out the ethernet cable. However, in the corporate environment, this might be extremely difficult to do (also would take a long time). The method below will disconnect from all the networks, including local and the internet, isolating each of the machines involved.

  • Type in Control Panel in Windows search and press Enter
  • Go to Network and Internet Network and internet
  • Click Network and Sharing Center Network and internet 2
  • On the left, pick Change adapter settings Network and internet 3
  • Right-click on your connection (for example, Ethernet), and select Disable Network and internet 4
  • Confirm with Yes.

If you are using some type of cloud storage you are connected to, you should disconnect from it immediately. It is also advisable to disconnect all the external devices, such as USB flash sticks, external HDDs, etc. Once the malware elimination process is finished, you can connect your computers to the network and internet, as explained above, but by pressing Enable instead.

Report the incident to your local authorities

Ransomware is a huge business that is highly illegal, and authorities are very involved in catching malware operators. To have increased chances of identifying the culprits, the agencies need information. Therefore, by reporting the crime, you could help with stopping the cybercriminal activities and catching the threat actors. Make sure you include all the possible details, including how did you notice the attack, when it happened, etc. Additionally, providing documents such as ransom notes, examples of encrypted files, or malware executables would also be beneficial.

Law enforcement agencies typically deal with online fraud and cybercrime, although it depends on where you live. Here is the list of local authority groups that handle incidents like ransomware attacks, sorted by country:

Internet Crime Complaint Center IC3

If your country is not listed above, you should contact the local police department or communications center.

How to prevent from getting ransomware

Stream videos without limitations, no matter where you are

There are multiple parties that could find out almost anything about you by checking your online activity. While this is highly unlikely, advertisers and tech companies are constantly tracking you online. The first step to privacy should be a secure browser that focuses on tracker reduction to a minimum.

Even if you employ a secure browser, you will not be able to access websites that are restricted due to local government laws or other reasons. In other words, you may not be able to stream Disney+ or US-based Netflix in some countries. To bypass these restrictions, you can employ a powerful Private Internet Access VPN, which provides dedicated servers for torrenting and streaming, not slowing you down in the process.

Data backups are important – recover your lost files

Ransomware is one of the biggest threats to personal data. Once it is executed on a machine, it launches a sophisticated encryption algorithm that locks all your files, although it does not destroy them. The most common misconception is that anti-malware software can return files to their previous states. This is not true, however, and data remains locked after the malicious payload is deleted.

While regular data backups are the only secure method to recover your files after a ransomware attack, tools such as Data Recovery Pro can also be effective and restore at least some of your lost data.

About the author
Jake Doevan
Jake Doevan - Computer technology expert

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