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

EMPTY virus Removal Guide

What is EMPTY ransomware virus?

EMPTY ransomware seeks to render your files useless to extort you

Screenshot of files encrypted by CryptoMix EMPTY virus and _HELP_INSTRUCTION.TXT ransom note

EMPTY ransomware is the latest CryptoMix variant[1] that adds .EMPTY file extension to encrypted files. Once installed, it scans the entire PC system, finds files with target extensions and encodes them using RSA-2048 and AES-128 cryptography algorithms. Encrypted files can’t be restored unless the victim has a backup.

EMPTY virus creates a file called _HELP_INSTRUCTION.TXT in which it outputs three email addresses – empty01@techmail.info, empty02@yahooweb.co, empty003@protonmail.com. The victim is supposed to write to one of these to get information regarding data decryption[2].

CryptoMix EMPTY is just another addition to the infamous ransomware family that already includes AZER, MOLE, ERROR, ZERO, EXTE, ZAYKA and even more malicious computer programs. Similar to previously mentioned viruses, the latest version creates _HELP_INSTRUCTION.TXT file on the compromised system to deliver a message from cyber criminals. The text from the ransom note is provided below.

Attention! All Your data was encrypted!
For specific informartion, please send us an email with Your ID number:
We will help You as soon as possible!


Victims who accidentally installed this malicious software on their computers should remember that paying the ransom doesn’t solve the problem and often enlarges it. The criminals can quickly make off with your money and not provide any data recovery solutions. If you are seriously considering the idea of paying the ransom, you should remember that cyber criminals can’t be trusted.

EMPTY ransomware virusEMPTY ransomware is a new CryptoMix malware variant that corrupts files and suggests writing to one of emails provided in the _HELP_INSTRUCTION.txt file (the ransom note).

We highly recommend you to remove EMPTY virus from the system. However, it is not an easy task to do, so we strongly suggest that you follow the advice of cyber security experts. The first thing to remember is that the virus might try to interfere with your security program’s processes and prevent it from removing the virus from the system.

In such situation, the computer needs to be rebooted into Safe Mode with Networking. You can find informative EMPTY ransomware removal instructions below the article. We have noticed that many of CryptoMix victims are from Germany, so we also suggest reading malware removal tips on Dieviren.de[3] site.

Distribution of CryptoMix ransomware viruses

CryptoMix viruses usually spread via malicious spam, so you have to be careful when opening new emails to prevent this virus from slipping into your computer using Trojan horse tactics. Nowadays, malicious viruses can be downloaded to your system simply after opening a compromised Word or PDF file.

To protect yourself from ransomware, follow our recommendations:

  • Create a data backup. Make sure you store it away from your computer;
  • Install a good security software;
  • Never open suspicious links or email attachments;
  • Keep your programs up-to-date by enabling automatic software updates.

These simple steps will help you avoid ransomware. However, having a data backup is probably the most important step. If a ransomware virus manages to get into the computer system, data backup will save you from a complete data loss.

Remove EMPTY ransomware and recreate your files

Do not delay EMPTY ransomware removal because it is an essential thing to do in order to make your computer function normally again. It is strongly recommended to perform the malware removal using anti-malware tools because they can identify and eliminate all infectious files that malware dropped on your system. It would take much longer to find and delete them manually.

Remove EMPTY virus professionally with the help of programs we recommend – FortectIntego or Malwarebytes. You also need to restart your computer before using them, so please follow the instructions we wrote 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 EMPTY virus. Follow these steps

Manual removal using Safe Mode

Kill EMPTY ransomware while in Safe Mode with Networking. Use the instructions provided below.

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 EMPTY 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 EMPTY. 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 EMPTY removal is performed successfully.

Bonus: Recover your data

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

To recover your files, find the data backup that you created in the past. Make sure that the virus is gone before plugging the backup device into your PC. Transfer healthy files to computer. In case data backup is something that you don't have, try one of the provided methods:

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

Start Data Recovery Pro software

Data Recovery Pro is useful software that might help you recover .empty files. However, there is no guarantee for that because this tool isn't designed to recover encrypted 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 EMPTY ransomware;
  • Restore them.

Try ShadowExplorer

ShadowExplorer might help you restore the majority of your files, but only in case EMPTY ransomware failed to delete Volume Shadow Copies from your PC.

  • 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.

Finally, you should always think about the protection of crypto-ransomwares. In order to protect your computer from EMPTY and other ransomwares, use a reputable anti-spyware, such as FortectIntego, SpyHunter 5Combo Cleaner or Malwarebytes

How to prevent from getting ransomware

Do not let government spy on you

The government has many issues in regards to tracking users' data and spying on citizens, so you should take this into consideration and learn more about shady information gathering practices. Avoid any unwanted government tracking or spying by going totally anonymous on the internet. 

You can choose a different location when you go online and access any material you want without particular content restrictions. You can easily enjoy internet connection without any risks of being hacked by using Private Internet Access VPN.

Control the information that can be accessed by government any other unwanted party and surf online without being spied on. Even if you are not involved in illegal activities or trust your selection of services, platforms, be suspicious for your own security and take precautionary measures by using the VPN service.

Backup files for the later use, in case of the malware attack

Computer users can suffer from data losses due to cyber infections or their own faulty doings. Ransomware can encrypt and hold files hostage, while unforeseen power cuts might cause a loss of important documents. If you have proper up-to-date backups, you can easily recover after such an incident and get back to work. It is also equally important to update backups on a regular basis so that the newest information remains intact – you can set this process to be performed automatically.

When you have the previous version of every important document or project you can avoid frustration and breakdowns. It comes in handy when malware strikes out of nowhere. Use Data Recovery Pro for the data restoration process.

About the author
Jake Doevan
Jake Doevan - Computer technology expert

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