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Remove ETH ransomware (Virus Removal Guide) - Decryption Steps Included

removal by Julie Splinters - - | Type: Ransomware

ETH ransomware is crypto malware has been recognized by multiple AV engines

ETH ransomware

Questions about ETH ransomware

ETH ransomware is a file locking virus and a variant of the broad Dharma virus family. While the original malware was first released into the wild back in November 2016, it was updated dozens of times through the years, and so far has been particularly active in 2019, coming out with such versions as .adobe or .USA. Once installed, ETH virus looks for data to encrypt, namely for databases, documents, pictures, videos, misc, etc. It then uses a sophisticated encryption algorithm[1] (AES or DES) to mark files with .ETH extension, which prevents victims from opening them. Additionally, malware drops a ransom note FILES ENCRYPTED.txt, where hackers ask users to pay ransom in Bitcoin and contact them via the helpfilerestore@india.com email address. While .eth file virus is not decryptable, contacting cybercriminals is not recommended.

Name ETH
Type Ransomware
Family Dharma
Release date January 31st, 2019
Extension .ID-[random].[helpfilerestore@india.com].eth
Ransom note FILES ENCRYPTED.txt
Contact helpfilerestore@india.com
Decryptable? No
Elimination Use anti-malware software like Malwarebytes
System repair Use Reimage to repair system damage

ETH ransomware can be spread with the help of various methods, including spam email attachments, exploit kits, unprotected RDP configuration, brute-force attacks, etc. Additionally, the virus often relies on fake updates such as Adobe, Windows, or other popular names. Please refer to the second part of the blog to establish methods of avoiding ETH virus, along with other similar threats.

Once executed, the malicious payload of ETH ransomware populates the system and performs various modifications, such as the launching of numerous processes, deleting shadow volume copies, modifying windows registry, infecting executable files, creating the main executable in the system32 directory, etc.

After system modification is complete, malware encrypts every personal file as follows: .ID-[random].[helpfilerestore@india.com].eth. For example, a file picture.jpg is renamed into picture.jpg.ID-6R471FS8[helpfilerestore@india.com].eth and becomes unusable. To recover the access, users are prompted to contact cybercriminals, which experts[2] never recommend doing. Instead, users should remove ETH ransomware with the help of security application and then use alternative methods to recover personal files.

The ransom note FILES ENCRYPTED.txt states the following:

all your data has been locked us
You want to return?
write email helpfilerestore@india.com

In addition, ETH ransomware opens a pop-up file with an extended message, providing more detailed instructions on what victims should do next. Crooks also offer free trial decryption of one file of 1MB or less – this is done to make users believe that once the ransom is paid, they will be guaranteed to get the key back. However, these people should not be trusted and can easily scam victims.

When completed with the elimination of malware, you can then use backups to restore files. If you had none prepared – things will be a little more complicated. However, you can try third-party software that may be able to recover data marked with .eth extension. Additionally, you should scan your machine with Reimage to fix system files and restore normal functions.

ETH ransomware virus
ETH is a ransomware-type virus that locks up files with a sophisticated encryption algorithm and demands ransom in return for the decryptor

Use these precaution measures to avoid ransomware infection

Most users are quite careless when it comes to cybersecurity, so they are caught off guard when infected. For that reason, most ransomware victims are desperate while trying to look for methods of file recovery, as they did not prepare any backups. Thus, while security measures can reduce the chance of malware encrypting data in the first place, backups will save you from ransomware damage entirely. 

To avoid ransomware viruses, you should follow this advice:

  • Install comprehensive security software and keep it updated;
  • Patch your OS and software as soon as security updates are released;
  • Beware of fake updates;
  • Do not casually open email attachments or links that come from an unknown source;
  • Use ad-block;
  • Protect your RDP with a strong password;
  • Avoid websites that might host malware, such as file-sharing or torrent sites;
  • Do not click on suspicious pop-ups or explore sites you get randomly redirected to;
  • Carefully install new software – pick Advanced installation settings.

Delete ETH ransomware and then try to get your files back

The most relevant question for most users while searching for the information online after ETH virus infection is “can I recover my files?” Well, if you had backups, you will be able to get all your data back. If not, the chances of regaining access to personal data are quite slim. However, under certain conditions, specific software or Windows Previous Versions feature might be able to help. You will find all the instructions and download links below.

Before you proceed with file recovery, however, you need to remove ETH ransomware, otherwise, all the recovered data will be encrypted repeatedly. To do that, you should enter Safe Mode with Networking and perform a full system scan with the help of reputable security software. In case ETH ransomware removal fails with your chosen application, make use of one that can recognize the threat, such as Malwarebytes.[3]

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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.
Alternative Software
Different security software includes different virus database. If you didn’t succeed in finding malware with Reimage, try running alternative scan with SpyHunter 5.
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 ETH virus, follow these steps:

Remove ETH using Safe Mode with Networking

Enter Safe Mode with Networking if ETH virus stops security application from working normally:

  • 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 ETH

    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 ETH removal.

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

Remove ETH using System Restore

Take advantage of System Restore in order to remove ETH ransomware:

  • 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 ETH. 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 ETH removal is performed successfully.

Bonus: Recover your data

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

While there is no official decryptor available yet, you should not pay a ransom. Cybercriminals might scam you, and you will end up losing not only your personal data but also a large sum of money. Therefore, rather check the alternative recovery methods we describe below.

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

Make use of Data Recovery Pro to regain access to files locked by the virus

This professional software might be able to help you get at least some of your files back.

  • 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 ETH ransomware;
  • Restore them.

Windows Previous Versions feature might be useful when trying to recover separate files

Windows Previous Versions feature will only work if you had System Restore enabled before the ransomware 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”.

In some cases, ShadowExplorer can recover all data

Most ransomware viruses are programmed to delete Shadow Volume Copies – a procedure that stops users from recovering automated backups stored by Windows OS. Nevertheless, this process sometimes fails and tools like ShadowExplorer can recover all lost files.

  • 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 ETH and other ransomwares, use a reputable anti-spyware, such as Reimage, SpyHunter 5Combo Cleaner or Malwarebytes

About the author

Julie Splinters
Julie Splinters - Malware removal specialist

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