Executioner virus Removal Guide
What is Executioner ransomware virus?
Turkish HiddenTear-based Executioner continues causing trouble
Executioner virus (alternatively known as Cellat malware) functions as ransomware created on the basis of HiddenTear. Interestingly, the malware is of Turkish origin. However, there is no need to understand the language to grasp the basic meaning: the ransom note informs that all files photos, documents, and other important documents are encrypted.
Furthermore, the original version of the threat appended random file extensions to the affected files. Nonetheless, the latest version attaches the extension indicating a random set of 6 characters and numbers. No specific information about the used encryption method is presented. Besides its main ransom text, the malware also leaves the HTML link, Sifre_Cos_Talimat.html, on a local folder.
It contains the text in English informing victims that their files have been encoded. In order to purchase the decryption software, Executioner Decrypter, affected users should contact the perpetrator via firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
They should purchase the amount of bitcoins even to 150 dollars. For that purpose, the malware indicates the bitcoin address. Let us remind you that HiddenTear free decryption tool is available on the web, so it would be wiser to proceed to Executioner removal. ReimageIntego or Malwarebytes makes this process much faster. Luckily, IT specialist has found a way how to decrypt files. The tool also works with the latest edition.
Many might question why HiddenTear pattern has not been still removed from the web. Its availability enables crooks of various ilk to engage in the illegal activities of ransomware programming. On the other hand, programming the malware according to this pattern also increases the chances of decryption. Executioner malware manifests that the developer has higher than the basic programming skills.
The virus is set to attach different file extensions which trouble the detection of the malware on time. Furthermore, unlike the majority of HiddenTear based threats, the threat does not display a .txt file with instruction but rather Sifre_Cos_Talimat.html website link. It asks you to visit two onion website links for supposed instructions.
After entering them, you are redirected to the domain called “Executioner” in both, Turkish and English, with the USA and Turkish flags. It also contains transparent video icon and below link suggesting to have some fun. Naturally, these links may contain another portion of the ransomware. Further sections will explain how to remove Executioner.
New versions come out, the virus is still decryptable
After the original version made its way through the virtual space, the author has not given up. A new version has been roaming on the wild. However, the developer did not introduce any significant changes. Instead of previous email address, now the malware employs firstname.lastname@example.org.
Furthermore, the threat generates a random crypto key. In other words, data recovery might be futile. In contrast to the original threat, the infection also appends a file extension comprised of 6 random characters and numbers. Luckily, victims of this EDA2 threat can decode their files for free regardless of which version they are infected with.
Before proceeding further, it is crucial to be aware of its distribution channels in order to prevent Executioner hijack in the future. The virus is apt in spreading via spam emails. Its executioner.exe file may be wrapped in a fake delivery email or tax report alert. Do not rush opening any of suspicious links before verifying the sender.
Moreover, it is likely that the virus may have lurked in corrupted video links or torrent files. Note that some hackers even distribute malware in corrupted subtitle files. Thus, keep an attentive look to your Inbox and visited websites and update computer security tool for it to fortify cyber protection as well. Fortunately, numerous cyber security tools can already detect the trojan – Gen:Heur.Ransom.HiddenTears.1. Executioner virus demands bitcoins in the value of 150 dollars in exchange to your files.
Eliminate Executioner infection
You may remove Executioner virus with the assistance of an anti-spyware tool. However, it is not surprising if you may encounter system errors. They are likely to be counterfeited by the malware to prevent you from deleting.
In that case, reboot the PC in a Safe Mode and launch a cyber security tool. After that, you will be able to finish Executioner removal. Below instructions, you may find some useful programs which may benefit for data recovery. Try HiddenTear Decrypter as well. Besides Turkish netizens, nearest countries, such as Bulgaria, might encounter the threat. Be vigilant and employ different prevention measures.
Getting rid of Executioner virus. Follow these steps
Manual removal using Safe Mode
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
- Click Start > Shutdown > Restart > OK.
- 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.
- Select Safe Mode with Networking from the list.
Windows 10 / Windows 8
- Right-click on Start button and select Settings.
- Scroll down to pick Update & Security.
- On the left side of the window, pick Recovery.
- Now scroll down to find Advanced Startup section.
- Click Restart now.
- Select Troubleshoot.
- Go to Advanced options.
- Select Startup Settings.
- Press Restart.
- Now press 5 or click 5) Enable Safe Mode with Networking.
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:
- Press Ctrl + Shift + Esc on your keyboard to open Windows Task Manager.
- Click on More details.
- Scroll down to Background processes section, and look for anything suspicious.
- Right-click and select Open file location.
- Go back to the process, right-click and pick End Task.
- Delete the contents of the malicious folder.
Step 3. Check program Startup
- Press Ctrl + Shift + Esc on your keyboard to open Windows Task Manager.
- Go to Startup tab.
- 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:
- Type in Disk Cleanup in Windows search and press Enter.
- 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).
- Scroll through the Files to delete list and select the following:
Temporary Internet Files
- Pick Clean up system files.
- 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 Executioner using System Restore
In case the first method fails to restore access to vital system functions, opt for System Restore.
Step 1: Reboot your computer to Safe Mode with Command Prompt
Windows 7 / Vista / XP
- Click Start → Shutdown → Restart → OK.
- When your computer becomes active, start pressing F8 multiple times until you see the Advanced Boot Options window.
- Select Command Prompt from the list
Windows 10 / Windows 8
- Press the Power button at the Windows login screen. Now press and hold Shift, which is on your keyboard, and click Restart..
- Now select Troubleshoot → Advanced options → Startup Settings and finally press Restart.
- Once your computer becomes active, select Enable Safe Mode with Command Prompt in Startup Settings window.
Step 2: Restore your system files and settings
- Once the Command Prompt window shows up, enter cd restore and click Enter.
- Now type rstrui.exe and press Enter again..
- When a new window shows up, click Next and select your restore point that is prior the infiltration of Executioner. After doing that, click Next.
- Now click Yes to start system restore.
Bonus: Recover your dataGuide which is presented above is supposed to help you remove Executioner from your computer. To recover your encrypted files, we recommend using a detailed guide prepared by 2-spyware.com security experts.
If your files are encrypted by Executioner, you can use several methods to restore them:
Does Data Recovery Pro decrypt files encoded by Executioner malware?
It does not rather decrypt, but, more specifically, may recover lost and damaged files. It is said to be effective in restoring lost emails as well.
- 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 Executioner ransomware;
- Restore them.
The benefits of SjadowExplorer
The key pro is its ability to restore files according to volume shadow copies. There are high chances that you may succeed this time as well.
- 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.
You may benefit from this free HiddenTear Decrypter. A cyber security specialist Michael Gillespie has devised a decryption tool.
Finally, you should always think about the protection of crypto-ransomwares. In order to protect your computer from Executioner and other ransomwares, use a reputable anti-spyware, such as ReimageIntego, 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.