Exotic 3.0 ransomware / virus (2016 update) - Improved Guide

Exotic 3.0 virus Removal Guide

What is Exotic 3.0 ransomware virus?

Yet another virus by EvilTwin: Exotic 3.0 ransomware

Exotic 3.0 virus has appeared, but do you know the story behind it? EvilTwin claims to be liable for the Exotic ransomware project, and the latest version of this malicious virus is Exotic 3.0 ransomware. There are hardly any differences between this one and the previous versions (Exotic 2.0 and Exotic). The only thing that changed is the background of the lock screen that this virus displays. Just like preceding versions, it locks personal files with a strong encryption algorithm, then asks to pay a ransom within 72 hours otherwise all data will be deleted from the computer for good. After experiencing the attack, the victim finds .exotic file extensions appended to encrypted file, and receives a ransom note that automatically launches on the computer screen, saying:

YOU GOT INFECTED BY THE EXOTIC VIRUS

All your files are encrypted, how to restore? Pay me 50 USD in worth of bitcoins to thie address: [BTC wallet address]
You have 72 hours to pay or all your files are gone
You can delete the virus, but your files are gone
Have a nice day =) EVILTWIN

New file extensions on encrypted files is not a new technique, and many ransomware viruses do this to make the victim see how many files have been corrupted. However, not all viruses scramble the original file name, and that’s exactly what this virus does. This way, the victim notices how many files have been encrypted, but loses the possibility to identify which file is which. What’s interesting about Exotic viruses is that they can encrypt executive (.exe) files, which means that the victim loses access to programs. The virus also changes desktop’s wallpaper with an image that contains the same information. Despite angry threats to delete victim’s files in case he/she refuses to pay up in 72 hours, users should not be afraid to remove Exotic 3.0 ransomware using anti-malware tools. A deleted virus can no longer initiate activities on the computer, so it becomes unable to delete encrypted files. This way, you can save encrypted copies and one day decrypt them with a decryption tool. We believe that malware researchers can create one soon, so be patient. In the meantime, use ReimageIntego software to delete the virus, but SpyHunter 5Combo Cleaner is just as good. Do not forget to prepare your PC for Exotic 3.0 removal first – follow instructions provided below this article.
Lock screen by Exotic 3.0 virus

What methods were used to attack your PC and successfully infect it?

Many computer users are confused because they cannot understand how a malicious program managed to enter their computers without their knowledge. Ransomware viruses spread with the help of techniques that are based on file masking, which means they travel the same way that Trojan horses do. To protect your computer from malware attacks, you need to follow these steps:

  • Install a trustworthy anti-malware software for enhanced PC protection.
  • Avoid emails that come from senders of unknown origin. However, do not forget that scammers often impersonate workers of reputable organizations, so do not open each invoice, resume or bill that comes attached to suspicious emails that you were not expecting to get. Crooks might also try to convince you to open attached files by stating that you have a sum of money waiting for your acceptance (via Paypal or another payment system). Please remember – if you do not know who is the sender of such email, or if you do not trust it, better ignore it and delete it from your inbox.
  • Enable automatic software updates or update programs installed on the computer manually. This helps to avoid the menace of exploit kits, which can be encountered in untrustworthy websites and can scan your system for vulnerable software. Exploit kits take advantage of outdated software and use vulnerabilities to infect the system with malware without displaying any pop-ups, alerts, or installation wizards.
  • Save downloads to disk before opening them. This gives time for the computer security software to check the safety of the file. If your anti-malware software finds the file secure, you can open it.

Annihilate Exotic 3.0 virus

The best way to remove Exotic 3.0 virus is to let an automatic malware removal tool identify its files during the system scan and remove all of them with a single click. Sadly, trying to delete this malicious virus manually can come to a bad end. You might accidentally delete safe and essential files that are needed to maintain a regular system’s performance. Therefore, we encourage you to rely on our recommended malware removers for successful Exotic 3.0 removal.

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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 Exotic 3.0 virus. Follow these steps

Manual removal using Safe Mode

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.
    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.
    Reboot
  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.
    Startup

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
    Downloads
    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):

    %AppData%
    %LocalAppData%
    %ProgramData%
    %WinDir%

After you are finished, reboot the PC in normal mode.

Remove Exotic 3.0 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 Exotic 3.0. 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 ReimageIntego and make sure that Exotic 3.0 removal is performed successfully.

Bonus: Recover your data

Guide which is presented above is supposed to help you remove Exotic 3.0 from your computer. To recover your encrypted files, we recommend using a detailed guide prepared by 2-spyware.com security experts.

If this noxious virus has encrypted your files, you must be thinking of ways to recover them. The 100% efficient data recovery option is to use a backup, but we understand that some users might not have one. Sadly, in such situation you can try several data recovery techniques described below, but firstly we advise you to backup your files and be patient – malware analysts might be able to release a free Exotic 3.0 decryption tool soon.

If your files are encrypted by Exotic 3.0, you can use several methods to restore them:

Data Recovery Pro

There is a data recovery software that seems to be an irreplaceable assistant for those who have their files encrypted, deleted, or simply corrupted. It might not be able to restore .exotic files, but we recommend you to test its capabilities just to be sure.

  • 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 Exotic 3.0 ransomware;
  • Restore them.

Use Windows Previous Versions for data recovery

To decrypt some individual files, use Windows Previous Versions feature. Follow these steps:

  • 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 Exotic 3.0 and other ransomwares, use a reputable anti-spyware, such as ReimageIntego, SpyHunter 5Combo Cleaner or Malwarebytes

How to prevent from getting ransomware

Choose a proper web browser and improve your safety with a VPN tool

Online spying has got momentum in recent years and people are getting more and more interested in how to protect their privacy online. One of the basic means to add a layer of security – choose the most private and secure web browser. Although web browsers can't grant full privacy protection and security, some of them are much better at sandboxing, HTTPS upgrading, active content blocking, tracking blocking, phishing protection, and similar privacy-oriented features. However, if you want true anonymity, we suggest you employ a powerful Private Internet Access VPN – it can encrypt all the traffic that comes and goes out of your computer, preventing tracking completely.

 

Lost your files? Use data recovery software

While some files located on any computer are replaceable or useless, others can be extremely valuable. Family photos, work documents, school projects – these are types of files that we don't want to lose. Unfortunately, there are many ways how unexpected data loss can occur: power cuts, Blue Screen of Death errors, hardware failures, crypto-malware attack, or even accidental deletion.

To ensure that all the files remain intact, you should prepare regular data backups. You can choose cloud-based or physical copies you could restore from later in case of a disaster. If your backups were lost as well or you never bothered to prepare any, Data Recovery Pro can be your only hope to retrieve your invaluable files.

About the author
Olivia Morelli
Olivia Morelli - Ransomware analyst

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