Farlock ransomware (virus) - Recovery Instructions Included

Farlock virus Removal Guide

What is Farlock ransomware?

Farlock ransomware is damaging for both businesses and home users

Farlock ransomwareFarlock is a dangerous virus that makes files unreadable

Farlock ransomware is a file-locking virus that prevents users from accessing their files and demands payment for decryption. Ransomware attacks have been on the rise since the pandemic started as people spend more time online surfing the web, the opportunities have significantly increased for cybercriminals.

MedusaLocker is the malware family that this malicious program belongs to, and it emerged at the end of September 2019. The first thing that ransomware does when it infiltrates the operating system is encrypt the files making them impossible to open and use. The icons also change to blank pages. The files are appended with an extension that depends on the Farlock variant.

So, for example, if a file were previously named picture.jpg, now it would look like this – picture.jpg.farlock2, or video.mp4.farlock8. This is the point where users usually notice that something strange is happening. Shortly after encryption is done, a ransom note is generated with a unique ID for every victim. The filename of the letter is HOW_TO_RECOVER_DATA.html.

While reading the note, people realize that they are in big trouble. Threat actors encourage the victims to send a payment for them immediately to get their files back, but we strongly suggest against doing that. Many ransomware victims have shared their experiences in various forums, which revealed that many of them never heard back after paying the criminals, so they lost their data and money.

NAME Farlock
TYPE Ransomware, cryptovirus, data locking malware
MALWARE FAMILY MedusaLocker
ENCRYPTION METHOD RSA + AES
DISTRIBUTION Email attachments, peer-to-peer file sharing platforms, malicious ads
FILE EXTENSION Extension depends on the variant, like .farlock2, .farlock3, and so on
RANSOM NOTE HOW_TO_RECOVER_DATA.html
FILE RECOVERY It is nearly impossible to recover the files if you do not have backups; we provide a third-party solution that has helped some users
MALWARE REMOVAL Scan your machine with anti-malware software to eliminate all the malicious files
SYSTEM FIX Windows reinstallation can be avoided with ReimageIntego maintenance tool, which can fix damaged files, system errors, and more

Ransomware attacks could both affect big corporations and private individuals. Of course, targeting businesses is more profitable for criminals as they can ask for more immense sums of money because the stakes are higher for business owners, who are more likely to pay. They do not want their data to be leaked on the internet.

Ransomware distribution methods

There are a lot of ways ransomware could have infected your computer. One of the most common methods used by hackers is malspam.[1] With this method, threat actors add infected attachments to the email and use social engineering techniques to encourage users to open it. The email might include PDFs or Word documents. It might also contain links to malicious websites.[2]

Often the emails look like they came from a colleague or friend, but if you were not expecting to receive a file via email, you should check with that person through another platform just in case. Hackers can use your friend list against you and make the message even more believable.

Installing “cracked”[3] software is also a massive threat as the sites that distribute them disguise malicious programs as legitimate or hide malware between the files. This affects home users more, as businesses usually have licenses for their software. People should instead use official distributors than risk their security because these sites are not regulated and are filled with adware, spyware, trojans, etc.

What do cybercriminals say?

YOUR PERSONAL ID:

/!\ YOUR COMPANY NETWORK HAS BEEN PENETRATED /!\
All your important files have been encrypted!

Your files are safe! Only modified. (RSA+AES)

ANY ATTEMPT TO RESTORE YOUR FILES WITH THIRD-PARTY SOFTWARE
WILL PERMANENTLY CORRUPT IT.
DO NOT MODIFY ENCRYPTED FILES.
DO NOT RENAME ENCRYPTED FILES.

No software available on internet can help you. We are the only ones able to
solve your problem.

We gathered highly confidential/personal data. These data are currently stored on
a private server. This server will be immediately destroyed after your payment.
If you decide to not pay, we will release your data to public or re-seller.
So you can expect your data to be publicly available in the near future..

We only seek money and our goal is not to damage your reputation or prevent
your business from running.

You will can send us 2-3 non-important files and we will decrypt it for free
to prove we are able to give your files back.

Contact us for price and get decryption software.

qd7pcafncosqfqu3ha6fcx4h6sr7tzwagzpcdcnytiw3b6varaeqv5yd.onion
* Note that this server is available via Tor browser only

Follow the instructions to open the link:
1. Type the addres “hxxps://www.torproject.org” in your Internet browser. It opens the Tor site.
2. Press “Download Tor”, then press “Download Tor Browser Bundle”, install and run it.
3. Now you have Tor browser. In the Tor Browser open qd7pcafncosqfqu3ha6fcx4h6sr7tzwagzpcdcnytiw3b6varaeqv5yd.onion
4. Start a chat and follow the further instructions.

If you can not use the above link, use the email:
ithelp02@decorous.cyou
ithelp02@wholeness.business
* To contact us, create a new free email account on the site: protonmail.com
IF YOU DON'T CONTACT US WITHIN 72 HOURS, PRICE WILL BE HIGHER.

It seems the people behind Farlock ransomware target businesses, use various scare tactics to make them act without thinking and just pay the ransom. They also threaten to post their data on the internet if they do not take any action. It is not clear how much the gray hat hackers want to be paid; that is probably negotiated with every victim personally.

As we noted before, ransomware developers cannot be trusted, and you should just try your best to eliminate the malware and recover your files. Cybercriminals will try to use every manipulation tactic possible to make you send cryptocurrency[4] to their address. After a crypto transaction, you cannot cancel it or report that you did not receive the promised services – they are lost forever, that is why they choose this method.

Farlock virusFarlock ransomware creators demand money for file decryption

Isolate the affected machine

As the creators of this malicious program seem to be targeting businesses, you need to isolate the affected machine so the virus would not infect 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 to plug out the ethernet cable. In the corporate environment, this might be extremely hard to do and time-consuming. The method below will disconnect from all the networks, including local and the internet, isolating each machine involved.

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

If you are using some type of cloud storage 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.

Remove the intruder from your machine

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. It would be best if you did 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.

If the virus prevents you from using security software, you first need to access Safe Mode. If you do not know how to do it, look for instructions at the bottom of the post.

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 Farlock ransomware.

  1. Download Data Recovery Pro.
  2. Double-click the installer to launch it.
  3. Follow on-screen instructions to install the software.
  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.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 errors

Performance, stability, and usability issues, to the point where a complete 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, 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
  • If User Account Control (UAC) shows up, select Yes
  • Press Install and wait till the program finishes the installation process
  • 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

Safety measures to go by

  • Do not use unofficial sources to download programs as they can have other software bundled together in the installation, or always choose the “Custom” and “Advanced” installation methods and carefully inspect the file list and identify if there are any unneeded apps
  • Back up all your data in several different places to avoid losing it forever
  • Use ad-blocking software to avoid clicking on malicious advertisements
  • Use professional security software to perform regular system scans
  • Update your operating system and software. Hackers search for new vulnerabilities all the time

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 Farlock 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.

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

Protect your privacy – employ a VPN

There are several ways how to make your online time more private – you can access an incognito tab. However, there is no secret that even in this mode, you are tracked for advertising purposes. There is a way to add an extra layer of protection and create a completely anonymous web browsing practice with the help of Private Internet Access VPN. This software reroutes traffic through different servers, thus leaving your IP address and geolocation in disguise. Besides, it is based on a strict no-log policy, meaning that no data will be recorded, leaked, and available for both first and third parties. The combination of a secure web browser and Private Internet Access VPN will let you browse the Internet without a feeling of being spied or targeted by criminals. 

No backups? No problem. Use a data recovery tool

If you wonder how data loss can occur, you should not look any further for answers – human errors, malware attacks, hardware failures, power cuts, natural disasters, or even simple negligence. In some cases, lost files are extremely important, and many straight out panic when such an unfortunate course of events happen. Due to this, you should always ensure that you prepare proper data backups on a regular basis.

If you were caught by surprise and did not have any backups to restore your files from, not everything is lost. Data Recovery Pro is one of the leading file recovery solutions you can find on the market – it is likely to restore even lost emails or data located on an external device.

About the author
Olivia Morelli
Olivia Morelli - Ransomware analyst

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