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FriedEx ransomware. How to remove? (Uninstall guide)

removal by Gabriel E. Hall - - | Type: Ransomware

FriedEx virus attacks organizations and takes their files to hostage

Image of FriedEx ransomware ransom notes

FriedEx ransomware, also known as Bitpaymer virus, is a file-encrypting extortionist that uses a strong encryption algorithm and appends .locked file extension to targeted data. Following the successful encryption, malware drops .readme_txt file with data recovery instructions were victims are asked to pay 50 Bitcoins to get back corrupted files.

According to the latest research data, FriedEx is developed by the same cyber criminals who created an infamous Dridex banking trojan.[1] However, ransomware was started spreading in July 2017, but its attacks continue causing problems in 2018 as well.

The FriedEx virus uses complex cryptography. In order to make files inaccessible, the malware uses RC4 and 1024-bit RSA encryption algorithms. Soon as it finishes corrupting important data, it also creates a ransom note for each file with .locked extension. Hence, it makes a total mess on the system just to make sure that victim receives a data recovery offer.

The ransom note reveals that malware targets organizations instead of individual computer users. This makes the virus even more dangerous:

YOUR COMPANY HAS BEEN SUCCESSFULLY PENETRATED!
DO NOT RESET OR SHUTDOWN – files may be damaged. DO NOT TOUCH this file.
All files are encrypted, we accept only bitcoins to share the decryption software for your network.
Also, we have gathered all your “private sensitive data.” So if you decide not to pay anytime soon, we would share it with media's.
It may harm your business reputation and the company's capitalization fell sharply.
Do not try to do it with 3rd-parties programs, files might be damaged then.
Decrypting of your files is only possible with the special decryption software.
To receive your private key and the decryption software please follow the link (using tor2web service):
h[tt]ps://qmnmrba4s4a3py6z.onion[.]to/order/***
If this address is not available, follow these steps:
1. Download and install Tor Browser: h[tt]ps://www.torproject[.]org/projects/torbrowser.html.en
2. After a successful installation, run the browser and wait for initialization.
3. Type in the address bar: h[tt]ps://gmnmrba4s4a3py6z[.]onion/order/***
4. Follow the instructions on the site
5. This link is valid for 72 hours only. Afetr that period your local data would be lost completely.
6. Any questions: 15010050@tutamail.com
KEY:[RANDOM CHARACTERS]

However, victims of ransomware are not advised to pay the ransom. Security experts recommend eliminating the virus and recovering from backups. For safe and successful FriedEx removal we suggest using Reimage which is a reputable and effective malware removal tool.

Any attempts to remove FriedEx manually might lead to irreparable damage to the system. Ransomware is a complicated and harmful cyber threat that might inject malicious code into legit system processes, so cleaning the system requires professional software to avoid the damage.

Hospitals are the main targets of the FriedEx malware

FriedEx or BitPaymer started its malicious task in August 2017 by launching attacks in the UK.[2] Malware hit three hospitals in National Health Service’s (NHS) Lanarkshire outpost:

  • Hairmyres Hospital in East Kilbride;
  • Monklands Hospital in Airdrie;
  • Wishaw General Hospital.

Malware encrypted files on the targeted computers and asked to pay 50 Bitcoins to get them back. However, cyber criminals also tried to blackmail victims. According to the received ransom note, hackers managed to steal “private sensitive data” which will be leaked unless the ransom is paid.

According to the representatives, FriedEx was delivered in the phishing email.[3] Hence, only one click disturbed whole hospital’s work. Nevertheless, emergency procedures were continued; many appointments were canceled.

Criminals use several methods to infiltrate machines

As the example of attacks in Scotland’s hospitals tells, one of the ways how malware enters the system is phishing. The malicious program sneaks into the system as soon as a user opens a malicious email attachment. Hence, users are advised to remain vigilant and do not rush opening documents or files sent via email.

Security researchers also detected that malware could launch brute force attacks via Microsoft Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP).[4] Thus, it’s important to secure RDP to minimize the risk of the ransomware infiltration.

Additionally, users are advised to follow general security tips when browsing the web:

avoid clicking unknown links or files received in email, social networks or communication apps,
do not download illegal or cracked software,
do not install software updates from pop-ups,
create data backups,
protect computers with reputable antivirus,
install all available system and software updates.

Instructions on how to get rid of FriedEx ransomware virus

The only safe way to remove FriedEx from the machine is to use professional software. Malware removal tools like Reimage or Malwarebytes Anti Malware can detect and eliminate this cyber threat without any problems. However, you may need to take additional steps.

To make FriedEx removal smooth, you should reboot the affected device to Safe Mode with Networking. This allows disabling malware and preventing it from blocking security software. The detailed explanation is given below.

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What to do if failed?
If you failed to remove infection using Reimage, submit a question to our support team and provide as much details as possible.
Reimage is recommended to uninstall FriedEx ransomware. 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.
More information about this program can be found in Reimage review.
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Manual FriedEx virus Removal Guide:

Remove FriedEx using Safe Mode with Networking

To remove ransomware using malware removal tool, reboot the system to Safe Mode with Networking as explained below:

  • 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 FriedEx

    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 FriedEx removal.

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

Remove FriedEx using System Restore

This method might also help to disable the virus and run its removal:

  • 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 FriedEx. 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 FriedEx removal is performed successfully.

Bonus: Recover your data

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

Data recovery is possible only from backups. If you do not have them, you can try alternative methods but we cannot give any guarantees that it would be successful.

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

Try Data Recovery Pro

This tool helps to restore corrupted or accidentally deleted files. However, it was also reported to help recover encrypted files.

Try Windows Previous Versions feature if System Restore was enabled before the attack

This method allows accessing saved versions of files before ransomware attack.

  • 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”.

Try ShadowExplorer

FriedEx ransomware might fail to delete Shadow Volume Copies, so you might be able to recover files with ShadowExplorer:

  • 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.

FriedEx decryptor is not available yet

Finally, you should always think about the protection of crypto-ransomwares. In order to protect your computer from FriedEx and other ransomwares, use a reputable anti-spyware, such as Reimage, Plumbytes Anti-MalwareWebroot SecureAnywhere AntiVirus or Malwarebytes Anti Malware

About the author

Gabriel E. Hall
Gabriel E. Hall - Passionate web researcher

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References