FriedEx ransomware (Decryption Steps Included) - Virus Removal Instructions

FriedEx virus Removal Guide

What is FriedEx 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 ReimageIntego 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.

Image of FriedEx ransomware virusFriedEx ransomware mostly targets organizations and demands 50 Bitcoins.

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 ReimageIntego or Malwarebytes 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 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 FriedEx virus. Follow these steps

Manual removal using Safe Mode

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

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 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 ReimageIntego 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.

  • 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 FriedEx ransomware;
  • Restore them.

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 ReimageIntego, SpyHunter 5Combo Cleaner or Malwarebytes

How to prevent from getting ransomware

Access your website securely from any location

When you work on the domain, site, blog, or different project that requires constant management, content creation, or coding, you may need to connect to the server and content management service more often. The best solution for creating a tighter network could be a dedicated/fixed IP address.

If you make your IP address static and set to your device, you can connect to the CMS from any location and do not create any additional issues for the server or network manager that needs to monitor connections and activities. VPN software providers like Private Internet Access can help you with such settings and offer the option to control the online reputation and manage projects easily from any part of the world.

 

Recover files after data-affecting malware attacks

While much of the data can be accidentally deleted due to various reasons, malware is one of the main culprits that can cause loss of pictures, documents, videos, and other important files. More serious malware infections lead to significant data loss when your documents, system files, and images get encrypted. In particular, ransomware is is a type of malware that focuses on such functions, so your files become useless without an ability to access them.

Even though there is little to no possibility to recover after file-locking threats, some applications have features for data recovery in the system. In some cases, Data Recovery Pro can also help to recover at least some portion of your data after data-locking virus infection or general cyber infection. 

 

About the author
Gabriel E. Hall
Gabriel E. Hall - Passionate web researcher

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