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Ghost ransomware. How to remove? (Uninstall guide)

removal by Lucia Danes - - | Type: Ransomware

Ghost ransomware is a cryptovirus that increased the ransom amount from 0.08116 to 0.10692946BTC since the first attack

Ghost ransomware
Ghost ransomware is a virus that displays ransom note in a pop-up window called Ghost. In this ransom message, virus developers demand 0.08116 BTC.
Ghost ransomware is a cryptovirus that demands 0.08116 Bitcoin for decrypting locked data. The ransom amount in Bitcoin equals about 440 USD which shouldn't be sent to people who can never be trusted.[1] However, in a few days from the first ransomware attack, the ransom amount increased to 0.10692946BTC which equals 500$. After infecting the targeted system, the virus also known as GhostHammer ransomware adds its malicious files on the device and then starts encrypting personal data. It is not clear which encryption algorithm it uses, but one of the files this malware adds on the system is responsible for data-locking. When this process is done, malware marks encoded data with a .ghost file extension. Virus researchers discussed that some strings of the malicious code are written in Spanish/Portuguese languages, indicating that cybercriminals behind this crypto-extortionist are hailing from these countries.

Name Ghost ransomware
Also known as GhostHammer ransomware
Type Cryptovirus
File extension .ghost
Ransom amount 0.08116 BTC or 0.10692946 BTC
Ransom note Displayed on a screen in the program window
The main executable Ghost.exe
Associated files
  • Ghost.exe; 
  • GhostService.exe; 
  • GhostService.exe.config; 
  • GhostService.pdb; 
  • GhostService.vshost.exe; 
  • GhostHammer.dll;
  • Ghost.bat;
  • .exe
Contact email paymemen@gmail.com
Possible origin of hackers Spanish or Portuguese
Distribution Spam email attachments
Elimination Download and use Reimage for Ghost ransomware removal

According to virus detection results[2], this GhostHammer ransomware virus is not easily detectable and quite persistent. The initial ransomware infection starts with changing registry keys and adding or corrupted system files. This threat adds a few DLL files on the system, one is for collecting users' files, and other is for the encryption process.[3]  

When all of these system changes are made, Ghost ransomware virus starts the main process during which users' files get locked and encrypted by changing the original code of various files:

  • photos;
  • images;
  • databases;
  • documents;
  • zip archives;
  • music files;
  • videos.

When Ghost ransomware is done encrypting your data, it develops a ransom note that is shown on the screen in a pop-up program window called Ghost. The message contains a few facts about the attack, and it also gives instructions on the payment method and the ransom amount. 

The ransom message created by Ghost ransomware reads the following:

All your files have been encrypted

All your files have been encrypted, but don't worry. I have not deleted them yet

To desencrypt them, you have to pay 0.08116 bitcoin to following address:

…..

Them, sdend a mail to paymemen@gmail.com with your CODE ID

I'm sorry for the inconvenience caused

 

CODE ID: 

You need to remove Ghost ransomware and don't even consider paying the demanded ransom. This amount may look small, but it equals $440. Also, paying gives no guarantee that your data would get decrypted eventually. The safest way to get your files back is terminating the virus and then replacing your encoded files with safe ones from the backup. 

Unfortunately, the virus was first spotted on November 17th and in a few days, on 20th the ransomware already increased the payment amount. Since that day GhostHammer ransomware demands people to pay 0.10692946 BTC which is equivalent to 500$. 

GhostHammer ransomware is a dangerous threat that can be persistent because of the alterations on the system. The main attack starts with added registry entries and various system files. You need to get rid of all of them if you want to terminate the main program. 

The existence of these files make GhostHammer ransomware removal difficult:

  • GhostService.exe; 
  • GhostService.exe.config; 
  • GhostService.pdb; 
  • GhostService.vshost.exe; 
  • GhostHammer.dll;
  • Ghost.bat.

You can find a few decryption/data recovery methods below the article, also Ghost ransomware removal tips and software suggestions because you need to employ anti-malware tools like Reimage for this elimination process. Hackers who developed this virus have added a few features that allow ransomware to affect or even disable antivirus programs, so first, enter the Safe Mode and then scan the device entirely. 

GhostHammer ransomware
GhostHammer ransomware is a virus that demands specific 0.10692948 BTC ransom for encrypted files.

Ransomware malicious payload hides in safe-looking documents

Spam email campaigns can be used in a wide range of cyber attacks and distribute anything from adware, scams or even malware designed to spread other infections. Ransomware spreading trojans can be one of them. Spam email attachments often look legitimate and safe because malicious actors disguise their products with well-known names and even put a malicious script on documents named as receipts or invoices.

Researchers[4] note that email from PayPal, FedEx, eBay or Amazon might be infected with malicious macros on those MS Word or Excel, PDF files. This is the main ransomware distribution method because the minute user downloads and opens affected record on the system direct ransomware payload gets on the device. It's also possible that trojans or other malware gets on your system this way and runs additional background processes or infiltrates the ransomware virus. 

Eliminate Ghost ransomware the proper way – with anti-malware tools

Since Ghost ransomware virus is not a scam, adware or PUP, you cannot terminate the malicious program manually. You need to clean your system thoroughly, and you can only do that with professional malware-fighting programs like Reimage, Malwarebytes MalwarebytesCombo Cleaner or Plumbytes Anti-MalwareMalwarebytes Malwarebytes.

To remove Ghost ransomware, you should download one of these suggestions or employ antivirus tool of your choice and perform a thorough system scan on your infected device. This scan allows you to see what intruders are affecting the performance of your device and delete them entirely. 

This automatic Ghost ransomware removal eliminates all possible intruders and improves the performance of your device because it removes useless programs and corrupted files. You may need to enter the Safe Mode first before that scan, and you can find a step-by-step guide below to know how. 

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Compatible with Microsoft Windows Supported versions Compatible with OS X Supported versions
What to do if failed?
If you failed to remove virus damage using Reimage, submit a question to our support team and provide as much details as possible.
Reimage is recommended to remove virus damage. 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.
Alternative Software
Different security software includes different virus database. If you didn’t succeed in finding malware with Reimage, try running alternative scan with Malwarebytes.
Alternative Software
Different security software includes different virus database. If you didn’t succeed in finding malware with Reimage, try running alternative scan with Combo Cleaner.

To remove Ghost virus, follow these steps:

Remove Ghost using Safe Mode with Networking

To remove Ghost ransomware from the system fully, you need to scan the system using anti-malware tools. However, the virus may affect this program, and you should reboot the computer in Safe Mode with Networking before that to make sure everything works as it supposed to:

  • 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 Ghost

    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 Ghost removal.

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

Remove Ghost using System Restore

Try System Restore feature to remove Ghost ransomware by recovering the system to a previous state:

  • 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 Ghost. 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 Ghost removal is performed successfully.

Bonus: Recover your data

Guide which is presented above is supposed to help you remove Ghost 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 Ghost, you can use several methods to restore them:

Data Recovery Pro is a program designed for file restoring

If you have no backups, use Data Recovery Pro and restore encrypted or accidentally deleted data

  • 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 Ghost ransomware;
  • Restore them.

Windows Previous Versions feature is helpful when there are no data backups

Try Windows Previous Versions as an alternative file recovery method. However, this option may only work when System Restore was enabled before

  • 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 for encoded files

If Ghost ransomware left Shadow Volume Copies, you could recover your data using 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.

Decryption tool is not available

Finally, you should always think about the protection of crypto-ransomwares. In order to protect your computer from Ghost and other ransomwares, use a reputable anti-spyware, such as Reimage, Malwarebytes MalwarebytesCombo Cleaner or Plumbytes Anti-MalwareMalwarebytes Malwarebytes

About the author

Lucia Danes
Lucia Danes - Virus researcher

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References