Remove Gollum ransomware (Removal Guide) - Improved Instructions

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

Gollum virus Removal Guide

What is Gollum ransomware?

Gollum – a virus which affects the computer by encrypting files and displaying a ransom note

Gollum ransomwareGollum - a sneaky virus which encrypts files with the .encrypted extension.

Gollum ransomware is a cryptovirus also known as Bitshifter. It sneaks into the system unnoticed and usually is carried out by various spam emails[1] or fake Flash updates. Once installed Gollum virus starts its hazardous activity immediately. First, it affects personal files by adding the .encrypted extension. For that, it uses a combination of AES[2] and RSA encryption algorithms. As soon as data is blocked, the Command & Control server controlled by hackers sends out ransom notes – ransom_pay.html and ransom_note.txt. Crooks explain that victims have to pay 0.05 BTC into a specified Bitcoin address in order to receive a decryption tool for data decryption.

Name Gollum
Alternative name Bitshifter
Type Ransomware
Danger level High. Locks up files and makes them unusable
Extension .encrypted
Ransom size 0.05BTC
Ransom note ransom_pay.html, ransom_note.txt
Distribution Fake Flash updates, spam emails, malicious sites, etc.
Elimination process Use ReimageIntego to get rid of the cyber threat.

Here is a piece of the ransom note provided by the virus:

MOST OF YOUR IMPORTANT FILES HAVE BEEN ENCRYPTED BY AES 256-CBC AND RSA 2048!

well, if you want to restore all your files you should
send 0,05000000 BTC to the next bitcoin address as you see below
[1352RtNRpYRdKLWUUDklBUKP7p4SqMAiTF]
until 04-Jul-2018 08:33:12 (UTC)

Furthermore, this severe threat makes several changes to a computer's parameters to gain persistence. In some cases, ransomware may be tricky to detect as it can not yet be included in the AV database. Therefore, to remove Gollum virus from your computer and avoid further damage you should download and install an anti-malware tool. We recommend using ReimageIntego for this process.

Another piece of advice is not to pay the ransom. Even if you are desperate – better don't. After the money is transferred, victims may not receive the promised decryption key and face only money loss. Additionally, some malware is capable of tracking users' activity on the infected machine, making the identity theft a more likely possibility. To avoid such damaging activity, perform Gollum ransomware removal as soon as you discover files with the .encrypted extension.

Moreover, when your files are locked up, and the system starts to struggle, Gollum cryptovirus also opens a path for other harmful threats. It might lead to another severe malware infection, such as crypto-miner, trojan horse or a keylogger. This is just another reason why you should get rid of the cyber threat as quickly as possible.

Gollum virusGollum is a ransomware-type virus which demands a particular price in order to receive a decryption tool. Avoid ransomware infections by being cautious

According to IT experts[3], ransomware is called a sneaky virus for a reason. These are the ways cryptovirus might infiltrate your PC system:

  • Fake updates. This ransomware seems to be actively distributed via fake Flash Player updates.
  • Spam emails. Another common distribution method. It comes like legitimate-looking content and tricks the victim into opening the harmful file attached or click on the malicious link.
  • Malicious websites. If you are careless enough and often visit file-sharing websites (such as torrent ones) and download executables or other files, the probability of infection increased drastically. Thus, avoid such domains. Besides, downloading cracked software is a criminal offense and could be punished by law.

To avoid ransomware infection, you need to remember a few things. First, always be careful and pay attention to every website you visit and make sure all the programs you download are legitimate. Although some emails might be placed in the spam box mistakenly, you should take extra care when you open any of them.

Get rid of Gollum ransomware and protect your computer

To remove Gollum virus from your computer system, you should rely on professional anti-malware software. We recommend downloading and installing ReimageIntego, SpyHunter 5Combo Cleaner, or Malwarebytes. It will display elimination instructions and help you get rid of the cyber threat successfully.

The complete Gollum removal process might take a while due to ransomware blocking security software in normal mode. In such case, reboot your PC and enter Safe Mode with Networking, as explained below. Only then you can proceed with recovery procedure – either get your files back from a backup or try third-party software that could help.

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What to do if failed?
If you failed to remove 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 Gollum virus. Follow these steps

Manual removal using Safe Mode

Use Safe Mode with Networking to disable the virus:

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 Gollum using System Restore

Stop the hazardous activity with the System Restore function:

  • 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 Gollum. 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 Gollum removal is performed successfully.

Bonus: Recover your data

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

If you have a ransomware infection in your system, then you should have noticed your encrypted files. In order to restore important data, look through the following methods.

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

Try using Data Recovery to get important data back

This professional tool could help you restore personal 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 Gollum ransomware;
  • Restore them.

Use Windows Previous Versions feature to decrypt data

Note that this method will work only if you have enabled the System Restore function before the cyber attack occured.

  • 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”.

Recover individual files with Shadow Explorer:

Try using this program if the virus did not delete Shadow Volume Copies.

  • 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.

No official Gollum ransomware decryptor has been created yet.

Finally, you should always think about the protection of crypto-ransomwares. In order to protect your computer from Gollum and other ransomwares, use a reputable anti-spyware, such as ReimageIntego, SpyHunter 5Combo Cleaner or Malwarebytes

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

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References