Remove HACKED ransomware / virus (Sep 2017 update) - Easy Removal Guide

removal by Linas Kiguolis - - | Type: Ransomware

HACKED virus Removal Guide

What is HACKED ransomware virus?

HACKED virus – a Jigsaw version – returns in a new form

Image of the Hacked virus

HACKED virus originates from Jigsaw ransomware family. In December 2016, it came as a screenlocker and appending file extensions. As you may already know, it is not the first time Jigsaw developers are trying their luck with new ransomware versions. CryptoHitman virus, Payransom virus and Payms virus are just a few variants of the virus that the malware analysts have discovered.

Recently, malware researchers have identified its latest version which adds .hacked file extension to the affected data. Interestingly, the malware also presents several ransom notes in different languages: Italian[1], English, Spanish, and Turkish.

The ransom note differs depending on the language, e.g. @readme_English.txt[2]. Unfortunately, the developers managed to wrap the malware in a disguise of Windows update. If you suspect the presence of this malware, make a rush to remove HACKED ransomware. ReimageIntego or Malwarebytes will save your time in dealing with the infection.

How the original version works

It turns out that this new variant of the virus has been obfuscated via AutoIt – a free Windows scripting tool [3]. The first traces of the malware were detected before December last year. Since then, the malware has been changing its veneer — lock screen images and payment GUI. Here is an extract from a prevalent version of the virus.

Your computer has been encrypted
You must pay .25 Bitcoins within 24 hours
Or .35 after 24 hours
To get your files back
After 48 hour your computer will be destroyed if you have not paid
HACKED
Your Bitcoin payment address is:
[Bitcoin_payment_address]

As you can see, the developers have become extensively more aggressive, putting the victim under deadlines and threatening to “destroy” not only the encrypted computer files but the device itself. The hackers don’t go into much detail about how this payment should be issued and how the decryption tool (if there is one) will be delivered to the victim.

In addition to the lockscreen, HACKED ransomware automatically connects the victim to a malicious URL with more detailed ransom payment instructions. The good news is, an access to the browser may help remove the lock screen and access your desktop.

On the other hand, the files remain encrypted even if the screenlock command is deactivated. Unfortunately, there is no guarantee that the promised data decryption key will be granted to you either, that is why we suggest carrying out the HACKED removal without any delay. We suggest using automatic antivirus software like ReimageIntego for this process to go as smooth as possible.

Another interesting feature that has changed in the HACKED version is the addition of .locked and .Locked extensions. These new extension variants add to .versiegelt, .encrypted and .payrmts [4] ones that have already been used by the previous Jigsaw versions.

Could these new extensions be regarded as an allusion to Locky virus, which was the first one to introduce them? Could Jigsaw and Locky ransomware be joining forces? The experts are yet unsure. Nonetheless, they are certain that the sooner Hacked removal is completed the better.

Update September 2017: the latest version impersonates Windows update

The latest edition exhibits an interesting feature to impersonate Windows update. The malware also presents random note in different versions. Unfortunately, the felons did a good job counterfeiting the update as the screen looks identical to the real one.

However, there are minor flaws which indicate the malicious origin of the update. The entire process takes place in a new window. Note that the logo of your Windows version is absent as well. For instance, in case of a genuine update, you should see the percent indicator and the logo of your used OS, e.g. Windows 7 Professional or Home. Interestingly, this latest version of HACKED also displays a tendency to occupy only Windows 7 systems.

For instance, in case of a genuine update, you should see the percent indicator and the logo of your used OS, e.g. Windows 7 Professional or Home.

Interestingly, this latest version of HACKED also displays a tendency to occupy only Windows 7 systems. Unfortunately, the malware still evades multiple security applications. At the moment, it is identified as Win32.Malware.Bucaspys.C and UDS:DangerousObject.Multi.Generic[5]. The malware also drops How_to_decrypt_files.txt file.

However, installing latest anti-virus updates may significantly lower the probability of a hijack. If you notice its Hk Inc file, hacked.exe running in the Task Manger or the discussed update window, reboot the system and initiate HACKED elimination procedure. The sample of HACKED ransomwareHACKED initiates fake Windows update process. Note that the genuine update does not occur in a a new window

Ransomware revives its distribution campaign

Observing its specifications, it is likely to travel via malicious spam campaigns, corrupt ads or infected links like most infections in this category [6]. Potential victims receive this virus in their email as Word document, spreadsheet or PDF file. Unaware of the potential dangers, users download these files in hopes to find the promised invoice information, legal document or other supposedly important content.

As soon as such email attachments are downloaded and opened, the malicious script does its job and downloads HACKED crypto-malware on the computer. Of course, data backups [7] are always a good solution and most of the time guarantees a successful file recovery in case the computer gets corrupted.

Ways to eradicate HACKED malware

Discussing HACKED removal options, unfortunately, few of them remain. Unless you are an IT expert, manual elimination might be futile as the infection roots in the system. Update your security application and run the scan. In case you cannot exit the lock screen (press ALT+F4) or launch the tool, restart the system in Safe Mode.

Then, you should be able to remove HACKED virus and its components. Note that data recovery would be effective only when you eliminate the crypto-virus entirely.

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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 HACKED 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.

Remove HACKED using System Restore

In case the first method does not seem convenient, perform System Restore.

  • 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 HACKED. 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 HACKED removal is performed successfully.

Bonus: Recover your data

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

What is Data Recovery Pro?

In case your system crashed and some of your files got damaged, this tool might be one of the best options. Dealing with HACKED malware, it may not be the best choice. On the other hand, it might succeed in restoring some of the 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 HACKED ransomware;
  • Restore them.

The usefulness of Shadow Explorer

This program uses shadow volume copies to create the copies of the original files. There is no information that the malware deletes these copies so you may succeed in retrieving some of the affected documents and files.

  • 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.

Make use of Jigsaw Decrypter to unlock files with .hacked extension

Since it is a derivative version of Jigsaw malware, you may benefit from the decrypter created for the original version. Note that the latest version might be immune to this software.

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

How to prevent from getting ransomware

Choose a proper web browser and improve your safety with a VPN tool

Online spying has got momentum in recent years and people are getting more and more interested in how to protect their privacy online. One of the basic means to add a layer of security – choose the most private and secure web browser. Although web browsers can't grant full privacy protection and security, some of them are much better at sandboxing, HTTPS upgrading, active content blocking, tracking blocking, phishing protection, and similar privacy-oriented features. However, if you want true anonymity, we suggest you employ a powerful Private Internet Access VPN – it can encrypt all the traffic that comes and goes out of your computer, preventing tracking completely.

 

Lost your files? Use data recovery software

While some files located on any computer are replaceable or useless, others can be extremely valuable. Family photos, work documents, school projects – these are types of files that we don't want to lose. Unfortunately, there are many ways how unexpected data loss can occur: power cuts, Blue Screen of Death errors, hardware failures, crypto-malware attack, or even accidental deletion.

To ensure that all the files remain intact, you should prepare regular data backups. You can choose cloud-based or physical copies you could restore from later in case of a disaster. If your backups were lost as well or you never bothered to prepare any, Data Recovery Pro can be your only hope to retrieve your invaluable files.

About the author
Linas Kiguolis
Linas Kiguolis - Expert in social media

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