Hairysquid ransomware (virus) - Recovery Instructions Included
Hairysquid virus Removal Guide
What is Hairysquid ransomware?
Hairysquid is a dangerous computer virus that locks users' personal files in Windows
If you do not have backups, ransomware can cause permanent data loss
Hairysquid ransomware is a file-locking virus that infects computers and encrypts users' personal files, such as photos, videos, and documents. It is a Mimic ransomware variant. The affected files are prefixed with the. Hairysquid extension. So if a file was previously named picture.jpg, after the encryption process is done, it looks like this – picture.jpg.Hairysquid.
The icons also change, preventing users from viewing the content even in preview mode. When users attempt to open the damaged files, a message appears stating that Windows is unable to open the file. Such an infection can be extremely damaging and result in permanent data loss, which is why it is critical to always keep backups.
|TYPE||Ransomware, cryptovirus, data locking malware|
|DISTRIBUTION||Infected email attachments, peer-to-peer file-sharing platforms, torrents, malicious ads|
|FILE RECOVERY||It is next to impossible to recover the files if you do not have backups or the decryption keys were not leaked; in some cases, recovery is successful with third-party software|
|ELIMINATION||Scan your machine with anti-malware software to eliminate the virus safely; this will not recover the locked files|
|SYSTEM FIX||You can avoid windows reinstallation with RestoroIntego maintenance tool, which can fix damaged files and system errors|
The ransom note
Hairysquid ransomware drops a ransom note named READ_ME_DECRYPTION_HAIRYSQUID.txt on the machine:
All your files have been encrypted with Our virus.
Your unique ID: –
You can buy fully decryption of your files
But before you pay, you can make sure that we can really decrypt any of your files.
The encryption key and ID are unique to your computer, so you are guaranteed to be able to return your files.
To do this:
1) Send your unique id – and max 3 files for test decryption
1.1)TOX messenger (fast and anonimous)
press sing up
create your own name
Put there my tox ID
And add me/write message
ICQ live chat which works 24/7 – @Hairysquid
Install ICQ software on your PC here hxxps://icq.com/windows/ or on your smartphone search for “ICQ” in Appstore / Google market
Write to our ICQ @Hairysquid hxxps://icq.im/Hairysquid
1.4)Mail (write only in critical situations bcs your email may not be delivered or get in spam)
In subject line please write your decryption ID: –
2) After decryption, we will send you the decrypted files and a unique bitcoin wallet for payment.
3) After payment ransom for Bitcoin, we will send you a decryption program and instructions. If we can decrypt your files, we have no reason to deceive you after payment.
Can I get a discount?
No. The ransom amount is calculated based on the number of encrypted office files and discounts are not provided. All such messages will be automatically ignored. If you really only want some of the files, zip them and upload them somewhere. We will decode them for free as proof.
What is Bitcoin?
Where to buy bitcoins?
hxxps://www.alfa.cash/buy-crypto-with-credit-card (fastest way)
or use google.com to find information where to buy it
Where is the guarantee that I will receive my files back?
The very fact that we can decrypt your random files is a guarantee. It makes no sense for us to deceive you.
How quickly will I receive the key and decryption program after payment?
As a rule, during 15 min
How does the decryption program work?
It's simple. You need to run our software. The program will automatically decrypt all encrypted files on your HDD.
The note includes instructions on how to contact the hackers and pay the ransom. However, victims should not pay the ransom because there is no guarantee that even after payment, the hackers will provide the decryption key. Furthermore, paying the ransom encourages the hackers to continue their illegal activities and may expose the victim to future attacks. The victim should notify law enforcement of the attack instead.
It is very dangerous to trust cybercriminals and pay them
Most ransomware is spread via an executable file (.exe) that may have been in a zip folder, embedded within the macros of a Microsoft Office document, or disguised as a fax or other viable attachment. This is usually due to user error and a lack of awareness of security risks.
Many people enjoy using unsafe download sites and installing “cracked” software. Torrent sites, peer-to-peer file-sharing networks, and freeware platforms are ideal breeding grounds for all types of malware. It is impossible to know whether the program you are installing is safe when using these sites. Use official web stores and developer websites whenever possible. Even though it may be costly, keeping your system running smoothly may save you money in the long run.
Social engineering is also used by cybercriminals to spread malicious programs. They frequently disguise malware as a legitimate and “useful” program. Crooks can also create emails that appear to be urgent messages from well-known companies. Typically, they will include a malicious link or an infected attachment that, when opened, will launch the infection.
Another common way for users to become infected with ransomware is by failing to install the most recent security patches for their operating system and software. Threat actors can use software flaws to deliver malicious programs. To avoid this, software developers release updates on a regular basis.
Start the removal process
The most critical step is to disconnect the affected machine from the local network. Disconnecting the ethernet cable should suffice for home users. If this occurred at your workplace, doing so may be difficult; therefore, we have instructions for corporate environments at the bottom of this post.
Attempting to recover your data first may result in permanent loss. It also has the ability to encrypt your files a second time. It will not stop until you remove the malicious files that are causing it. Unless you have prior experience, you should not attempt to remove the malicious program yourself.
Use anti-malware tools like SpyHunter 5Combo Cleaner or Malwarebytes to scan your system. This security software should find all the related files and entries and remove them automatically for you. In some cases, malware is not letting you use antivirus in normal mode, so you need to access Safe Mode and perform a full system scan from there:
Windows 7 / Vista / XP
- Click Start > Shutdown > Restart > OK.
- 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.
- Select Safe Mode with Networking from the list.
Windows 10 / Windows 8
- Right-click on Start button and select Settings.
- Scroll down to pick Update & Security.
- On the left side of the window, pick Recovery.
- Now scroll down to find Advanced Startup section.
- Click Restart now.
- Select Troubleshoot.
- Go to Advanced options.
- Select Startup Settings.
- Click Restart.
- Press 5 or click 5) Enable Safe Mode with Networking.
Repair a damaged operating system
Malware infections can have serious consequences on the performance, stability, and usability of a computer system. Once a computer is infected, it can alter the Windows registry database, damage critical bootup and other system files, delete or corrupt important DLL files, and cause a host of other issues. These infections can be particularly frustrating as they can make the computer nearly unusable and often require a complete Windows reinstall to fix.
Antivirus software is often unable to repair the damage caused by malware infections, leaving the user with few options for restoring their computer to a usable state. However, RestoroIntego was developed to address this issue. This maintenance tool is designed to fix many of the problems caused by malware infections, including Blue Screen errors, freezes, registry errors, and damaged DLLs.
It is a powerful tool that can help users avoid the need for a Windows reinstallation by repairing damaged system files and restoring the system to a usable state. By using it, users can avoid the time-consuming and often frustrating process of reinstalling Windows, saving them time and money while also ensuring that their computer is running at peak performance.
Try recovering data with third-party software
Only hackers have the decryption key that can unlock your files, so if you did not back them up beforehand, you may have lost them forever. You can try using data recovery software, but it is not always possible for third-party programs to decrypt the files. We recommend that you at least try this method. Before proceeding, you must copy the corrupted files to a USB flash drive or another storage device. Remember, you should only do this if you've already removed the Hairysquid ransomware.
Before you begin, several pointers are important while dealing with this situation:
- Since the encrypted data on your computer might permanently be damaged by security or data recovery software, you should first make backups of it – use a USB flash drive or another storage.
- Only attempt to recover your files using this method after you perform a scan with anti-malware software.
Install data recovery software
- Download Data Recovery Pro.
- Double-click the installer to launch it.
- Follow on-screen instructions to install the software.
- As soon as you press Finish, you can use the app.
- Select Everything or pick individual folders where you want the files to be recovered from.
- Press Next.
- At the bottom, enable Deep scan and pick which Disks you want to be scanned.
- Press Scan and wait till it is complete.
- You can now pick which folders/files to recover – don't forget you also have the option to search by the file name!
- Press Recover to retrieve your files.
Getting rid of Hairysquid virus. Follow these steps
Isolate the infected computer
Some ransomware strains aim to infect not only one computer but hijack the entire network. As soon as one of the machines is infected, malware can spread via network and encrypt files everywhere else, including Network Attached Storage (NAS) devices. If your computer is connected to a network, it is important to isolate it to prevent re-infection after ransomware removal is complete.
The easiest way to disconnect a PC from everything is simply to plug out the ethernet cable. However, in the corporate environment, this might be extremely difficult to do (also would take a long time). The method below will disconnect from all the networks, including local and the internet, isolating each of the machines involved.
- Type in Control Panel in Windows search and press Enter
- Go to Network and Internet
- Click Network and Sharing Center
- On the left, pick Change adapter settings
- Right-click on your connection (for example, Ethernet), and select Disable
- Confirm with Yes.
If you are using some type of cloud storage you are connected to, you should disconnect from it immediately. It is also advisable to disconnect all the external devices, such as USB flash sticks, external HDDs, etc. Once the malware elimination process is finished, you can connect your computers to the network and internet, as explained above, but by pressing Enable instead.
Find a working decryptor for your files
File encryption is a process that is similar to applying a password to a particular file or folder. However, from a technical point of view, encryption is fundamentally different due to its complexity. By using encryption, threat actors use a unique set of alphanumeric characters as a password that can not easily be deciphered if the process is performed correctly.
There are several algorithms that can be used to lock data (whether for good or bad reasons); for example, AES uses the symmetric method of encryption, meaning that the key used to lock and unlock files is the same. Unfortunately, it is only accessible to the attackers who hold it on a remote server – they ask for a payment in exchange for it. This simple principle is what allows ransomware authors to prosper in this illegal business.
While many high-profile ransomware strains such as Djvu or Dharma use immaculate encryption methods, there are plenty of failures that can be observed within the code of some novice malware developers. For example, the keys could be stored locally, which would allow users to regain access to their files without paying. In some cases, ransomware does not even encrypt files due to bugs, although victims might believe the opposite due to the ransom note that shows up right after the infection and data encryption is completed.
Therefore, regardless of which crypto-malware affects your files, you should try to find the relevant decryptor if such exists. Security researchers are in a constant battle against cybercriminals. In some cases, they manage to create a working decryption tool that would allow victims to recover files for free.
Once you have identified which ransomware you are affected by, you should check the following links for a decryptor:
- No More Ransom Project
- Free Ransomware Decryptors by Kaspersky
- Free Ransomware Decryption Tools from Emsisoft
- Avast decryptors
If you can't find a decryptor that works for you, you should try the alternative methods we list below. Additionally, it is worth mentioning that it sometimes takes years for a working decryption tool to be developed, so there are always hopes for the future.
Create data backups to avoid file loss in the future
One of the many countermeasures for home users against ransomware is data backups. Even if your Windows get corrupted, you can reinstall everything from scratch and retrieve files from backups with minimal losses overall. Most importantly, you would not have to pay cybercriminals and risk your money as well.
Therefore, if you have already dealt with a ransomware attack, we strongly advise you to prepare backups for future use. There are two options available to you:
- Backup on a physical external drive, such as a USB flash drive or external HDD.
- Use cloud storage services.
The first method is not that convenient, however, as backups need to constantly be updated manually – although it is very reliable. Therefore, we highly advise choosing cloud storage instead – it is easy to set up and efficient to sustain. The problem with it is that storage space is limited unless you want to pay for the subscription.
Using Microsoft OneDrive
OneDrive is a built-in tool that comes with every modern Windows version. By default, you get 5 GB of storage that you can use for free. You can increase that storage space, but for a price. Here's how to setup backups for OneDrive:
- Click on the OneDrive icon within your system tray.
- Select Help & Settings > Settings.
- If you don't see your email under the Account tab, you should click Add an account and proceed with the on-screen instructions to set yourself up.
- Once done, move to the Backup tab and click Manage backup.
- Select Desktop, Documents, and Pictures, or a combination of whichever folders you want to backup.
- Press Start backup.
After this, all the files that are imported into the above-mentioned folders will be automatically backed for you. If you want to add other folders or files, you have to do that manually. For that, open File Explorer by pressing Win + E on your keyboard, and then click on the OneDrive icon. You should drag and drop folders you want to backup (or you can use Copy/Paste as well).
Using Google Drive
Google Drive is another great solution for free backups. The good news is that you get as much as 15GB for free by choosing this storage. There are also paid versions available, with significantly more storage to choose from.
You can access Google Drive via the web browser or use a desktop app you can download on the official website. If you want your files to be synced automatically, you will have to download the app, however.
- Download the Google Drive app installer and click on it.
- Wait a few seconds for it to be installed.
- Now click the arrow within your system tray – you should see Google Drive icon there, click it once.
- Click Get Started.
- Enter all the required information – your email/phone, and password.
- Now pick what you want to sync and backup. You can click on Choose Folder to add additional folders to the list.
- Once done, pick Next.
- Now you can select to sync items to be visible on your computer.
- Finally, press Start and wait till the sync is complete. Your files are now being backed up.
Report the incident to your local authorities
Ransomware is a huge business that is highly illegal, and authorities are very involved in catching malware operators. To have increased chances of identifying the culprits, the agencies need information. Therefore, by reporting the crime, you could help with stopping the cybercriminal activities and catching the threat actors. Make sure you include all the possible details, including how did you notice the attack, when it happened, etc. Additionally, providing documents such as ransom notes, examples of encrypted files, or malware executables would also be beneficial.
Law enforcement agencies typically deal with online fraud and cybercrime, although it depends on where you live. Here is the list of local authority groups that handle incidents like ransomware attacks, sorted by country:
- USA – Internet Crime Complaint Center IC3
- United Kingdom – ActionFraud
- Canada – Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre
- Australia – ScamWatch
- New Zealand – ConsumerProtection
- Germany – Polizei
- France – Ministère de l'Intérieur
If your country is not listed above, you should contact the local police department or communications center.
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.
- ^ Key (cryptography). Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
- ^ Georgina Torbet. 5 Security Reasons Not to Download Cracked Software. Makeuseof. Technology Blog.
- ^ Andrew Kalafut. A study of malware in peer-to-peer networks. Researchgate. Scientific Papers.