Havoc ransomware / virus (Virus Removal Guide) - Bonus: Decryption Steps

Havoc virus Removal Guide

What is Havoc ransomware virus?

Havoc ransomware seems to be developed by a narcissist

Havoc virus is a typical ransomware virus; however, it appears to be developed by a programmer who loves to exalt himself. The ransomware is set to encode files stored on victim’s computer, and a close analysis shows that the author of this particular malicious program reveals a little background in the description of the virus. According to the Havoc ransomware author, which presents itself as BinaryEmperor and claims to be from a company called Royal Binarys(as much as we know, virus’ authors are not related to Royal-Binary scams[1], the program “will bring Havoc to your PC.” The original file name of the malicious executable[2] is Havoc.exe. The virus starts scanning the system as soon as it enters it and what it looks for is valuable data stored on the system. The program has a target list, which it uses to recognize files and mark them as files to encrypt.

Once the program finishes scanning the system and encrypting the files, it launches a ransom note[3] in a back window. We must point out that the virus appends ._Ink.HavocCrypt file extensions to encrypted files, whereas some researchers falsely claim that it adds .HavocCrypt extensions. The ransom note, which is called Havoc Ransomware | MK II, presents requirements that the victim has to fulfil in order to get the data recovery software. According to the note, victims want to receive $150 in 48 hours, otherwise, they threaten to delete the unique decryption key that is essential in data recovery process. The victim is asked to pay the ransom in Bitcoins and then write to HavocPayday@sigaint.org to receive the Havoc decryption key. Then the victim needs to enter the decryption key in the program that displays the ransom note and then files should be decrypted.

Picture of Havoc ransomware note

However, understand that this is the best scenario. In reality, cybercriminals’ email can be shut down at any time and even after paying you might not be able to contact criminals, which means you will never receive the decryption key. What is more, criminals might not be willing to send you the decryption key at all. Therefore, we suggest you remove Havoc malware with anti-spyware or anti-malware programs like FortectIntego or SpyHunter 5Combo Cleaner and then import data copies from a backup drive to your computer. If you cannot remove the virus for some reason, please carefully read Havoc ransomware removal instructions that are given down below.

Dissemination methods

Knowledge about ransomware operation tricks is vital, but it is also important to understand how such malware spreads. In most cases, criminals employ the traditional ransomware distribution method – malspam[4] (malware spam). They create various trustworthy-looking emails and attach malicious files to them, hoping that the target will open them. If the victim opens such files, the computer gets infected with Havoc crypto-ransomware instantly. However, another trick that helps to convince victims to open malicious files is software bundling. So, you have to be aware of fake software updates that are often pushed via shady third-party websites. In most cases, dishonest sites urge users to install fake Flash, Java, or other well-known software updates[5] even if the computer doesn’t need them at all. Think twice before installing unknown free programs, too – they can be dangerous!

How can I remove Havoc malware?

Ransomware always wreaks havoc on victim’s computer, and Havoc virus is no different. This virus aims to extort money from miserable computer users, and sadly, it uses quite advanced encryption method and other technologies that can prevent malware researchers from creating a free decryption tool. We suggest you stay up-to-date with the latest news and be patient because Havoc decrypter might be released in the future. In the meantime, you must remove Havoc virus and make sure that a similar virus never gets to enter your computer system again. Havoc removal tutorial is presented below, as well as some data recovery tips.

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What to do if failed?
If you failed to fix virus damage using Fortect Intego, submit a question to our support team and provide as much details as possible.
Fortect Intego has a free limited scanner. Fortect 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 Fortect, 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 Havoc 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.
  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.
  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.

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
    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):


After you are finished, reboot the PC in normal mode.

Remove Havoc using 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 Havoc. 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 FortectIntego and make sure that Havoc removal is performed successfully.

Bonus: Recover your data

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

If your files have been compromised and you no longer can access them, you have two options:

  1. Pay the ransom and expect cyber criminals to contact you;
  2. Remove Havoc virus and use a backup or data recovery techniques to restore lost files. (Highly recommended)

If you have a backup, just remove the virus and then plug the backup device into the PC to transfer the data. Otherwise, remove the virus and try these data recovery solutions:

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

Data Recovery Pro

Data Recovery Pro is a reliable data recovery tool that helps to restore lost, corrupted, or deleted files. It might help you to restore files encrypted by HavocCrypt virus.

  • 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 Havoc ransomware;
  • Restore them.

Use ShadowExplorer

ShadowExplorer is a software that helps to fetch down Volume Shadow Copies, which can replace encrypted file copies with previous file versions.

  • 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.

Finally, you should always think about the protection of crypto-ransomwares. In order to protect your computer from Havoc and other ransomwares, use a reputable anti-spyware, such as FortectIntego, 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
Olivia Morelli
Olivia Morelli - Ransomware analyst

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