Hc7 ransomware started adding .PLANETARY file extension to the targeted data
Hc7 is a ransomware-type cyber threat that is a version of the decryptable hc6 virus. However, this cyber threat was updated several times too. Currently, malware applies a combination of AES-256 CBC and SHA256 encryption ciphers and appends .GOTYA, .QUILT, .DS335 or PLANETARY file extensions.
Due to the appended file extension, malware is also known as GOTYA ransomware virus. Malware is written in Python and has been noticed spreading via Remote Desktop services that can be accessed publicly. After infiltration, hc7 ransomware starts data encryption and provides data recovery instructions in RECOVERY.txt file.
The ransom note tells to contact hackers via email@example.com and choose one of the two recovery options:
- restore files on one computer from $700 in Bitcoins;
- decrypt the whole network for $5.000 in Bitcoins.
The previous version of the virus did not offer a possibility to decrypt files on only one computer. Additionally, the sum of network’s decryption was doubled as well. Further instructions did not change.
Questions about hc7 ransomware
Once the payment is made, victims have to send their unique ID number to firstname.lastname@example.org. However, security experts do not recommend following such orders. Ransomware is already decryptable for free. Thus, users can restore files as soon as they eliminate the virus.
ALL YOUR FILES WERE ENCRYPTED.
ORDER, TO RESTORE THIS FILE, YOU MUST SEND $700 BTC for MASCHINE OR $5,000 BTC FOR ALL NETWORK
[Bitcoin wallet address] AFTER PAYMENT SENT EMAIL email@example.com.
FOR INSTALLATION FOR DECRIPT
NOT TO TURN OFF YOUR COMPUTER, UNLESS IT WILL BREAK
Even though crooks in the ransom note tell not to turn off the computer, you should still reboot to Safe Mode with Networking in order to perform the hc7 removal. Restarting the PC helps to disable the virus and install malware removal software. We recommend cleaning your computer and whole network with ReimageIntego.
hc7 ransomware delivers a ransom note as soon as data encryption is over. Victims are offered to decrypt single computer or the whole network.
HC7 Planetary ransomware allows paying the ransom in Bitcoins, Monero or Ethereum
Collecting ransoms in Bitcoins is a traditional strategy used by the developers of ransomware. However, the recent version of Hc7 malware expanded possibilities to pay in other cryptocurrencies, such as Monero or Ethereum.
.Planetary file virus has been noticed in January 2018 spreading via hacked networks. Thus, authors of the hc7 virus did not change their distribution strategy yet. Just like the name of the crypto-malware suggests, it adds .PLANETARY file extension to make files inaccessible.
Data recovery instructions are provided in the RECOVER.txt file where criminals provide the same contact email address – firstname.lastname@example.org:
ALL FILES ARE ENCRYPTED.
TO RESTORE, YOU MUST SEND $700 EQUIVALENT FOR ONE COMPUTER
OR $5,000 FOR ALL NETWORK
PAYMENTS ACCEPTED VIA BITCOIN, MONERO AND ETHEREUM
BTC ADDRESS: [bitcoin_address]
MONERO (XMR) ADDRESS: [monero_address]
CONTACT US WHEN ETHEREUM PAYMENT INFORMATION
BEFORE PAYMENT SENT EMAIL email@example.com
ALONG WITH YOUR IDENTITY: [base64_encoded_computer_name]
INCLUDE SAMPLE ENCRYPTED FILE FOR PROOF OF DECRYPT
NOT TO SHUT OFF YOUR COMPUTER, UNLESS IT WILL BREAK
Security experts recommend not to follow these orders and do not pay the ransom. Instead of them, remove Planetary ransomware from the computer with reputable malware removal software and try to recover files using other more secure methods.
Malware spread via compromised networks
As you already know, the cyber attack is held by hacking poorly protected or public remote desktop services. Once it is hacked, criminals use PsExec to download ransomware executable hc7.exe.bin.
Therefore, in order to avoid the attack, it’s important to strengthen networks’ protection:
- setting a firewall;
- using VPN connection instead of direct connection to the Internet;
- installing professional security software.
In addition, security specialists from SenzaVirus suggest, investing in employees education. Teaching about cyber security, social engineering and giving tips on how to spot malicious email attachments help to minimize the risk of the ransomware attack.
Additionally, ransomware might also be spread via malicious spam emails. The latter method is widely used by cyber criminals to aim at companies or organizations to compromise their networks.
Clever social engineering techniques allow tricking users into opening a malicious email attachment that might look like invoice, statement or other serious documents. Due to ransomware’s operation, if one computer gets infected, malware starts spreading via the whole network.
Delete Hc7 ransomware from the computer and recover your files
The only correct and safe way to remove hc7 ransomware is to use reputable malware removal software, such as ReimageIntego, Malwarebytes or SpyHunter 5Combo Cleaner. Security software is capable of identifying and deleting all malware-related components, files and processes. Meanwhile, to do this task manually is really hard and not recommended if you are not an experienced IT specialist.
However, hc7 removal might require booting the system into Safe Mode with Networking. This step is needed if ransomware blocks access to security software and you cannot run the system scan. You can find the detailed guide below.
To remove hc7 virus, follow these steps:
Manual hc7 removal using Safe Mode
Booting to Safe Mode with Networking helps to uninstall hc7 automatically.
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
- 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.
- Press Restart.
- Now press 5 or click 5) Enable Safe Mode with Networking.
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:
- Press Ctrl + Shift + Esc on your keyboard to open Windows Task Manager.
- Click on More details.
- Scroll down to Background processes section, and look for anything suspicious.
- Right-click and select Open file location.
- Go back to the process, right-click and pick End Task.
- Delete the contents of the malicious folder.
Step 3. Check program Startup
- Press Ctrl + Shift + Esc on your keyboard to open Windows Task Manager.
- Go to Startup tab.
- 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:
- Type in Disk Cleanup in Windows search and press Enter.
- 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).
- Scroll through the Files to delete list and select the following:
Temporary Internet Files
- Pick Clean up system files.
- 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 hc7 using System Restore
If the previous method did not help to run malware removal tool, follow these steps:
Step 1: Reboot your computer to Safe Mode with Command Prompt
Windows 7 / Vista / XP
- Click Start → Shutdown → Restart → OK.
- When your computer becomes active, start pressing F8 multiple times until you see the Advanced Boot Options window.
- Select Command Prompt from the list
Windows 10 / Windows 8
- Press the Power button at the Windows login screen. Now press and hold Shift, which is on your keyboard, and click Restart..
- Now select Troubleshoot → Advanced options → Startup Settings and finally press Restart.
- Once your computer becomes active, select Enable Safe Mode with Command Prompt in Startup Settings window.
Step 2: Restore your system files and settings
- Once the Command Prompt window shows up, enter cd restore and click Enter.
- Now type rstrui.exe and press Enter again..
- When a new window shows up, click Next and select your restore point that is prior the infiltration of hc7. After doing that, click Next.
- Now click Yes to start system restore.
Bonus: Recover your dataGuide which is presented above is supposed to help you remove hc7 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 hc7, you can use several methods to restore them:
Try Data Recovery to restore files with .GOTYA extension
This software helps to recover various corrupted files. Thus, it might be helpful after ransomware attack as well if the decryptor does not work.
- 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 hc7 ransomware;
- Restore them.
Try Windows Previous Versions method
This Windows feature might be useful if you need to get back only a few crucial files. However, in order to take advantage of it, System Restore should have been enabled before the attack.
- 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”.
If ransomware did not delete Shadow Volume Copies, you should try ShadowExplorer for data recovery.
- 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.
You can download a free decryption software from here.
Finally, you should always think about the protection of crypto-ransomwares. In order to protect your computer from hc7 and other ransomwares, use a reputable anti-spyware, such as ReimageIntego, SpyHunter 5Combo Cleaner or Malwarebytes
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Data backups are important – recover your lost files
Ransomware is one of the biggest threats to personal data. Once it is executed on a machine, it launches a sophisticated encryption algorithm that locks all your files, although it does not destroy them. The most common misconception is that anti-malware software can return files to their previous states. This is not true, however, and data remains locked after the malicious payload is deleted.
While regular data backups are the only secure method to recover your files after a ransomware attack, tools such as Data Recovery Pro can also be effective and restore at least some of your lost data.