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Hc7 ransomware. How to remove? (Uninstall guide)

removal by Julie Splinters - - | Type: Ransomware

Hc7 ransomware started adding .PLANETARY file extension to the targeted data

Illustration of hc7 ransomware attack

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 m4zn0v@keemail.me 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 m4zn0v@keemail.me. However, security experts do not recommend following such orders.[1] Ransomware is already decryptable for free.[2] 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 m4zn0v@keemail.me.
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 Reimage.

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 – m4zn0v@keemail.me:

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 m4rk0v@tutanota.de
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[3] to download ransomware executable hc7.exe.bin.

Therefore, in order to avoid the attack,[4] 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[5] 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 Reimage, Plumbytes Anti-MalwareMalwarebytes Malwarebytes or Malwarebytes MalwarebytesCombo 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.

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What to do if failed?
If you failed to remove virus damage using Reimage, submit a question to our support team and provide as much details as possible.
Reimage is recommended to remove virus damage. Free scanner allows you to check whether your PC is infected or not. If you need to remove malware, you have to purchase the licensed version of Reimage malware removal tool.
Alternative Software
Different security software includes different virus database. If you didn’t succeed in finding malware with Reimage, try running alternative scan with Malwarebytes.
Alternative Software
Different security software includes different virus database. If you didn’t succeed in finding malware with Reimage, try running alternative scan with Combo Cleaner.

To remove hc7 virus, follow these steps:

Remove hc7 using Safe Mode with Networking

Booting to Safe Mode with Networking helps to uninstall hc7 automatically.

  • Step 1: Reboot your computer to Safe Mode with Networking

    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 Safe Mode with Networking from the list Select 'Safe Mode with Networking'

    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 Networking in Startup Settings window. Select 'Enable Safe Mode with Networking'
  • Step 2: Remove hc7

    Log in to your infected account and start the browser. Download Reimage or other legitimate anti-spyware program. Update it before a full system scan and remove malicious files that belong to your ransomware and complete hc7 removal.

If your ransomware is blocking Safe Mode with Networking, try further method.

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
    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 hc7. 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 Reimage and make sure that hc7 removal is performed successfully.

Bonus: Recover your data

Guide 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”.

Use ShadowExplorer

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.

hc7 decryptor

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 Reimage, Malwarebytes MalwarebytesCombo Cleaner or Plumbytes Anti-MalwareMalwarebytes Malwarebytes

About the author

Julie Splinters
Julie Splinters - Malware removal specialist

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References