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Remove HiddenTear 2.0 ransomware / virus (Bonus: Decryption Steps) - updated Mar 2017

removal by Julie Splinters - -   Also known as HiddenTear | Type: Ransomware

How active is Hidden Tear ransomware?

HiddenTear ransomware virus is not your usual ransomware infection. It is a proof-of-concept ransomware which was introduced by Turkish IT specialist Utku Sen for educational purposes. In the beginning of its appearance, this malware was infecting computers just to teach their owners a lesson about cyber security. However, just like any other tool, it got into crooks’ hands and now can lead its victims into serous troubles. The latest its version, which requires 0.05 Bitcoin, or $60, is called Digisom ransomware virus. It appends [3_random_characters].x file extension and disables the target files. HiddenTear virus has also been linked to Educrypt ransomware which was one of the first educational ransomware releases. However, now it seems that its name was changed to CerberTear virus that appends .cerber file extension to each of affected files. This educational ransomware seems to be almost identical to Cerber virus, so make sure you follow removal steps that are given in its guide if infected with this cyber threat.

Essentially, the ransomware works very similarly to its predecessor. It infiltrates the system disguised as a legitimate application and blocks access to the user’s files by encrypting them. The encrypted files can be recognized from the unusual extension .isis added instead of the usual ones. Then, this malware drops a “ransom” note, just like the regular ransomware virus would do. This note does not require the victim to pay for the locked files or threaten to delete them if the ransom is not paid in time. However, if you thought that HiddenTear removal can recover your files, you are wrong. The README.txt file features a message that goes something along these lines:

Well hello there, seems you have a virus! Well you are going to get the decryptor which is here http://www.filedropper(.)com/decrypter_1 Don’t Download Random Sh*t On The Internet A Hidden .txt File Has Been Created With The Decrypt Password! Find It!..

HiddenTear image
An image showing a warning message of the HiddenTear 2.0 ransomware. Skypetool.exe is the main file used to spread it on the Internet

The file you are looking for is called “DecryptPassword.txt”, and you may easily find it in My Documents folder. The decryption tool has been tested, and it appears to be fully functional. After running it, the files on the computer are encrypted, and the virus eliminates itself from the system. Can you consider yourself lucky if you have been infected with HiddenTear ransomware? Yes and no. In a way, you are lucky because you did not lose your files or money to a malicious virus. On the other hand, this infection is a reminder that your behavior online is rather questionable, and you can contaminate your computer with more serious infections if you do not change your bad habits. So, if you have already decided to remove HiddenTear virus from your computer, do not hesitate from scanning your computer with some reputable antivirus utility just to make sure your computer is free from viruses. We recommend running a scan with Reimage Reimage Cleaner Intego.

How can I get infected?

HiddenTear ransomware virus has been spread hidden under the fake Skype application called the “skypetool.exe.” This tool can be distributed on malicious websites disguised as a software update, lottery winning announcement or a download button. The malicious file can also access your system through deceptive email attachments in which it may be presented as an invoice information, speeding ticket or other supposedly important document. If accidentally downloaded this software, you should not ignore it and hurry to remove it from your device. Even if the current version of the virus is not malicious, cyber criminals may easily modify it and stop giving away the decryption key that easily.

HiddenTear ransomware removal from the system

As we have already pointed out previously, you can remove HiddenTear 2.0 and other educational ransomware using a special tool offered by the creators of this eduware. If, for some reason, this tool does not work, it might be that you are dealing with malware which has a different aim. In this case, you can use Reimage Reimage Cleaner Intego, SpyHunter 5Combo Cleaner or some other professional antivirus software to remove malicious files from your computer. HiddenTear removal requires installing the tool, updating it to the full version and running a full system scan. In case the virus has evolved, you can use steps below to disable it. Make sure you try both methods to block ransomware and initiate a full HiddenTear 2.0 removal.

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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.

To remove HiddenTear 2.0 virus, follow these steps:

Remove HiddenTear 2.0 using Safe Mode with Networking

If HiddenTear has been blocking you to prevent its removal, try disabling it by rebooting your computer to Safe Mode with Networking first. Then, run a full system scan.

  • 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 HiddenTear 2.0

    Log in to your infected account and start the browser. Download Reimage Reimage Cleaner Intego or other legitimate anti-spyware program. Update it before a full system scan and remove malicious files that belong to your ransomware and complete HiddenTear 2.0 removal.

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

Remove HiddenTear 2.0 using System Restore

If Safe Mode does not help to overcome HiddenTear attack, you should try System Restore method. For that, use the following 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 HiddenTear 2.0. 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 Reimage Cleaner Intego and make sure that HiddenTear 2.0 removal is performed successfully.

Bonus: Recover your data

Guide which is presented above is supposed to help you remove HiddenTear 2.0 from your computer. To recover your encrypted files, we recommend using a detailed guide prepared by security experts.

If your files are encrypted by HiddenTear 2.0, you can use several methods to restore them:

Use Data Recovery Pro to recover files encrypted by HiddenTear ransomware

If your files are encrypted by HiddenTear, you can use Data Recovery Pro to recover them. For that, use the steps given below:

  • 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 HiddenTear 2.0 ransomware;
  • Restore them.

Use ShadowExplorer to decrypt files encrypted by HiddenTear virus

This proof-of-concept ransomware has been failing to remove Shadow Volume copies of its target files. If these copies are available on your computer, you can use ShadowExplorer to recover your files.

  • Download Shadow Explorer (;
  • 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.

Use HiddenTear decrypter presented by Avast. You can install this tool for recovering your encrypted files from here.

Finally, you should always think about the protection of crypto-ransomwares. In order to protect your computer from HiddenTear 2.0 and other ransomwares, use a reputable anti-spyware, such as Reimage Reimage Cleaner Intego, SpyHunter 5Combo Cleaner or Malwarebytes

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. It is a hassle when your website is protected from suspicious connections and unauthorized IP addresses.

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 server or network manager that need to monitor connections and activities. This is how you bypass some of the authentications factors and can remotely use your banking accounts without triggering suspicious with each login. 

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. It is better to clock the access to your website from different IP addresses. So you can keep the project safe and secure when you have the dedicated IP address VPN and protected access to the content management system.

Backup files for the later use, in case of the malware attack

Computer users can suffer various losses due to cyber infections or their own faulty doings. Software issues created by malware or direct data loss due to encryption can lead to problems with your device or permanent damage. When you have proper up-to-date backups, you can easily recover after such an incident and get back to work.

It is crucial to create updates to your backups after any changes on the device, so you can get back to the point you were working on when malware changes anything or issues with the device causes data or performance corruption. Rely on such behavior and make file backup your daily or weekly habit.

When you have the previous version of every important document or project you can avoid frustration and breakdowns. It comes in handy when malware occurs out of nowhere. Use Data Recovery Pro for the system restoring purpose.

About the author

Julie Splinters
Julie Splinters - Malware removal specialist

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