Ishtar ransomware / virus (Virus Removal Guide)

Ishtar virus Removal Guide

What is Ishtar ransomware virus?

What is known about Ishtar ransomware?

Ishtar ransomware virus seems to be created by a Russian-speaking cybercriminal or a gang because it addresses the victim in the Russian language. This malware example belongs to ransomware category and users should be aware that it is extremely important to defend the PC from such viruses in advance because the damage that ransom-demanding viruses do can hardly be reversed. Ishtar virus encrypts records (photos, videos, documents, music files) with military-grade encryption (combination of AES-256 and RSA-2048) and, differently than other ransomware parasites, does not add certain file extensions to them– it adds an ISHTAR- prefix to every file it encrypts. Once ransomware applies the encryption to a file, it can no longer be opened or edited and becomes useless. Ishtar ransomware then creates and saves README-ISHTAR.TXT on the desktop and also in each folder that holds encrypted data.

Ishtar virus

The ransom note is a message from cyber criminals, and it informs the victim about the only possible data recovery method – ransom payment. It also warns not to delete ISHTAR.DATA file, which is stored in %APPDATA% folder, otherwise it will be impossible to decrypt encrypted data. To find out how to pay the ransom, the victim needs to contact criminals, and this can be done by writing to, or via Bitmessage. We highly recommend you to refuse to pay the ransom – you cannot count on criminals and whatever they promise to you might be a lie. Our team recommends you to remove Ishtar ransomware as soon as possible. In our opinion, the best anti-malware tool is FortectIntego, and it can help you with Ishtar removal.

How ransomware viruses attack computers?

Ransomware viruses often reach victims and wreak havoc on their computers only because victims open malicious email attachments. Be very careful when exploring email letters, and stay away from ones that come from unknown senders. You can never know what their real intentions are, so why would you open such malicious emails? Remember that scammers create legitimate-looking messages urging victims to view contents of attached files, so please do not fall for such scams. Frauds often pretend to be sending invoices, bills, reports, medical test results and similar documents. Do not open them!
Malware can also silently be installed after entering a deceptive website that contains an exploit kit. In such case, exploit kit scans the system for vulnerabilities in software (it targets outdated software, most frequently – Java), and use its vulnerabilities to enter victim’s PC. You can protect your computer by keeping all software up-to-date.

How to remove Ishtar ransomware virus?

If you are ready to remove Ishtar virus, make sure you have a proper malware removal tool. If you do not, consider installing one. Ransomware viruses are complex programs and only advanced IT experts can remove them manually, but even experts admit that it is hard to remove ransomware. Use Ishtar removal instructions provided below and deleted this virus from your computer for good. You can try suggested data recovery methods, too.

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Compatible with Microsoft Windows Compatible with macOS
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 Ishtar 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 Ishtar 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 Ishtar. 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 Ishtar removal is performed successfully.

Bonus: Recover your data

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

At the moment, there are no news about a free Ishtar decryption tool. It appears that malware researchers haven’t released it yet. In the meantime, we suggest you backup encrypted data and try these data recovery methods:

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

Run Data Recovery Pro

Use Data Recovery Pro and try to decrypt encrypted files with it:

  • 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 Ishtar ransomware;
  • Restore them.

Use ShadowExplorer

Ishtar virus’ authors might have forgotten to add a function that deletes Volume Shadow Copies. Therefore, you should try this data recovery method:

  • 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.

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

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. 


About the author
Olivia Morelli
Olivia Morelli - Ransomware analyst

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