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J. Sterling ransomware. How to remove? (Uninstall guide)

removal by Olivia Morelli - - | Type: Ransomware
12

J. Sterling ransomware assaulted high school with fake surveys

The image suggetsing J. Sterling ransomware

J. Sterling virus is defined as a file-encrypting threat programmed to infiltrate J.Sterling Morton High School system.[1] The malware was still in-development mode when it struck the school with a fake survey called “J. Sterling Student Survey”. Luckily, the malware did not encrypt any files.

For IT specialists, the GUI of the malware was quite suggestive of its origin; on the other hand, for students and employees of the school the survey might have seemed quite persuasive – the perpetrator used the logo and school-slogans. Considering this peculiarity and the fact that it did not encode any data implies that it might have been created as a prank by a student of the very school.

After entering the necessary data, student’s email and password, into the survey, the malware launched another GUI called “J. Sterling Ransomware.” It asked $10 in bitcoins. This sum was said to double if a victim failed to pay the money within 12 hours. The school was advised to remove J. Sterling ransomware. For that purpose, Reimage, Malwarebytes Anti Malware or another malware elimination tool might come in handy.

Luckily, this time, the malware did not inflict much damage. On the other hand, the very fact that the malware developer was able so easily to break into the system was alarming. Next time, more serious hackers may penetrate the system.

For instance, at the end of October parents of certain schools in Flathead County, Montana received alarming messages threatening to kill students in the recipients’ children schools.[2] Later on, the perpetrator turned out to be the Dark Overlord, the one responsible for ANC, Netflix and HBO hack.

Preventing ransomware assaults

These and previous cases of major data cases suggest that the virtual systems are still not properly protected. Low malware awareness[3] and failure to reshuffle passwords after a while also contribute to the high number of ransomware assaults.

In order to evade J. Sterling ransomware hijack, these tips might help:

  • educate your employees about the dangers of opening corrupted spam email attachments
  • backup the data
  • use complex passwords comprised of characters, letters, and numbers (do not write them down on a sticky note attached to a computer monitor)
  • update system and security data regularly

Speaking of J. Sterling removal, it should not have been difficult. All what the school experts had to do was to run the scan in Safe Mode.

Eliminating J. Sterling ransomware

Threats similar to J. Sterling malware might also be labeled as screen lockers. ALT+F4 or specific combination unlocks the screen. After that, the victim should run an updated anti-virus tool and remove J. Sterling virus or similar threat.

Below instructions suggest how to run the computer in Safe Mode or perform System Restore. On the final note, be vigilant and do not forget to back up your data. After J. Sterling removal or elimination real file-encrypting virus, you may find some of the below-suggested programs practical.

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Manual J. Sterling virus Removal Guide:

Remove J. Sterling using Safe Mode with Networking

  • 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 J. Sterling

    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 J. Sterling removal.

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

Remove J. Sterling using System Restore

In case Safe Mode seems inconvenient, perform System Restore. Note that this action does not delete the ransomware, but only enables you to eliminate it.

  • 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 J. Sterling. 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 J. Sterling removal is performed successfully.

Bonus: Recover your data

Guide which is presented above is supposed to help you remove J. Sterling 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 J. Sterling, you can use several methods to restore them:

What is Data Recovery Pro?

The tool might be of assistance when restoring damaged files. In some cases, it may even be of service recovering files affected by ransomware.

The usefulness of ShadowExplorer

If ransomware does not delete shadow volume copies in advance, it might be one of the last options to recover files encoded by crypto-malware.

  • 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 J. Sterling and other ransomwares, use a reputable anti-spyware, such as Reimage, Plumbytes Anti-MalwareWebroot SecureAnywhere AntiVirus or Malwarebytes Anti Malware

About the author

Olivia Morelli
Olivia Morelli - Ransomware analyst

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