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JNEC.a ransomware. How to remove? (Uninstall guide)

removal by Gabriel E. Hall - - | Type: Ransomware

JNEC.a ransomware is a file locking malware that spreads with the help of WinRAR code execution vulnerability

JNEC.a ransomware
JNEC.a ransomware is a new ransomware string that encrypts users' data and demands ransom to be paid for the decryptor that does not even work

JNEC.a ransomware is a new malware string that was recently discovered by security researchers at 360 Threat Intelligence Center.[1] Written in the .NET programming language, the malware takes advantage of a WinRAR vulnerability to spread. The threat uses a sophisticated encryption algorithm to comprehensively lock personal pictures, databases, documents, spreadsheets, and other files and then appends a .Jnec extension, preventing users from operating any of the data located on the PC. JNEC.a virus then drops a pop-up window with basic information, such as the number of files encrypted, ransom size (0.05 BTC), the Bitcoin wallet and a generated email address that the victim needs to create on Gmail web service, which will allow the attackers to send the alleged decryptor through. Nevertheless, excessive research of the virus showed that even authors of JNEC.a ransomware would not be able to decrypt locked files, so paying ransom is completely pointless.

Name JNEC.a
Type Ransomware
Related files GoogleUpdate.exe, JNEC.A.exe, vk_4221345.rar, iku_m2VtkXA.jpg
Ransom note JNEC.README.TXT
Distribution 19-year old WinRAR vulnerability
Ransom demand 0.05 BTC
Decryptabe? No, but paying ransom is useless as even the malware author would not be able to decrypt data
Removal Use security software that can recognize the malware
Recovery Scan your PC with Reimage to recover from virus damage

In addition to a pop-up window, JNEC.a ransomware also drops a text file called JNEC.README.TXT just so that users could properly comprehend what to do next. The message states:

Deposit amount: 0.05 BTC
BTC Address: 1JK1gnn4KEQRf8n7pHZiNvmV8WTXfq7kVa
Your ID: [redacted]
Your Email: [redacted] (Create a mail to get the decryption key)

Ransomware viruses generate the ID of the victim individually, which is ten consequently tied to a unique decryption key, stored on a remote server. JNEC.a virus authors ask users to create the Gmail account using this ID, where they allegedly would receive the decryptor to.

At the time of the writing, 34 AV engines the recognize JNEC.a ransomware as:[2]

  • Trojan.BTCWare – Malwarebytes Malwarebytes
  • Trojan:Win32/Pynamer.B!ac – Microsoft 
  • Win32:Malware-gen – AVG
  • Ransom.Win32.JNEC.A – Trend Micro
  • UDS:DangerousObject.Multi.Generic – Kaspersky

Therefore, to remove JNEC.a ransomware, you should employ one of the tools that can detect the threat. Afterward, we recommend scanning your device with Reimage to recover from the damage done by the virus.

JNEC.a ransomware virus
JNEC.a is a file locker that was discovered in mid-March, and is spread with the help of 19-year-old WinRAR vulnerability

The infection procedure and a 19-year old WinRAR vulnerability

Security researchers at Check Point recently unveiled a devastating vulnerability that has been affecting the file compressor software WinRAR for over 19 years – CVE-2018-20250.[3] The file archiver is one of the most popular software of such kind, available in 46 languages, so the discovery of vulnerability is huge.

According to researchers, the vulnerability can be exploited by at least 100 different exploits, which puts over 500 million users at risk. To stop the vulnerability in the unacev2.dll[4] library from being exploited, the developers had to stop the support for all ACE format versions from build 5.70.

The payload of JNEC.a ransomware is hidden inside a compressed .rar file called vk_4221345.rar which users can download from anyone on the internet. When trying to open it, they are presented with a picture (iku_m2VtkXA.jpg) of a female, although the image seems o be corrupted. This might seem like a normal behavior due to failed decompression of the archive.

Victims who use vulnerable versions of WinRAR, who attempt to open the picture, will be automatically infected with JNEC.a ransomware. The vulnerability allows the JNEC.a malware to place the main executable GoogleUpdate.exe into the Windows Startup folder which consequently lets the malicious program to boot every time the operating system is launched.

The encryption process of the files takes much longer than usual, as all the files are encrypted fully – meaning that all the data in the binary file are encrypted instead of a part of it. Additionally, due to the bug in the encryption process, even the JNEC.a virus authors would not be able to decrypt it.

Instead, victims should focus on JNEC.a ransomware removal procedure. Those who had no backups are most likely doomed to lose their files forever, although third-party software might be helpful in some cases. Additionally, researchers might create an official decryptor, and then all the data encrypted by JNEC.a ransomware could be retrieved for free.

JNEC.a malware
JNEC.a ransomware is infecting users of vulnerable WinRAR versions using a vk_4221345.rar archive

Include software updates into your computer usage routine to avoid malware authors exploiting its vulnerabilities

Software vulnerabilities are bugs that allow attackers to use exploit kits to execute commands on the affected machine remotely. This means that, if you have a piece of software installed that is not patched, hackers might abuse the flaw to install malware on your system. While the process still depends on users' activities (such as downloading a file or visiting a compromised website), the software flaw is what ultimately results in system compromise.

For that reason, software patches should be applied to all the installed applications as soon as possible. The best way to do so is by allowing the app to update itself – most developers implement an automatic update feature. Those who have it turned off, however, not only risk of being exploited by malware authors, but also running into fake update sites that host unwanted or even malicious programs. The best such example comes from Adobe Flash Player, as hackers have been exploiting the program for years now, despite numerous patches released.[5]

Additionally, having comprehensive security software installed is mandatory, as it can warn users of the incoming threats and prevent them from infecting the machine in the first place.

Remove JNEC.a ransomware by using security tool that can detect the threat

Due to the nature of malware, manual JNEC.a ransomware removal is not recommended to anyone. Instead, you should make sure to install a security application that can detect the malware and eliminate it promptly. Before that can be accomplished, however, we recommend you enter Safe Mode with Networking, as the virus might prevent security anti-malware software from operating correctly.

Unfortunately, there are very few chances to retrieve files locked by JNEC.a virus if you had no backups ready. Nevertheless, do not lose hope, as a recovery of at least some of your data might be possible with the help of third-party software. Check out the instructions below. Please remember that you need to remove JNEC.a ransomware before this, as all the recovered files will be repeatedly locked, rendering the recovery process useless.

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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 JNEC.a virus, follow these steps:

Remove JNEC.a using Safe Mode with Networking

To remove JNEC.a ransomware without interruptions, enter a safe environment on Windows as explained below and then perform full system scan using anti-malware software:

  • 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 JNEC.a

    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 JNEC.a removal.

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

Remove JNEC.a using System Restore

Make use of System Restore in order to terminate the virus:

  • 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 JNEC.a. 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 JNEC.a removal is performed successfully.

Bonus: Recover your data

Guide which is presented above is supposed to help you remove JNEC.a from your computer. To recover your encrypted files, we recommend using a detailed guide prepared by 2-spyware.com security experts.

Paying ransom for hackers is pointless, as proved by security researchers. Instead, try out using third-party recovery software that might be able to help.

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

Data Recovery Pro is a professional tool that might be just right for the process

This application is originally designed to retrieve data that was corrupted or accidentally deleted. Nevertheless, it might also be useful when files are locked by ransomware.

  • 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 JNEC.a ransomware;
  • Restore them.

Make use of Windows Previous Versions feature

This method can only work if you had System Restore enable before the ransomware 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”.

ShadowExplorer might recover your files in some cases

If you were lucky enough and the JNEC.a virus failed to delete Shadow Volume Copies, use ShadowExplorer to recover your data.

  • 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.

No decryptor is currently available

Finally, you should always think about the protection of crypto-ransomwares. In order to protect your computer from JNEC.a and other ransomwares, use a reputable anti-spyware, such as Reimage, Malwarebytes MalwarebytesCombo Cleaner or Plumbytes Anti-MalwareMalwarebytes Malwarebytes

About the author

Gabriel E. Hall
Gabriel E. Hall - Passionate web researcher

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References