JohnyCryptor virus Removal Guide
What is JohnyCryptor ransomware virus?
JohnyCryptor is a dangerous virus that uses file encryption to blackmail users to pay ransom for decryptor
JohnyCryptor is not yet decryptable ransomware that demands a large sum of money for file decryption
JohnyCryptor is ransomware that first appeared in February 2016 and is a part of CrySiS family. Just as many other similar viruses, the goal of this cyber threat is to extort money out of users. To do that, hackers inject the PC with malicious code which encrypts all personal data using AES-256 encryption algorithm, which modifies names of files in the following way: [victims ID].firstname.lastname@example.org and [victims ID].email@example.com. Users are then informed about the situation via the text file How to decrypt your files.txt which is dropped into every folder that contains locked files.
|First spotted||February 2016|
|File extensions||[victims ID].firstname.lastname@example.org and [victims ID].email@example.com|
|Ransom size||0.5-1.5 BTC|
|Distribution||Spam emails, malicious ads, hacked websites, cracked or repacked software, etc.|
|Elimination||Automatic only – download and install ReimageIntego|
In addition to the text file, the desktop wallpaper is changed and displays a member of Anonymous group – international hacktivists, that is known for cyber attacks on governments, agencies, corporations and similar. The message displayed in the text file prevails on the desktop too. Users are prompted to contact cybercrooks via Johnycryptor@aol.com or Johnycryptor@india.com.
Users should be aware that crypto-virus often enters computers through malicious spam emails. The virus is downloaded to the computer as a regular looking document, but when the victim opens it, the virus is activated and starts ravaging through the system. Therefore, it is crucial to behave cautiously around the Internet and use sophisticated antivirus software, such as ReimageIntego, for extra protection. If you are already infected with the virus, this software will also help you remove JohnyCryptor from your computer safely and effectively.
As soon as ransomware infiltrates the computer, it starts scanning it for different types of files, including pictures, videos, Office documents, etc. Once the required files are detected, the JohnyCryptor virus encrypts them with a public key, which uses a very complex, military-grade cipher. The data cannot be unlocked using the same key. A private key is needed for this purpose.
However, the cybercriminals are not planning to give it away that easily. They demand a 0.5-1.5 Bitcoin ransom for the key and threaten that all the files will be destroyed in seven days if the payment is not made. All of these demands are clearly stated in the ransom note:
Your computer has been encrypted by cryptographically strong algorithm. All your files are now encrypted. You have only one way to get them back safely – using original decryption tool. Using another tools could corrupt your files, use it on your own risk. To get original decryptor contact us with email JohnyCryptor@aol.com.
It is in your interest to respond as soon as possible to ensure the restoration of your files, because we won't keep your decryption keys at our servers more than one week in interest of our security.
P.S. only in case you do not receive a response from the first email address within 48 hours, please use this alternative email address JohnyCryptor@india.com
However, these extortionists are wrong, as the safest way to get data back is by restoring it from a remote backup, such as Dropbox, OneDrive or remote device, such as external HDD (note that the drive should not be connected to the PC during ransomware attack, as all files would be encrypted as well). That is why security experts recommend to always backup your files if they are essential to you, as there are plenty of ransomware viruses that can destroy your data.
Another reason not to pay JohnyCryptor creators is that you could end up without your files, as well as without your money. Cybercrooks are known to ignore victims after payment, as well as to send them malicious files that contain malware. In another scenario, they will see that you are willing to pay; hence the recurring attacks are likely.
In August 2016, another variant of JohnyCryptor came out. Security researchers did not observe any significant differences, apart from a new wallpaper and slightly different message.
To conclude, you should not delay JohnyCryptor removal. Only after that, you can proceed with file recovery. We explain how to achieve that in detailed instructions below.
JohnyCryptor is a virus that is capable of locking files by using a complicated encryption algorithm
Ways to protect yourself from malicious threats online
Unfortunately, there are no methods that can guarantee the safety of your computer 100%. Nevertheless, you can use a combination of different techniques such as equipping your computer with a sophisticated firewall and reliable antivirus utility, regularly updating your system for security patches should at least provide your machine with more immunity against ransomware infection.
However, the most prominent ransomware distribution method is via spam emails, and it is entirely up to you to validate the legitimacy of messages in your inbox. Thus, do not open every email, especially ones with attachment, as ransomware payload is hiding in it. Note that some fake emails might be written exceptionally well and it might be hard to differentiate genuine email from a malicious one.
Fortunately, email providers have in-built scanners which flag suspicious emails. Thus, do not ignore these warnings and ultimately be extremely attentive while making sure that the email is coming from where it seems to be.
Hackers inform users that the key for file decryption will be deleted within a week
Removing JohnyCryptor from the infected device
JohnyCryptor removal may cause a lot of concern to the inexperienced users, but, in reality, it is much simpler than it looks. First, you have to obtain a reliable antivirus software, then disconnect your computer from the network. Finally, run a full scan of your system.
In case the virus tries interfering with security software, use instructions provided at the end of this article to enter Safe Mode with Networking and perform a scan from there. Remember that only when you fully remove JohnyCryptor from your computer can you start recovering your files from backups. If you do not have such, you can try retrieving your data using third-party tools – we provide full instructions below.
Getting rid of JohnyCryptor virus. Follow these steps
Manual removal using Safe Mode
To eliminate JohnyCryptor ransomware without trouble, enter Safe Mode with Networking:
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
- Click Start > Shutdown > Restart > OK.
- 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.
- Select Safe Mode with Networking from the list.
Windows 10 / Windows 8
- Right-click on Start button and select Settings.
- Scroll down to pick Update & Security.
- On the left side of the window, pick Recovery.
- Now scroll down to find Advanced Startup section.
- Click Restart now.
- Select Troubleshoot.
- Go to Advanced options.
- Select Startup Settings.
- Press Restart.
- Now press 5 or click 5) Enable Safe Mode with Networking.
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:
- Press Ctrl + Shift + Esc on your keyboard to open Windows Task Manager.
- Click on More details.
- Scroll down to Background processes section, and look for anything suspicious.
- Right-click and select Open file location.
- Go back to the process, right-click and pick End Task.
- Delete the contents of the malicious folder.
Step 3. Check program Startup
- Press Ctrl + Shift + Esc on your keyboard to open Windows Task Manager.
- Go to Startup tab.
- 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:
- Type in Disk Cleanup in Windows search and press Enter.
- 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).
- Scroll through the Files to delete list and select the following:
Temporary Internet Files
- Pick Clean up system files.
- 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 JohnyCryptor using System Restore
You can also try System restore function for crypto-virus removal:
Step 1: Reboot your computer to Safe Mode with Command Prompt
Windows 7 / Vista / XP
- Click Start → Shutdown → Restart → OK.
- When your computer becomes active, start pressing F8 multiple times until you see the Advanced Boot Options window.
- Select Command Prompt from the list
Windows 10 / Windows 8
- Press the Power button at the Windows login screen. Now press and hold Shift, which is on your keyboard, and click Restart..
- Now select Troubleshoot → Advanced options → Startup Settings and finally press Restart.
- Once your computer becomes active, select Enable Safe Mode with Command Prompt in Startup Settings window.
Step 2: Restore your system files and settings
- Once the Command Prompt window shows up, enter cd restore and click Enter.
- Now type rstrui.exe and press Enter again..
- When a new window shows up, click Next and select your restore point that is prior the infiltration of JohnyCryptor. After doing that, click Next.
- Now click Yes to start system restore.
Bonus: Recover your dataGuide which is presented above is supposed to help you remove JohnyCryptor from your computer. To recover your encrypted files, we recommend using a detailed guide prepared by 2-spyware.com security experts.
Files are important to users, so sometimes they might agree to pay ransom. As we already mentioned above, there are great risks involved in that. Additionally, you would unintentionally finance cyber thieves. Thus, try alternative file recovery methods instead.
If your files are encrypted by JohnyCryptor, you can use several methods to restore them:
Data Recovery Pro can be useful
Data Recovery Pro is an application designed to restore broken or accidentally deleted files. Nevertheless, this tool helped some users whose files were encrypted 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 JohnyCryptor ransomware;
- Restore them.
Use Windows Previous Versions feature to recover your files
This method might take longer as files can only be recovered one-by-one. Note: requires Windows Restore active to be used.
- 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 help
If the virus failed to delete shadow volume copies, ShadowExplorer is the answer to all your problems.
- 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 available yet
Finally, you should always think about the protection of crypto-ransomwares. In order to protect your computer from JohnyCryptor and other ransomwares, use a reputable anti-spyware, such as ReimageIntego, SpyHunter 5Combo Cleaner or Malwarebytes
How to prevent from getting ransomware
Choose a proper web browser and improve your safety with a VPN tool
Online spying has got momentum in recent years and people are getting more and more interested in how to protect their privacy online. One of the basic means to add a layer of security – choose the most private and secure web browser. Although web browsers can't grant full privacy protection and security, some of them are much better at sandboxing, HTTPS upgrading, active content blocking, tracking blocking, phishing protection, and similar privacy-oriented features. However, if you want true anonymity, we suggest you employ a powerful Private Internet Access VPN – it can encrypt all the traffic that comes and goes out of your computer, preventing tracking completely.
Lost your files? Use data recovery software
While some files located on any computer are replaceable or useless, others can be extremely valuable. Family photos, work documents, school projects – these are types of files that we don't want to lose. Unfortunately, there are many ways how unexpected data loss can occur: power cuts, Blue Screen of Death errors, hardware failures, crypto-malware attack, or even accidental deletion.
To ensure that all the files remain intact, you should prepare regular data backups. You can choose cloud-based or physical copies you could restore from later in case of a disaster. If your backups were lost as well or you never bothered to prepare any, Data Recovery Pro can be your only hope to retrieve your invaluable files.