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JohnyCryptor ransomware virus. How to remove? (Uninstall guide)

removal by Ugnius Kiguolis - - | Type: Ransomware

JohnyCryptor is a dangerous virus that uses file encryption to blackmail users to pay ransom for decryptor

JohnyCryptor ransomware
JohnyCryptor is not yet decryptable ransomware that demands a large sum of money for file decryption

Questions about JohnyCryptor ransomware virus

JohnyCryptor is ransomware[1] 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[2] encryption algorithm, which modifies names of files in the following way: [victims ID].johnycryptor@aol.com.tbl and [victims ID].johnycryptor@hackermail.com.xtbl. 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.

Summary
Name JohnyCryptor
Type Ransomware
Family CrySiS ransomeware
Cipher used AES-256
First spotted February 2016
File extensions [victims ID].johnycryptor@aol.com.tbl and [victims ID].johnycryptor@hackermail.com.xtbl
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 Reimage

In addition to the text file, the desktop wallpaper is changed and displays a member of Anonymous group[3] – 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 Reimage, 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:

Attention!

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[4] 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.

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.

JohnyCryptor image
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.

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What to do if failed?
If you failed to remove infection using Reimage, submit a question to our support team and provide as much details as possible.
Reimage is recommended to uninstall JohnyCryptor ransomware virus. 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.
More information about this program can be found in Reimage review.
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To remove JohnyCryptor virus, follow these steps:

Remove JohnyCryptor using Safe Mode with Networking

To eliminate JohnyCryptor ransomware without trouble, enter 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 JohnyCryptor

    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 JohnyCryptor removal.

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

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
    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 JohnyCryptor. 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 JohnyCryptor removal is performed successfully.

Bonus: Recover your data

Guide 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.

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 Reimage, Plumbytes Anti-MalwareWebroot SecureAnywhere AntiVirus or Malwarebytes Anti Malware

About the author

Ugnius Kiguolis
Ugnius Kiguolis - The mastermind

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