Killdisk ransomware / virus (updated Jan 2018) - Virus Removal Guide

Killdisk virus Removal Guide

What is Killdisk ransomware virus?

The developers of KillDisk continue to upgrade their cyber infection

The image of KillDisk's ransom note

KillDisk was first developed as a disk-wiping malware helping criminals to hide their traces. However, crooks followed the success of infamous ransomware families, like Locky and CrytpoLocker, and upgraded the virus with file-encrypting features. Currently, experts have discovered a new variant of this dangerous threat which only poses as ransomware.

In the previous version of the ransomware, the crooks decided to play big and demand 222 bitcoins in exchange for the files! Users may dread after finding such cyber-mutant on their operating system. Nonetheless, virus researchers work restlessly to combat the cyber threats. If this menace targeted your computer as well, initiate Killdisk removal. FortectIntego speeds up the procedure.

KillDisk malware is capable of wreaking an operating system and making a device completely unbootable. Due to its destructive features of paralyzing the system, the felons aimed it at industries and big corporations. It has been combined with other trojans, such as BlackEnergy virtual infection, to deliver a destructive attack on an energy supply company.

Such assault ended in the cease of electricity for about 1,4 million of Ukrainian population on December 23rd in 2015. It seems that such effects did not satisfy the racketeers. Therefore, they have modified KillDisk malware into a file-encrypting virus which is not only capable of wiping the data on your local drives and but encode them.

It has also demanded an astonishing ransom of 222 Bitcoin which is equal to $2 457 097 at the moment. This threat employed an RSA-1028 algorithm to encode files. Also, the modified version of KillDisk encrypted local hard-drives and network-mapped folders.

Killdisk Wiper malware was using to cover their tracks, but specialists of CyberX suspect that the hackers known as TeleBots might be behind the attacks [1]. The gang has become quite interested in ransomware assaults as it has significantly increased the number of their attacks in this specific field [2].

Likewise, people are advised to stay extremely cautious and protect their computers from this dangerous malware and its versions. In case you have encountered this cyber threat, immediately reboot your computer into Safe Mode and remove KillDisk. You can find the instructions on how to get rid of it below.

Fake KillDisk ransomware targets Latin America

Experts have recently spotted new KillDisk malware attacks. Even though the disk-wiping functions and the ransom note are still there, criminals have switched their targets from Ukraine to Latin America. Their primary goals continue to stay big financial corporations which are demanded to pay 222 BTC ransom.

This fake KillDisk ransomware delivers the ransom note only to trick people believing that they were hit by the file-encrypting virus while it wipes out the disk and leaves no traces. Experts say that the malware is not directly installed on the computer rather than delivered by another cyber threat.

According to the analysis, the new variant of KillDisk is capable of hiding itself as well — it enters the system, copies itself to the memory, deletes the load from the disk and changes its name. Later, it randomly renames the filenames before removing them. The only files that are left are the ones vital for the operating system:

  • Program Files;
  • Program Files (x86);
  • ProgramData;
  • PerfLogs;
  • Windows;
  • WINNT;
  • Users;
  • $Recycle.Bin;
  • Recovery (case-sensitive check);
  • System Volume Information;
  • old.

Afterwards, KillDisk fake ransomware tries to wipe out the disk by overwriting the first 0x20 sectors with 0x00 by reading the Master Boot Record (MBR) which is also used to do further damage to the system. Following such actions, it waits 15 minutes before shutting down the computer by terminating these processes:

  • Windows Start-Up Application (wininit.exe);
  • Windows Logon Application (winlogon.exe);
  • Local Security Authority Subsystem Service (lsass.exe);
  • Client/server run-time subsystem (csrss.exe).

KillDisk uses ExitWindowsEx function to force the restart of the computer while disrupting csrss.exe and wininit.exe processes will deliver the Blue Screen of Death (BSOD). Likewise, the machine will be forced to reboot with or without user's permission.

After the restart, computer's owner will no longer be able to use his/her device unless the damaged MBR records are repaired. Once the system is examined by the IT technician, he/she will probably find only the ransom note and believe that it was attacked by the ransomware.

Previous modifications made to the disk-wiping malware

KillDisk wiper malware was previously modified into the ransomware. However, criminals decided to upgrade it and make it suitable for Linux operating systems. There are several alterations made which differ from the Windows OS version and are worth mentioning.

In comparison with the version devised for Windows OS, its encryption methods differ from the former version. Specifically, the ransomware employs Triple-DES algorithm which runs 4096-byte cipher blocks to generate a unique decryption key. In addition, it targets a wide range, specifically, 17 subfolders to encode files.

Killdisk malware, designed for Linux, appends “DoN0t0uch7h!$CrYpteDfilE” extension. However, the improvements do not only encompass modifications regarding encryption methods. The cyber infection modifies boot settings. It results in the ransom message being displayed as a start-up window.

It contains the exact information as provided in the malware designed for Windows. Victims are supposed to purchase 222 Bitcoins and then transfer them to the indicated address. In addition, the hackers give an email address for contact purposes–

However, do not follow the hackers' scenario but, instead, opt for the alternative solutions. Remember, you can find ways how to recover corrupted data at the end of this article. Note that some of them might only recover individual files. Likewise, try all provided techniques for the best result.

The illustration of KillDisk ransomware virusKillDisk is a data-wiper which has been upgraded with ransomware-like features.

Most common ways how malware infiltrates the targeted system

Just as any other dangerous cyber threat, this disk-wiping malware attacks its targets via malicious spam emails. Such malspam campaigns usually take advantage of naive computer users and deliver letters which disguise as well-known companies.

Experts from[3] report that some of the emails may look like as the messages sent from the OPM (Office of the Personnel Management). Note that the letters are genuine-looking and can easily trick to open the malicious attachment appended to it. Unfortunately, if you click on it, your computer will be infected with the original KillDisk malware or one of its versions.

Luckily, you may suspect a spam email possessing a virus. Such messages contain typing or spelling mistakes. Also, you should boost up the overall protection of the device by combing an anti-virus and anti-spyware utility. It will help you not only to get rid of KillDisk but also protect your computer from cyber infections in the future.

Protect your computer by terminating KillDisk virus

We would like to ask you not to try to remove KillDisk virus by yourself. This is a highly sophisticated and complex malware which is able to not only hide its traces but also impersonate legitimate computer processes. Therefore, there is a high risk of terminating crucial OS executables instead of the malware.

However, you can get a professional antivirus software to help you with KillDisk removal. You can use FortectIntego, SpyHunter 5Combo Cleaner, or Malwarebytes. They are tested and recommended by our IT experts. In case you already have a security tool, feel free to use it as well. Others might need to reboot their computers into Safe Mode before the installation of the antivirus.

If you are not aware how to boot your system into Safe Mode, you can follow the guide below. Later, download the security software and let it scan your files thoroughly. Shortly after, it will uninstall KillDisk, and you will be able to recover your files using alternative methods which are also provided below.

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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 Killdisk virus. Follow these steps

Manual removal using Safe Mode

In case the ransomware has infiltrated your Windows system, follow the guidelines to reboot your computer into Safe Mode with Networking.

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 Killdisk using System Restore

Another way to disable the virus is to boot your system into Safe Mode with Command Prompt.

  • 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 Killdisk. 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 Killdisk removal is performed successfully.

Bonus: Recover your data

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

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

Data Recovery Pro tool

This is a professional tool designed to not only help people if they have accidentally deleted important files but also if they are attacked by the 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 Killdisk ransomware;
  • Restore them.

Try Windows Previous Versions feature

This is a useful feature if you have previously enabled System Restore function. However, note that it recovers only individual files.

  • 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 can help you

This software uses Shadow Volume Copies to help people recover files after ransomware attacks. Therefore, if they are in place you can follow the instructions below:

  • 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.

Unfortunately, experts have not developed KillDisk decryptor just yet

Finally, you should always think about the protection of crypto-ransomwares. In order to protect your computer from Killdisk and other ransomwares, use a reputable anti-spyware, such as FortectIntego, 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.

About the author
Julie Splinters
Julie Splinters - Anti-malware specialist

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