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

removal by Julie Splinters - - | Type: Ransomware
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Sci-fi geeks try on ransomware — release the Kirk virus

Kirk virus is a Star Trek-themed [1] cyber infection which belongs to the crypto-ransomware [2] category. This essentially means that when this virus infects a computer, it starts scanning it for certain types of files and encrypts them using a complex algorithm. Though such encryption principle is typical to most viruses of this particular category, Kirk cannot be regarded as a completely conventional ransomware. In fact, this malware has hit the internet with a bang as one of the first extortion programs to base its ransom payment system on cryptocurrency other than Bitcoin. In particular, Kirk utilizes Monero — cryptocurrency which has been steadily growing in popularity within the past year and now has a market cap of around 302,294,761 USD [3]. It is unclear why the hackers have picked this particular currency which stands fourth in the global ranking, but such a choice is simply destined to cause confusion among the victims. Even Bitcoins which are the number one cryptocurrency out there are not the easiest item to get your hands on, especially if you are unfamiliar with such payment system and encounter it for the first time. So, it might be that by attempting to be original the extortionists have simply undermined themselves. This may also be the reason why this virus is currently plateauing. Although there are no known Kirk ransomware victims so far, you can never know when the malware is going to burst. That is why we recommend to be prepared for Kirk removal and obtain antivirus software that would manage to weed this parasite out of your system. Reimage is one of the reputable software you should try.

The virus draws malware experts’ attention for a number of reasons, and the use of Star Trek themes in its ransom note as well as the utilization of Monero cryptocurrency for the ransom payments are just a few of them. We should point out the fact that the virus disguises itself as Low Orbital Ion Cannons tool [4] and runs on the infected computers as a loic_win32.exe process. It even fakes LOIC’s notifications to trick users into thinking that this software is initiating on their computers. In the meanwhile, virus scans the computer looking for more than 625 types of files and encrypts them with a public AES key [5]. In addition, every encrypted file will be appended with .kirked extensions while the virus will drop a ransom note called RANSOM_NOTE.txt on every affected folder to instruct the victim how to decrypt them. Of course, the decryption is not possible without the private key. The extortionists deploy an encrypted variant of this key in the file called “pwd” which will be stored on the computer in case the victim decides to pay the ransom. In such a case, the victim is asked to transfer around 1100 dollars in Monero currency to the criminals’ and then send the transaction ID along with the mentioned pwd file to kirk.help@scryptmail.com or kirk.payments@scryptmail.com email address. When these steps are completed, the criminals promise to supply the victim with special decrypter called Spock which will supposedly unlock the private key stored in the pwd file and allow data recovery. Needless to say, collaborating with cyber criminals is the last thing you should do, so we recommend leaving this option for last. Instead, you can try recovering your files by following free guidelines our experts have provided below the article. If you do not have any important data stored on your computer, simply remove Kirk from your computer and fix this issue.

Obscure distribution tactics

Since this virus has appeared on the web quite recently, it is still rather early to say what particular practices does this virus choose for the malware distribution. Since there have been no recorded cases of Kirk attacks, it might be that the virus variant that emerged on the web is just a test version not meant to be widely distributed at all. Nevertheless, our team of experts is keeping a close watch of this virus and will inform you as soon as Kirk distribution takes a more defined form.

Kirk removal and PC recovery:

Kirk virus is currently undecryptable but this does not mean it has to stay on your computer as for as long as the malware experts are working on the free decrypter. You can backup the encrypted data and clean up your computer from this malware. After you remove Kirk, you will be able to use your computer without a fear of your files being encrypted once again. Please do not attempt to tackle the virus yourself. Believe us — it equals jumping empty-handed in front of a furious bull. That’s why you should allow specialized software to deal with the Kirk removal. In the guidelines below you will learn how to achieve the best results.

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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 Kirk 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.

More information about this program can be found in Reimage review.

Manual Kirk virus Removal Guide:

Remove Kirk using Safe Mode with Networking

Reimage is a tool to detect malware.
You need to purchase Full version to remove infections.
More information about Reimage.

If Kirk virus blocks your antivirus in an attempt to prevents its removal, do not hesitate to apply the following instructions to disable this malicious functionality:

  • 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 Kirk

    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 Kirk removal.

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

Remove Kirk using System Restore

Reimage is a tool to detect malware.
You need to purchase Full version to remove infections.
More information about Reimage.

Kirk ransomware may be slightly different from other viruses for using different payment method, but just like most ransomware, it will try its best to remain on the computer and continue terrorizing the users. To do that, it may block your antivirus, so you have to learn how to bypass this obstacle. Here is how you should do 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 Kirk. 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 Kirk removal is performed successfully.

Bonus: Recover your data

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

Use Data Recovery Pro for quick data recovery

Data Recovery Pro is a quick data recovery solution, though it may not be successful 100% of the time. Nevertheless, it is sure worth giving a try.

How can Windows Previous Versions feature be used to recover files encrypted by Kirk: 

Windows Previous Versions feature only works in combination with System Restore function. If it has been enabled before Kirk infection — you may try out the instructions below:

  • 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”.

Recover your files with ShadowExplorer

ShadowExplorer is a software that uses Volume Shadow Copies to recover encrypted files. It is likely that Kirk virus deletes these files from the computer, so it may be impossible to apply this recovery technique. As long as we do not have information that it does so, you may try out these steps:

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

About the author

Julie Splinters
Julie Splinters - Malware removal specialist

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References

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