Remove Kristina ransomware / virus (Virus Removal Guide) - Bonus: Decryption Steps

removal by Lucia Danes - - | Type: Ransomware

Kristina virus Removal Guide

What is Kristina ransomware virus?

Authors of Kristina malware does not reveal the size of the ransom

The picture of Kristina ransomware virus

Kristina virus is a crypto-malware that might be related to Crypt12 ransomware virus. The malicious program is launched from KristinaCS.exe which usually gets on the system when a user opens an infected email attachment. Then malware locks targeted files with [victim’s-id]-[developer’s-email].crypt12 file extension and changes desktop wallpaper.

The virus delivers a pop-up window “KristinaSC L1.0” that shows data encryption process. Victims can see how their files saved in various disk driver are being encoded. Security experts assume that encryption is performed manually. It means that criminals hack the computer and get remote access. Then they launch manual encryption in different drives themselves.

Kristina ransomware also changes affected computer’s wallpaper. The black image includes a red text saying:

Your files Have Been Crypted email to: hernansec@protonmail.ch for instructions

There’s no doubt that cybercriminals will ask to pay a particular sum of Bitcoins in exchange for decryption software. However, their offered deal might be a trap.[1] Crooks may not have working decryptor or might not let you use it. Once you transfer the money, they might disappear.

Therefore, after ransomware attack, it is recommended to get rid of the virus using reputable and powerful malware removal tool, such as ReimageIntego. In order to remove Kristina virus properly, you may need to reboot the computer to Safe Mode with Networking. It helps to disable the virus and run security software.

Crypto-viruses are dangerous cyber threats. Thus, manual elimination is not recommended. Home computer users might accidentally delete important system files instead of malicious ones. Malware is capable of affecting legit system process and hide under the safe looking file names. Automatic Kristina removal is recommended in order to wipe out this cyber threat safely.

The image of Kristina ransomware virusKristina ransomware virus [victim’s-id]-[developer’s-email].crypt12 file extension to targeted files and asks to contact developers for the recovery instructions.

Methods used to spread file-encrypting virus

The malicious payload of the Kristina crypto system spreads via malicious spam emails. Usually, these emails look like sent from an official institution and inform about an important issue. However, opening attached Word, PDF or other safe looking document[2] might lead to the infiltration of malware.

For this reason, users advised to be careful with emails and always double-check the information about the sender, look up for grammar mistakes and think twice if they were supposed to receive such email.

Security experts from SenzaVirus[3] also warn that malware might be spread via:

  • malware-laden ads;
  • exploit kits;
  • fake or illegal software downloads;
  • bogus security updates presented in pop-ups.

Computer users should follow basic cybersecurity tips, such as avoid visiting suspicious websites and clicking ads, do not download illegal content, keep software and operating system up-to-date. Additionally, creating and updating backups is recommended as well.

Guidelines for Kristina ransomware removal

Kristina ransomware removal is performed using a professional anti-malware software. Our team recommends choosing one of these tools: ReimageIntego, SpyHunter 5Combo Cleaner or Malwarebytes. Before you install one of the suggested or your preferred program, you may need to reboot the computer to Safe Mode with Networking as shown below.

This step is needed because ransomware might prevent you from installing or running security software. Thus, you should disable malware first and then remove Kristina virus with anti-malware. Once the PC is virus-free, you can restore encrypted data from backups. Currently, it’s the only possible way to restore all of your files.

However, if you do not have backups, you should try alternative recovery methods presented below that might help to get back at least the most important documents or pictures.

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Compatible with Microsoft Windows Compatible with macOS
What to do if failed?
If you failed to remove virus damage using Reimage Intego, submit a question to our support team and provide as much details as possible.
Reimage Intego has a free limited scanner. Reimage 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 Reimage, 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 Kristina virus. Follow these steps

Manual removal using Safe Mode

Rebooting PC to Safe Mode with Networking helps to disable the virus and run automatic elimination.

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.
    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.
    Reboot
  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.
    Startup

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
    Downloads
    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):

    %AppData%
    %LocalAppData%
    %ProgramData%
    %WinDir%

After you are finished, reboot the PC in normal mode.

Remove Kristina using System Restore

  • 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 Kristina. 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 ReimageIntego and make sure that Kristina removal is performed successfully.

Bonus: Recover your data

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

Try Data Recovery Pro after the ransomware attack

Data Recovery Pro is not an official decryptor for Kristina ransomware, but it might help to restore some of the corrupted data.

  • 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 Kristina ransomware;
  • Restore them.

Windows Previous Versions feature allows recovering the most important files

Follow these steps and copy versions of the files before ransomware hit your PC (note that this method works only if System Restore was enabled before the 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 be helpful in recovery procedure

If malware did not delete Shadow Volume Copies of the targeted files, this tool might help to restore encrypted data without paying the ransom.

  • 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.

The official decrypter for Kristina ransomware virus is not available yet.

Finally, you should always think about the protection of crypto-ransomwares. In order to protect your computer from Kristina and other ransomwares, use a reputable anti-spyware, such as ReimageIntego, SpyHunter 5Combo Cleaner or Malwarebytes

How to prevent from getting ransomware

Protect your privacy – employ a VPN

There are several ways how to make your online time more private – you can access an incognito tab. However, there is no secret that even in this mode, you are tracked for advertising purposes. There is a way to add an extra layer of protection and create a completely anonymous web browsing practice with the help of Private Internet Access VPN. This software reroutes traffic through different servers, thus leaving your IP address and geolocation in disguise. Besides, it is based on a strict no-log policy, meaning that no data will be recorded, leaked, and available for both first and third parties. The combination of a secure web browser and Private Internet Access VPN will let you browse the Internet without a feeling of being spied or targeted by criminals. 

No backups? No problem. Use a data recovery tool

If you wonder how data loss can occur, you should not look any further for answers – human errors, malware attacks, hardware failures, power cuts, natural disasters, or even simple negligence. In some cases, lost files are extremely important, and many straight out panic when such an unfortunate course of events happen. Due to this, you should always ensure that you prepare proper data backups on a regular basis.

If you were caught by surprise and did not have any backups to restore your files from, not everything is lost. Data Recovery Pro is one of the leading file recovery solutions you can find on the market – it is likely to restore even lost emails or data located on an external device.

About the author
Lucia Danes
Lucia Danes - Virus researcher

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References