L33TAF Locker ransomware: another cyber infection that damages personal files
L33TAF Locker virus is a brand new ransomware virus that has been created for swindling money from the computer users. This file-encrypting malware mostly spreads via malicious emails; however, the computer might get infected after clicking on the malicious ad or after installing bogus software. On the affected computer, L33TAF Locker ransomware starts data encryption process. It uses a combination of AES-256 and RSA-4096 ciphers that are known as military grade encryption. Therefore, data decryption is complicated and nearly impossible without a specific decryption key. Malware developers have this key and offer victims to purchase it. However, the payment has to be made within 48 hours; later the unique decryption key will be destroyed, and victims lose the chance to restore their files. Keep in mind that there are alternative data recovery methods, so you should not follow these instructions. Instead of that, remove L33TAF Locker from the computer with the help of ReimageIntego or SpyHunter 5Combo Cleaner. These malware removal tools will not restore your files; however, you will have a clean and virus-free computer. Bear in mind that as long as ransomware dwells on your PC, you risk experiencing even bigger problems because your computer’s system is vulnerable and looks attractive for other malware as well.
Questions about L33TAF Locker ransomware virus
Following data encryption, L33TAF Locker malware delivers a ransom note where victims are informed about damaged files and offered the solution to get them back. The hackers provide Bitcoin address and tell users to contact them via email address firstname.lastname@example.org and send one encrypted file. Once they receive the payment, will send back the decryption tool which is supposed to be created only for the specific device. However, this contact with the developers of the L33TAF Locker virus might end up badly. You might have to wait for their response and decryption tool forever. Indeed, hackers tend to disappear after receiving the money. The purpose of ransomware projects is the same – to make as much money as possible, so every transferred Bitcoin fulfills their needs. Moreover, if you receive data recovery software, you cannot be sure that it is safe to use. It might include other computer infections or encrypt your files again. For this reason, we recommend initiating L33TAF Locker removal as soon as you notice it on your device.
Distribution methods and tips to avoid ransomware
L33TAF Locker malware is still under investigation; however, it is already known that it uses the same distribution techniques like other file-encrypting viruses. The higher chances to catch this computer infection is to open infected email attachment. Therefore, you should be careful with all emails shown up in your inbox. If you don’t know the sender and not sure if you were supposed to get this email, do not open any attachments or links, no matter how important it may look. If you think about opening the document, make sure you can trust the sender by looking for information online or contacting the institution directly. Malvertising is another popular ransomware distribution technique. Cyber criminals can place malicious ads not only on the potentially dangerous websites but to the reliable ones as well. For this reason, you should be careful with eye-catchy or aggressive ads, banners or pop-ups. They usually include malicious content. Furthermore, you should stay away from suspicious downloads and software updates. Keep in mind that all necessary updates and safe to use programs can be found on the official developers’ websites.
Steps for L33TAF Locker virus elimination
People should terminate this computer infection just like any other ransomware virus. L33TAF Locker removal requires employing strong malware removal tool, for example, ReimageIntego or SpyHunter 5Combo Cleaner. Of course, you can choose your preferred program, but don’t forget to update it first. Using up-to-date program, you have to scan affected computer’s system. If malware prevents you from accessing or updating software, have a look at our prepared instructions below. Following these instructions, you will remove L33TAF Locker within several minutes.
To remove L33TAF Locker virus, follow these steps:
Manual L33TAF Locker removal using Safe Mode
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 L33TAF Locker using System Restore
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 L33TAF Locker. 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 L33TAF Locker from your computer. To recover your encrypted files, we recommend using a detailed guide prepared by 2-spyware.com security experts.
After L33TAF Locker ransomware virus attack, do not consider paying the ransom. Remove malware from the computer and restore your files from the backups or using additional data recovery methods presented below.
If your files are encrypted by L33TAF Locker, you can use several methods to restore them:
Restore files with Data Recovery Pro
Data Recovery Pro is a professional tool that is capable of restoring the wide range of damaged files. Therefore, this program might be useful for recovering files after the L33TAF Locker ransomware attack.
- 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 L33TAF Locker ransomware;
- Restore them.
Data recovery with a help of Windows Previous Versions feature
Victims can restore individual files using Windows Previous Versions feature if they have enabled System Restore function before the attack. If this function hasn’t been enabled, this method do not help.
- 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”.
Retrieve files with ShadoExplorer
ShadowExplorer might be a useful tool for data recovery. However, before using it, make sure that L33TAF Locker virus has not deleted Shadow Volume Copies of the targeted files.
- 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 L33TAF Locker and other ransomwares, use a reputable anti-spyware, such as ReimageIntego, SpyHunter 5Combo Cleaner or Malwarebytes
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.