LightningCrypt ransomware / virus (Free Guide) - Bonus: Decryption Steps

LightningCrypt virus Removal Guide

What is LightningCrypt ransomware virus?

LightningCrypt takes files to hostage and asks to pay the ransom

LightningCrypt is a crypto-malware[1] that uses a strong encryption cipher to wreck various data stored on the targeted computer. This file-encrypting virus appends .LIGHTNING file extension to each of the corrupted pictures, audio, video, and text files, documents, databases and other widely used records. As soon as all targeted data is locked, ransomware delivers a ransom note in LightningCrypt_Recover_Instructions.txt file and triggers a pop-up window. The threatening letter from cyber criminals tells that trying to recover data or delete LightningCrypt ransomware will lead to the data loss. According to the ransom note, the only way to decrypt files is to transfer 0.17 Bitcoins to the provided address. Once the transaction is made, damaged files should be recovered immediately. However, chances that you will never get back your files are quite high. Cybercriminals created this malicious program to swindle the money from innocent computer users. Thus, they may not bother about decrypting their files because no one can find them and punish for a unkept promise. In case of the cyber attack, we highly recommend focusing on LightningCrypt removal. Scanning affected machine with ReimageIntego, or other reputable malware removal program helps to delete this nasty virus and protect a computer from similar cyber threats in the future.

Ransom note by LightningCrypt ransomware virus

The biggest chances to encounter LightningCrypt is to open an infected email attachment. As soon as a person clicks on such file, malware payload is dropped and executed on the system. Apart from encrypting data, ransomware also modifies the registry and makes some entries in order to run itself automatically when Windows OS is launched. What is more, this cyber infection makes computer’s system vulnerable and might open the backdoor to other malware. For this reason, you should remove LightningCrypt immediately. Letting it stay in the system may allow data-stealing Trojans, various viruses or worms to get inside the computer and cause you even more damage. Unfortunately, virus elimination does not bring back your files. Besides, it’s unknown whether it deletes Shadow Volume Copies[2] of the targeted files or not. If not, there’s hope that encrypted data might be restored with credible third-party software. At the end of this article, you will find detailed instructions how to wipe out malware from the system and try to recover your files.

The image of LightningCrypt ransomware virusLightningCrypt ransomware asks to pay 0.17 BTC for data recovery.

The main ransomware distribution channels

We have briefly mentioned that malicious payload spreads attached in emails. Thus, you can let LightningCrypt ransomware virus to enter the system after clicking on fake statement, parcel delivery information and other “important” document. Crooks became great in social engineering and learned how to convince people into opening an obfuscated Word or PDF file. However, relying on only one distribution channel is not enough. Malware might also enter the system as a bogus software update. Usually, such fake updates show up as pop-up messages that claim about a necessity to install Adobe Flash or Java. However, you should not get tricked, and simply set automatic software update in order to avoid misleading notifications. What is more, you can encounter LightningCrypt in the form of “useful” program in questionable file-sharing websites. Thus, you should avoid using such sites and install software or their updates from official publishers’ websites.

Terminate LightningCrypt virus using malware removal program

For LightningCrypt removal, you will need to employ a professional security software and get rid of it automatically. Manual elimination is not recommended due to the complexity of the virus. As we have mentioned, this cyber parasite may modify Windows Registry, and it might install malicious files all other the system. Identifying them is complicated because ransomware-related components might be named as legitimate system files. Therefore, it’s better to let professional software to detect malicious entries and delete them for you. We suggest you to remove LightningCrypt using one of these tools: ReimageIntego, SpyHunter 5Combo Cleaner or Malwarebytes. Before installing malware removal program, you may need to reboot the device to the Safe Mode first.

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What to do if failed?
If you failed to fix 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 LightningCrypt virus. Follow these steps

Manual removal using Safe Mode

In order to install or access security program, you need to reboot the device to the Safe Mode with Networking as shown below.

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 LightningCrypt using System Restore

Follow the steps below to disable the virus and start the automatic 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 LightningCrypt. 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 LightningCrypt removal is performed successfully.

Bonus: Recover your data

Guide which is presented above is supposed to help you remove LightningCrypt from your computer. To recover your encrypted files, we recommend using a detailed guide prepared by 2-spyware.com security experts.

If you do not have data backups, please try alternative recovery methods presented below. We cannot assure that they will help to restore all your files. However, at least some of them will definitely be rescued.

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

Restore files encrypted by LightningCrypt ransomware using Data Recovery Pro

This tool has been created to restore damaged, deleted and some of the encrypted files. Thus, it should help you as well.

  • 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 LightningCrypt ransomware;
  • Restore them.

Windows Previous Versions feature allows copying individual files

If you need to restore only a couple of most important files, you should take advantage of Windows Previous Versions feature that allows traveling back in computer’s time. By following these steps you will be able to access files before the LightningCrypt 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”.

Try ShadowExplorer

If LightningCrypt virus left Shadow Volume Copies untouched, you could try to restore files using ShadowExplorer.

  • 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.

LightningCrypt decryptor is not available yet.

Finally, you should always think about the protection of crypto-ransomwares. In order to protect your computer from LightningCrypt and other ransomwares, use a reputable anti-spyware, such as ReimageIntego, 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
Ugnius Kiguolis
Ugnius Kiguolis - The mastermind

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