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

removal by Ugnius Kiguolis - - | Type: Ransomware

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 Reimage Reimage Cleaner Intego, 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: Reimage Reimage Cleaner Intego, 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 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.

To remove LightningCrypt virus, follow these steps:

Remove LightningCrypt using Safe Mode with Networking

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

  • 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 LightningCrypt

    Log in to your infected account and start the browser. Download Reimage Reimage Cleaner Intego or other legitimate anti-spyware program. Update it before a full system scan and remove malicious files that belong to your ransomware and complete LightningCrypt removal.

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

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 Reimage Reimage Cleaner Intego 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 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 (;
  • 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 Reimage Reimage Cleaner Intego, SpyHunter 5Combo Cleaner or Malwarebytes

Access your website securely from any location

When you work on the domain, site, blog, or different project that requires constant management, content creation, or coding, you may need to connect to the server and content management service more often. It is a hassle when your website is protected from suspicious connections and unauthorized IP addresses.

The best solution for creating a tighter network could be a dedicated/fixed IP address. If you make your IP address static and set to your device, you can connect to the CMS from any location and do not create any additional issues for server or network manager that need to monitor connections and activities. This is how you bypass some of the authentications factors and can remotely use your banking accounts without triggering suspicious with each login. 

VPN software providers like Private Internet Access can help you with such settings and offer the option to control the online reputation and manage projects easily from any part of the world. It is better to clock the access to your website from different IP addresses. So you can keep the project safe and secure when you have the dedicated IP address VPN and protected access to the content management system.

Backup files for the later use, in case of the malware attack

Computer users can suffer various losses due to cyber infections or their own faulty doings. Software issues created by malware or direct data loss due to encryption can lead to problems with your device or permanent damage. When you have proper up-to-date backups, you can easily recover after such an incident and get back to work.

It is crucial to create updates to your backups after any changes on the device, so you can get back to the point you were working on when malware changes anything or issues with the device causes data or performance corruption. Rely on such behavior and make file backup your daily or weekly habit.

When you have the previous version of every important document or project you can avoid frustration and breakdowns. It comes in handy when malware occurs out of nowhere. Use Data Recovery Pro for the system restoring purpose.

About the author

Ugnius Kiguolis
Ugnius Kiguolis - The mastermind

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