Locked-In ransomware / virus (Virus Removal Guide)

Locked-In virus Removal Guide

What is Locked-In ransomware virus?

New Locked-In ransomware approach: what has changed?

Malware researchers are on the hunt for new ransomware variants, and today we’d like to present new Locked-In virus variant. Traits of this ransomware project were discovered in the past and used to append .novalid file extensions to encrypted data[1]. This time, the virus has another name and is known as Locked-in ransomware or RemindMe ransomware virus. The virus uses AES-256 encryption[2], which is hard to crack, however, there are some flaws in this virus’ code that actually can help malware analysts discover a method to decrypt victims’ files for free. Therefore, if you’ve become a victim of this virus, do not rush to take your credit card and pay the ransom these frauds demand, because shortly it might be possible to recover lost data for free.

Picture of Locked-In ransom note and payment page

Differently than the .novalid virus, the new Locked-In ransomware leaves a ransom note titled RESTORE_CORUPTED_FILES.HTML, which looks quite similar to the one that previous virus’ version used to drop on victims’ desktops. The virus explains that files have been encrypted and that the only way to revert them to their initial condition is to pay a ransom and obtain a decryption key+software. According to the payment page we’ve got to access from the malware example we’ve tested, crooks want 1 Bitcoin as a ransom. Again, you should not pay the ransom as long as malware analysts mention that free decryption might be possible. This happens when ransomware authors are amateur programmers who, luckily, can’t do malicious activities properly. So now you should be thinking about Locked-In removal. You can get rid of this virus with the help of anti-malware tools like FortectIntego or SpyHunter 5Combo Cleaner, or antivirus if you have one. Please do not try to remove Locked-In malware manually as it is a highly complicated procedure that shouldn’t be carried out by inexperienced PC users. To learn how to properly delete the infection, see instructions presented under the article.

How did my PC get contaminated with this malicious virus?

Ransomware uses very similar distribution techniques as the vast majority of malevolent computer programs[3]. It obfuscates itself as a safe-looking file and spreads via email, malware-laden ads, and sometimes via exploit kits. Of course, the most efficient technique to defend your computer from malware attacks is to set up a proper anti-malware protection. On top of that, you should follow your common sense when opening links, emails, email attachments, and any other files on the Internet as they can look secure, but be harmful in reality. You do not want that to happen, so keep all your software up-to-date, install a proper anti-malware solution, and avoid suspicious material online[4].

Can I remove Locked-In virus manually?

We highly recommend you not to try this unless you are an experienced IT expert or programmer. It is hard to remove Locked-In virus as it is a sophisticated and hideous computer program, which spreads malicious files on the system in various folders and also modifies Registry Keys[5]. The wrong configuration of Windows Registry or elimination of the wrong files can lead to problems such as system instability and so on. Therefore, we suggest you automatic Locked-In removal option, which is precisely described down below.

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

Manual removal using Safe Mode

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.
  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.
  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.

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
    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):


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

Remove Locked-In 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 Locked-In. 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 FortectIntego and make sure that Locked-In removal is performed successfully.

Bonus: Recover your data

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

As we have stated before, you should not rush to pay the ransom as free decryption might be possible shortly. Therefore, we suggest you remove Locked-In ransomware, create a copy of encrypted data, and keep up with the news about this virus. Meanwhile, you can try one of these data decryption methods.

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

Employ Data Recovery Pro

When it comes to data recovery, this tool can come in handy. You should try restoring some of your files with it:

  • 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 Locked-In ransomware;
  • Restore them.

Search for Windows Previous Versions

This method is useful when you need to recover some individual files that you need as soon as possible. P.S. This method works only if you have enabled System Restore function in the past.

  • 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”.

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

How to prevent from getting ransomware

Stream videos without limitations, no matter where you are

There are multiple parties that could find out almost anything about you by checking your online activity. While this is highly unlikely, advertisers and tech companies are constantly tracking you online. The first step to privacy should be a secure browser that focuses on tracker reduction to a minimum.

Even if you employ a secure browser, you will not be able to access websites that are restricted due to local government laws or other reasons. In other words, you may not be able to stream Disney+ or US-based Netflix in some countries. To bypass these restrictions, you can employ a powerful Private Internet Access VPN, which provides dedicated servers for torrenting and streaming, not slowing you down in the process.

Data backups are important – recover your lost files

Ransomware is one of the biggest threats to personal data. Once it is executed on a machine, it launches a sophisticated encryption algorithm that locks all your files, although it does not destroy them. The most common misconception is that anti-malware software can return files to their previous states. This is not true, however, and data remains locked after the malicious payload is deleted.

While regular data backups are the only secure method to recover your files after a ransomware attack, tools such as Data Recovery Pro can also be effective and restore at least some of your lost data.

About the author
Olivia Morelli
Olivia Morelli - Ransomware analyst

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