Severity scale:  
  (95/100)

Remove Lulz ransomware (Virus Removal Guide) - Decryption Steps Included

removal by Ugnius Kiguolis - - | Type: Ransomware

Lulz ransomware is crypto-malware that belongs to Project Root RaaS scheme

Lulz ransomware
Lulz ransomware is a new malware strain that stems from ransomware-as-a-service scheme Project Root

Lulz ransomware is a new file locking malware strain that was first analyzed by security experts from SentinelOne.[1] Once inside the system, it encrypts 195 file types located on the local and connected drives with the help of the AES-256 encryption algorithm and appends .lulz market to each of them (for example, a picture.jpg is turned into picture.jpg.lulz). After that, the data becomes inaccessible, and victims are asked to pay a ransom in order to regain access to it – a brief message from hackers appears in the “F*ck.txt” file, as well as a desktop wallpaper which is altered from a preset one.

Lulz ransomware is one of the first releases based on Project Root – a Ransomware-as-a-service[2] scheme. Crooks, even without much of a programming proficiency, can buy the malicious payload via the Dark Web and use it for a cut from the profits made by collecting ransom payments from victims.

Name Lulz ransomware
Type Crypto-malware
Originates from The malware comes from a ransomware-as-a-service Project Root
Operating platforms The malware is developed for Windows and Linux operating systems and supports 32-bit and 64-bit architectures
File extension  Each of the affected files is appended with .lulz, although the extension can vary and be anything, as set by the attacker
Encryption method  Lulz ransomware uses symmetric encryption AES-256, which uses one key to lock and unlock the data on the host machine
Ransom note Users' desktop wallpaper is altered that tells them to open a “Fu*k.txt” file that is placed into each of the affected files folder
File recovery File decryption is only possible via backups, using third-party recovery software (low chance) or by paying cybercriminals (not recommended)
Ransomware removal To get rid of Lulz ransomware, a scan with a robust anti-malware software is advised. If malware prevents security software from operating properly, enter Safe Mode with Networking as explained below
Recovery Ransomware is known to alter multiple system files, and some of them cannot be recovered by anti-malware software. In such a case, we advise scanning the machine with Reimage Reimage Cleaner , which could remove damage done by the infection

Lulz ransomware, while not extraordinary, has multiple tricks up its sleeve. Similarly to LockerGoga, the malware is written in Golang, which allows the payload to avoid both machine-learning and signature-based detection techniques by anti-virus engines. Nevertheless, most of the security solutions are equipped with advanced engines and might be able to stop the infection before file encryption is performed. Thus, for Lulz ransomware removal and protection, use reliable protection measures.

Lulz virus is programmed to exit the machine upon detecting a sandbox environment,[3] such as VMware and Oracle VirtualBox (these are usually used by security researchers to analyze malware samples). Before proceeding with the infection, it will also attempt to establish the connection to one of amazonaws.com addresses, to ensure that internet connection is available on the targeted machine. Lulz ransomware will then try to disable the installed anti-virus applications.

Once the preparations of Windows or Linux operating systems are done, Lulz ransomware will look for the following file types and encrypt them with a secure symmetric encryption AES-256:

001, 3fr, 7z,asset ,d3dbsp, ,mdbackup ,pkpass, ,psk ,rar accdb, ai, apk, arch00, avi, bar, bay, bc6 bc7 big, bik bin, bkf bkp blob bsa c, cab, cas, cdr, cer, cfr, con, cpp, cr2, crt, crw, css, csv, das DayZProfile, dazip, db0, dbf, dcr, der, desc, dmp, dng, doc, docm, docx, dwg, dxg, epk eps, erf, esm ff flv, forge fos, fpk fsh, gdb, gho,iso gif, hkdb hkx, hplg, htm, html, hvpl, ibank, icxs, indd, itdb, itl, itm itm, iwd, jpe, jpeg, jpg, js, kdc, kf, lbf, litemod, lng lrf ltx lvl m2, m3u, m4a, map, mcgame, mcmeta mdb, mdf, mef, menu, mlx, mp3, mp4, mpq, mpqge, mrwref, ncf, nrw, ntl, odb, odc, odm, odp, ods, odt, orf, p7b, p7c, p12, pak, pdd, pdf, pef, pem, pfx, png, ppt, pptm, pptx, psd, pst, ptx, py, qdf, qic, r3d, raf, raw, re4, rgss3a, rim rofl, rtf, rw2, rwl, sav sb, sc2save sid, sidd, sidn, sie, sis, slm snx, sql, sr2, srf, srw, sum, svg, t12,t13, tax, tor, torrent ttarch2 txt, unity3d upk, vdf, vfs0 vpk vpp_pc vtf, w3x, wb2, wma, wmo wmo, wmv, wotreplay, wpd, wps, x3f, xf, xlk, xls, xlsb, xlsm, xlsx, ztmp

The changed wallpaper will refer users to the ransom note Fu*k.txt which states the following:

You are hacked
your all files have been encrypted
if you want you files back
email us here : xxxxxx@protonmail.com with your unique id => xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
F*ck you!!!

Please do not contact cybercriminals behind the ransomware, as, looking at the way they communicate with victims, it is highly likely that they might not send back the Lulz ransomware decryptor, even after payment is transferred. Instead, you could attempt to recover data with the help of third-party recovery software such as Data Recovery Pro or Shadow Explorer. Under certain circumstances, alternative methods may help you retrieve the locked data, although the chances are very low.

Lulz ransomware virus
Lulz ransomware is a type of computer virus that encrypts all personal files on the host machine with AES cipher and asks to pay ransom for data return

However, before that, you should remove Lulz ransomware from your computer, which might prove to be a challenge for some, unfortunately. Due to the sophisticated functionality of malware, we highly recommend you access Safe Mode with Networking for the process. After you are sure that all Lulz virus components are eliminated, you could also use Reimage Reimage Cleaner to recover from system errors caused by malware infection.

Ransomware authors can use multiple different distribution methods

The ransomware-as-a-service scheme allows multiple different threat actors to buy the service and customize it before deploying it to the victims. Therefore, even the same malware might have different features or be delivered in different methods, depending on its distributors' preferences. If you want to protect your machine from ransomware, you should be ready for everything – check out these security tips from industry researchers:[4]

  • Employ reputable anti-malware software that uses advanced detection methods and provides real-time protection;
  • Enable Firewall and protect your WiFi connection with a secure password;
  • When using Remote Desktop, change the default TCP port, use a strong password and always disconnect from the service once complete;
  • Beware of spam email attachments that ask you to enable macros – these phishing emails might seem legitimate from the first sight;
  • Never download pirated software installers or cracks/keygens – these tools are often infused with malware;
  • Patch your system with the latest security patches;
  • Set all the installed software to be updated automatically.

Finally, you should backup your files – this will save a great deal of frustration when dealing with ransomware infection.

Lulz ransomware locked files
Once the virus appends the .lulz extension, one of the files can be opened

Lulz ransomware elimination might get tricky – here's what to do

As we previously mentioned, the Lulz virus is capable of using evasion techniques and might also be able to disable your anti-virus software. Luckily, the Safe Mode environment usually tackles these problems and prevents ransomware from reaching its goals. Therefore, if you fail to remove Lulz ransomware normally, you should access the Safe Mode, as explained below. If your security software does not start or got corrupted by malware, you should download the installer from an unaffected computer, transfer it via the USB or DVD, install it, and only then run a full system scan.

Once you complete Lulz ransomware removal, you should first backup all your data. Paying criminals is one of the possibilities of recovering your files but be aware that:

  • the provided tool might not work or be contaminated with other malware;
  • crooks may simply ignore you after they get your money.

Therefore, rather attempt to recover your data with third-party solutions first. Likely these will not be effective for all files, although some parts may be recovered successfully. If no luck, you should wait for security experts to find vulnerabilities within ransomware code and release a working Lulz ransomware decryptor in the future.

Offer
do it now!
Download
Reimage Happiness
Guarantee
Download
Reimage Cleaner Happiness
Guarantee
Compatible with Microsoft Windows Supported versions Compatible with OS X Supported versions
What to do if failed?
If you failed to remove virus damage using Reimage Reimage Cleaner, submit a question to our support team and provide as much details as possible.
Reimage Reimage Cleaner has a free limited scanner. Reimage Reimage Cleaner 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 Reimage Cleaner, try running Combo Cleaner.

To remove Lulz virus, follow these steps:

Remove Lulz using Safe Mode with Networking

Lulz ransomware might be difficult to remove. If you are struggling, you should access Safe Mode with Networking and attempt the process from there:

  • 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 Lulz

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

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

Remove Lulz using System Restore

System Restore function can also serve as an effective method when trying to get rid of malware:

  • 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 Lulz. 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 and make sure that Lulz removal is performed successfully.

Bonus: Recover your data

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

Data Recovery Pro might be used to recover ransomware-locked files

Data Recovery Pro is one of the leading recovery tools on the market. However, it is not designed to recover data that has been locked by ransomware, to the results might not always be positive.

  • 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 Lulz ransomware;
  • Restore them.

Windows Previous Versions feature might be a solution

In some cases, Windows Previous Versions feature can be used to retrieve files one-by-one. However, this method only works if the System Restore function was enabled prior to the Lulz ransomware 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”.

Make use of ShadowExplorer

Ransomware is programmed to perform certain changes in the system. However, just like any other software, it might fail to execute certain functions because of bugs within the programming code. If that is the case and the Lulz virus failed to delete Shadow Volume Copies, you have a high chance of retrieving all your files with 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.

No decryption tool is currently available

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

About the author

Ugnius Kiguolis
Ugnius Kiguolis - The mastermind

If this free removal guide helped you and you are satisfied with our service, please consider making a donation to keep this service alive. Even a smallest amount will be appreciated.

Contact Ugnius Kiguolis
About the company Esolutions

References


Your opinion regarding Lulz ransomware