Nqhd ransomware (virus) - Decryption Steps Included
Nqhd virus Removal Guide
What is Nqhd ransomware?
Nqhd ransomware is an infection that focuses on encryption because it provides the reason for direct money demands
The message that cybercriminals deliver states about the only option to get files back - paying the ransom
Nqhd file virus is a malicious program designed to encrypt all personal data on the computer and then demand ransom for its return. Once inside the system, it encrypts all personal pictures, videos, documents, archives, and other files by using a strong encryption algorithm. The file-locking process ends in useless files. The virus also appends a .nqhd extension in the process to mark files affected by the ransomware. Victims can no longer access these files and are required to have a unique key that is in possession of cybercriminals behind the ransomware.
Once the encryption is complete, the virus drops a ransom note _readme.txt – instructions from cybercriminals. It explains to victims what happened to their files and claims that the only method to return them is by paying a ransom for a decryption tool. For negotiation purposes, crooks also provide emails email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org.
People get encouraged to pay the demanded sum to virus creators, but even contacting them can go badly for victims. Nqhd ransomware is a cryptovirus that belongs to a malware family known as Djvu ransomware. This malware encrypts all the important files and restricts access to them. On the ransom note, cybercriminals explain that the only way to recover data is by paying ransom in Bitcoin.
These claims should encourage people to send money for the alleged recovery, but experts recommend staying away from these shady threat actors. There might be decryption options available for some of the versions, but generally, this family releases new versions every week, so researchers cannot provide the universal tool that successfully recovers all affected files for victims.
While it is true that Nqhd virus files require a unique decryption key to unlock them, cybercriminals might not keep their promises, resulting in financial losses. In this article, we will explain how to get rid of malware and use alternative methods for data recovery. Remove the threat first and then worry about the issues with locked data.
|Type||Ransomware, crypto-virus, file locking virus|
|Malware family||STOP ransomware virus/ Djvu virus|
|Extension||Files get appended with .nqhd extension after the file-locking|
|Distribution||Files with malicious payloads can be sent via emails, pirating packages. Torrent sites and game cheats or licensed software cracks get to spread the particular versions of the family|
|File recovery||If no backups are available, recovering data is almost impossible. Nonetheless, we suggest you try the alternative methods that could help you in some cases – we list them below|
|Malware removal||Perform a full system scan with powerful security software. Tools like this can detect malware and remove all files. Depend on tools like SpyHunter 5Combo Cleaner, Malwarebytes|
|System fix||Malware can seriously tamper with Windows systems, causing errors, crashes, lag, and other stability issues after it is terminated. To remediate the OS and avoid its reinstallation, we recommend scanning it with the RestoroIntego repair tool|
Nqhd ransomware virus decryption option
According to the virus authors, victims need to contact them via email and provide their personal ID. Those IDs get formed during the encryption process. These keys are needed for the identification and decryption process later on. However, there are two particular ways these keys get formed.
The ransomware is trying to connect with various remote servers, but cryptovirus might fail to do so. If it cannot properly communicate while encrypting your files, then the program uses a built-in encryption key that is not unique for every device. It is the same for each version of the virus. It means that all victims get the same ID.
This means decryption will be easier if offline keys are used instead of online ID numbers. However, that is rare with new versions like the Nqhd virus. The previous versions since August 2019 cannot be decrypted. Miia, Loov, Dehd are the ones that got released before this one and those are not using online IDs.
The infection focuses on locking the common data
If your computer got infected with one of the Djvu variants, you should try using Emsisoft decryptor for Djvu/STOP. It is important to mention that this tool will not work for everyone – it only works if data was locked with an offline ID due to malware failing to communicate with its remote servers.
Even if your case meets this condition, somebody from the victims has to pay criminals, retrieve an offline key, and then share it with security researchers at Emsisoft. As a result, you might not be able to restore the encrypted files immediately. Thus, if the decryptor says your data was locked with an offline ID but cannot be recovered currently, you should try later. You also need to upload a set of files – one encrypted and a healthy one to the company's servers before you proceed.
- Download the app from the official Emsisoft website.
- After pressing Download button, a small pop-up at the bottom, titled decrypt_STOPDjvu.exe should show up – click it.
- If User Account Control (UAC) message shows up, press Yes.
- Agree to License Terms by pressing Yes.
- After Disclaimer shows up, press OK.
- The tool should automatically populate the affected folders, although you can also do it by pressing Add folder at the bottom.
- Press Decrypt.
From here, there are three available outcomes:
- “Decrypted!” will be shown under files that were decrypted successfully – they are now usable again.
- “Error: Unable to decrypt file with ID:” means that the keys for this version of the virus have not yet been retrieved, so you should try later.
- “This ID appears to be an online ID, decryption is impossible” – you are unable to decrypt files with this tool.
More on file recovery options and virus removal
Nqhd virus is a serious threat, but do not forget that machine is affected more than file-locking. Your files are not the thing cybercriminals worry about. Money is their purpose and goal, so do not contact them and do not consider paying. You need to remove the ransomware as soon as possible.
That is achievable with particular anti-malware tools that are capable of detecting and removing threats with all related files. Antivirus programs like SpyHunter 5Combo Cleaner or Malwarebytes can locate possibly malicious files and treat them properly. The system can get cleaned. and your machine becomes virus-free. However, not that decryption is not the same as removing the virus.
Nqhd file virus can be eliminated, and those malicious processes terminated, but do not forget about performance improvement. You need to clear the infection, repair system functions, and then you can rely on particular file recovery options that are available to you.
Viruses like this commonly get detected by more powerful AV engines
Since many users do not prepare proper data backups prior to being attacked by ransomware, they might often lose access to their files permanently. Paying criminals is also very risky, as they might not fulfill the promises and never send back the required decryption tool.
While this might sound terrible, not all is lost – data recovery software might be able to help you in some situations (it highly depends on the encryption algorithm used, whether ransomware managed to complete the programmed tasks, etc.). Since there are thousands of different ransomware strains, it is immediately impossible to tell whether third-party software will work for you.
Therefore, we suggest trying regardless of which ransomware attacked your computer. Before you begin, several pointers are important while dealing with this situation:
- Since the encrypted data on your computer might permanently be damaged by security or data recovery software, you should first make backups of it – use a USB flash drive or another storage.
- Only attempt to recover your files using this method after you perform a scan with anti-malware software.
Install data recovery software
- Download Data Recovery Pro.
- Double-click the installer to launch it.
- Follow on-screen instructions to install the software.
- As soon as you press Finish, you can use the app.
- Select Everything or pick individual folders where you want the files to be recovered from.
- Press Next.
- At the bottom, enable Deep scan and pick which Disks you want to be scanned.
- Press Scan and wait till it is complete.
- You can now pick which folders/files to recover – don't forget you also have the option to search by the file name!
- Press Recover to retrieve your files.
Additional tips for dealing with ransomware
Nqhd ransomware is a serious infection that uses blackmail to get money from people, but there are additional issues with the infection. Malware alters various settings, files, adds other threats and files on the machine to ensure persistence. It might be even distributed with the help of trojans. All these infections come with their processes and damage.
There are things you can do to avoid the infection. The infiltration involves malicious files spread around with the help of spam emails or pirating services. If you avoid these platforms and stay away from opening random emails, you can avoid the infection in the first place.
The more common ways used to spread Nqhd ransomware like this include malicious files added to spam emails. Those emails can claim about order information, list links to shady sites. Also, these campaigns can use names like DHL, UPS, eBay other known companies and brands to attract the attention of the receiver.
Then the macro virus can be triggered with one click of a button that enables them on a Word or Excel file. Immediately after that, ransomware is executed. The particular family is known for spreading via cracks for games or software like Adobe, Photoshop. Unfortunately, that is not a process you could notice yourself, so file encryption is the procedure that indicates malware infection. Make sure to remove the virus.
Do not forget about the virus damage that can ensure persistence and lead to another round of Nqhd virus encryption. Once a computer is infected with malware, its system is changed to operate differently. For example, an infection can alter the Windows registry database, damage vital bootup, and other sections, delete or corrupt DLL files, etc. You need to take care of that.
Once a system file is damaged by malware, antivirus software is not capable of doing anything about it, leaving it just the way it is. Consequently, users might experience performance, stability, and usability issues, to the point where a full Windows reinstallation is required.
Therefore, we highly recommend using a one-of-a-kind, patented technology of RestoroIntego repair. Not only can it fix virus damage after the infection, but it is also capable of removing malware that has already broken into the system thanks to several engines used by the program. Besides, the application is also capable of fixing various Windows-related issues that are not caused by malware infections, for example, Blue Screen errors, freezes, registry errors, damaged DLLs, etc.
- Download the application by clicking on the link above
- Click on the ReimageRepair.exe
- If User Account Control (UAC) shows up, select Yes
- Press Install and wait till the program finishes the installation process
- The analysis of your machine will begin immediately
- Once complete, check the results – they will be listed in the Summary
- You can now click on each of the issues and fix them manually
- If you see many problems that you find difficult to fix, we recommend you purchase the license and fix them automatically.
Getting rid of Nqhd virus. Follow these steps
Isolate the infected computer
Some ransomware strains aim to infect not only one computer but hijack the entire network. As soon as one of the machines is infected, malware can spread via network and encrypt files everywhere else, including Network Attached Storage (NAS) devices. If your computer is connected to a network, it is important to isolate it to prevent re-infection after ransomware removal is complete.
The easiest way to disconnect a PC from everything is simply to plug out the ethernet cable. However, in the corporate environment, this might be extremely difficult to do (also would take a long time). The method below will disconnect from all the networks, including local and the internet, isolating each of the machines involved.
- Type in Control Panel in Windows search and press Enter
- Go to Network and Internet
- Click Network and Sharing Center
- On the left, pick Change adapter settings
- Right-click on your connection (for example, Ethernet), and select Disable
- Confirm with Yes.
If you are using some type of cloud storage you are connected to, you should disconnect from it immediately. It is also advisable to disconnect all the external devices, such as USB flash sticks, external HDDs, etc. Once the malware elimination process is finished, you can connect your computers to the network and internet, as explained above, but by pressing Enable instead.
Restore Windows "hosts" file to its original state
Some ransomware might modify Windows hosts file in order to prevent users from accessing certain websites online. For example, Djvu ransomware variants add dozens of entries containing URLs of security-related websites, such as 2-spyware.com. Each of the entries means that users will not be able to access the listed web addresses and will receive an error instead.
Here's an example of “hosts” file entries that were injected by ransomware:
In order to restore your ability to access all websites without restrictions, you should either delete the file (Windows will automatically recreate it) or remove all the malware-created entries. If you have never touched the “hosts” file before, you should simply delete it by marking it and pressing Shift + Del on your keyboard. For that, navigate to the following location:
Create data backups to avoid file loss in the future
One of the many countermeasures for home users against ransomware is data backups. Even if your Windows get corrupted, you can reinstall everything from scratch and retrieve files from backups with minimal losses overall. Most importantly, you would not have to pay cybercriminals and risk your money as well.
Therefore, if you have already dealt with a ransomware attack, we strongly advise you to prepare backups for future use. There are two options available to you:
- Backup on a physical external drive, such as a USB flash drive or external HDD.
- Use cloud storage services.
The first method is not that convenient, however, as backups need to constantly be updated manually – although it is very reliable. Therefore, we highly advise choosing cloud storage instead – it is easy to set up and efficient to sustain. The problem with it is that storage space is limited unless you want to pay for the subscription.
Using Microsoft OneDrive
OneDrive is a built-in tool that comes with every modern Windows version. By default, you get 5 GB of storage that you can use for free. You can increase that storage space, but for a price. Here's how to setup backups for OneDrive:
- Click on the OneDrive icon within your system tray.
- Select Help & Settings > Settings.
- If you don't see your email under the Account tab, you should click Add an account and proceed with the on-screen instructions to set yourself up.
- Once done, move to the Backup tab and click Manage backup.
- Select Desktop, Documents, and Pictures, or a combination of whichever folders you want to backup.
- Press Start backup.
After this, all the files that are imported into the above-mentioned folders will be automatically backed for you. If you want to add other folders or files, you have to do that manually. For that, open File Explorer by pressing Win + E on your keyboard, and then click on the OneDrive icon. You should drag and drop folders you want to backup (or you can use Copy/Paste as well).
Using Google Drive
Google Drive is another great solution for free backups. The good news is that you get as much as 15GB for free by choosing this storage. There are also paid versions available, with significantly more storage to choose from.
You can access Google Drive via the web browser or use a desktop app you can download on the official website. If you want your files to be synced automatically, you will have to download the app, however.
- Download the Google Drive app installer and click on it.
- Wait a few seconds for it to be installed.
- Now click the arrow within your system tray – you should see Google Drive icon there, click it once.
- Click Get Started.
- Enter all the required information – your email/phone, and password.
- Now pick what you want to sync and backup. You can click on Choose Folder to add additional folders to the list.
- Once done, pick Next.
- Now you can select to sync items to be visible on your computer.
- Finally, press Start and wait till the sync is complete. Your files are now being backed up.
Report the incident to your local authorities
Ransomware is a huge business that is highly illegal, and authorities are very involved in catching malware operators. To have increased chances of identifying the culprits, the agencies need information. Therefore, by reporting the crime, you could help with stopping the cybercriminal activities and catching the threat actors. Make sure you include all the possible details, including how did you notice the attack, when it happened, etc. Additionally, providing documents such as ransom notes, examples of encrypted files, or malware executables would also be beneficial.
Law enforcement agencies typically deal with online fraud and cybercrime, although it depends on where you live. Here is the list of local authority groups that handle incidents like ransomware attacks, sorted by country:
- USA – Internet Crime Complaint Center IC3
- United Kingdom – ActionFraud
- Canada – Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre
- Australia – ScamWatch
- New Zealand – ConsumerProtection
- Germany – Polizei
- France – Ministère de l'Intérieur
If your country is not listed above, you should contact the local police department or communications center.
Manual 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.
Finally, you should always think about the protection of crypto-ransomwares. In order to protect your computer from Nqhd and other ransomwares, use a reputable anti-spyware, such as RestoroIntego, SpyHunter 5Combo Cleaner or Malwarebytes
How to prevent from getting ransomware
Do not let government spy on you
The government has many issues in regards to tracking users' data and spying on citizens, so you should take this into consideration and learn more about shady information gathering practices. Avoid any unwanted government tracking or spying by going totally anonymous on the internet.
You can choose a different location when you go online and access any material you want without particular content restrictions. You can easily enjoy internet connection without any risks of being hacked by using Private Internet Access VPN.
Control the information that can be accessed by government any other unwanted party and surf online without being spied on. Even if you are not involved in illegal activities or trust your selection of services, platforms, be suspicious for your own security and take precautionary measures by using the VPN service.
Backup files for the later use, in case of the malware attack
Computer users can suffer from data losses due to cyber infections or their own faulty doings. Ransomware can encrypt and hold files hostage, while unforeseen power cuts might cause a loss of important documents. If you have proper up-to-date backups, you can easily recover after such an incident and get back to work. It is also equally important to update backups on a regular basis so that the newest information remains intact – you can set this process to be performed automatically.
When you have the previous version of every important document or project you can avoid frustration and breakdowns. It comes in handy when malware strikes out of nowhere. Use Data Recovery Pro for the data restoration process.
- ^ Encryption. Wikipedia. The free encyclopedia.
- ^ Lesvirus. Lesvirus. Spyware and virus removal guides.
- ^ Virus sample. Virustotal. Online malware scanner.