NWA ransomware (Easy Removal Guide) - Decryption Steps Included

NWA virus Removal Guide

What is NWA ransomware?

NWA ransomware is a file locking malware that uses explorer.exe as its main executable

NWA ransomwareNWA ransomware a type of malware that employs a sophisticated encryption algorithm to lock personal files and lock them hostage until the ransom in Bitcoin is paid for the decryptor

NWA ransomware is a data locking malware that stems from Dharma virus family. It also belongs to a long list of other variants released at a similar time, such as ETH, KARLS, 888, and others. While there are minor differences between the versions, all of the viruses are used for money extortion purposes. To achieve that, NWA ransomware authors write up a specific code that would perform a file encryption procedure once the host gets infected. The virus mainly uses AES[1] or DES ciphers to lock up databases, pictures, videos, documents, and other personal files, which names get modified in a particular way: [filename].[original extension].id-[user ID].[dr.crypt@aol.com].NWA. Victims are also greeted with a typical ransom note FILES ENCRYPTED.txt – it explains to users what happened to their personal data and what they should do next. However, experts do not recommend following the instructions provided by hackers and taking care of NWA ransomware removal instead.

Name NWA
Type Ransomware
Family Dharma/CrySiS
File extension [filename].[original extension].id-[user ID].[dr.crypt@aol.com].NWA
Main executable explorer.exe
Encryption algorithm AES or DES
Ransom note FILES ENCRYPTED.txt
Contact dr.crypt@aol.com
Elimination Use reliable security applications like FortectIntego or SpyHunter 5Combo Cleaner

Threats like NWA ransomware do not simply appear on users' machines out of nowhere – malware authors often tackle multiple infiltration techniques in order to make the malicious scheme successful. In most cases, however, hackers rely on victims' inexperience and lack of security measures, as well as careless behavior online. Check out the second section to find out how to avoid such threats like NWA virus infection in the future.

Once the payload of NWA ransomware is executed (it is known the main dropped comes under the name explorer.exe), it performs various system changes to perform file encryption without any interruptions. A secure encryption algorithm is used to modify files, although it does not mean that they are corrupted. Imagine it as using a password to open a document – it is merely a more complicated version of such process.

NWA virus locks up a variety of files, mostly those that are personally used by users, such as .doc, .pdf, .jpg, .rar, .mpeg, .html, .avi, and others. Nevertheless, the malware also skips system and some other files (usually .exe), as hackers' main goal is not to corrupt the system, but rather receive a ransom payment from the victims.

Ransomware developers can ask for a various ransom size, as they claim, it depends on how fast users contact the crooks. NWA malware authors ask victims to use Bitcoin as a payment method, while other hackers are more keep on such digital currency as Monero[2] or DASH.

Additionally, users are also offered a test decryption service. Allegedly, victims can upload one file (it must not contain valuable information) and hackers will decrypt it for free, simply to show that the procedure is possible. Such practice is typical among ransomware authors, as it sometimes creates a false sense of security for the NWA virus victims.

However, never contact cybercrooks. Remember, their main goal is money, and they are not obligated to send you the decryptor. Instead, remove NWA ransomware from your computer and use alternative file recovery methods. Note that not all AV engines can recognize the threat,[3] so we suggest you employ such tools as FortectIntego or SpyHunter 5Combo Cleaner.

Take actions to protect your computer from malware

Ransomware and similar threat actors are not your average computer users, but rather sophisticated individuals who use their knowledge in coding for malicious deeds. Therefore, these people are using a variety of infection methods to spread malware around the world. It includes brute-force attacks (which recently became very popular among malware authors), spam emails, repacked or cracked software, fake updates, drive-by downloads, exploit kits, etc.

In order to protect yourself from personal files loss, compromised computer and a potential money loss, follow these simple tips from industry experts:[4]

  • Download and install modern security solutions that include real-time scanning feature;
  • Patch your system and all the software installed on the device as soon as security updates are released;
  • Do not get tricked by fake updates – only download them from official websites and do not believe a pop-up message embedded on the malicious site that claims the software needs updating;
  • Be very careful when handling emails, especially those located in the Spam box. Email providers use built-in scanners to recognize phishing, and most of such messages are sent to the Spam box. Nevertheless, some malicious emails might get through to your Inbox, so do not open email attachments or click on links unless you are absolutely sure they are genuine;
  • Do not download high-risk files, such as cracks or keygens, as well as pirated software;
  • Do not click on various suspicious links that claim that your PC is infected with a virus, or you won a prize;
  • Use two-factor authentication procedure, as well as a password manager for all your accounts.

NWA ransomware virusNWA is a file locking malware that stems from Dharma/CrySiS virus family

Terminate the malicious activity of NWA ransomware virus

To remove NWA ransomware without too much trouble, you should enter Safe Mode with Networking environment on your Windows computer. Because ransomware usually tampers with various OS processes, it is best to enter a safe environment that temporarily disables the threat and only launches with a few fundamental drivers and processes.

Once there, employ a reputable security application to scan your device thoroughly. We suggest you use FortectIntego, SpyHunter 5Combo Cleaner, or any other software that can detect and terminate .NWA file virus.

After you complete the NWA ransomware removal process, you can attempt file recovery. If you have no backups (which, unfortunately, most people forget to prepare), you can try alternative methods as listed below. While the chances of getting all files back using these means are slim, you might be able to get at least some data back.

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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 NWA virus. Follow these steps

Manual removal using Safe Mode

To make sure NWA ransomware can be removed easily, enter Safe Mode with networking and perform a full system scan with security software:

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 NWA using System Restore

System Restore can also be used to delete the 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 NWA. 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 NWA removal is performed successfully.

Bonus: Recover your data

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

Make use of Data Recovery Pro when trying to get files back locked by .NWA

This recovery software might be able to recover at least some of ransomware-locked files.

  • 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 NWA ransomware;
  • Restore them.

Windows Previous Versions Feature might be useful

If you had System Restore enabled before the ransomware attack, you might have a chance at getting some data back.

  • 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”.

ShadowExplorer might get all your data back under some circumstances

In case the virus failed to delete Shadow Volume Copies, you might be able to recover all your files.

  • 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 decryptor is currently available

Finally, you should always think about the protection of crypto-ransomwares. In order to protect your computer from NWA and other ransomwares, use a reputable anti-spyware, such as FortectIntego, 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
Alice Woods
Alice Woods - Likes to teach users about virus prevention

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