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Remove ODIN ransomware / virus (Removal Guide) - updated Nov 2016

removal by Julie Splinters - -   Also known as Odin virus | Type: Ransomware

What is ODIN ransomware virus?

ODIN ransomware hails from an infamous family of Locky virus. This cyber threat was released as the addition to the notorious campaign that has already affected thousands of computer users who found their files useless. According to experts, this ransomware is named after its exceptional feature – it can encrypt your files and append .odin file extension to each of them. Next, it drops HOWDO_text.html and similar files on your computer’s desktop that let you know about a special ransom that you need to pay in exchange for the decryption key. As the original virus is continuously developing and keeping the virtual community under its shadow of terror, you should be extremely careful with this malware. Though it is not difficult to remove ODIN virus itself, the decryption of files is a complicated matter. Fortunately, 2-spyware researchers have already found several methods that can be used for recovering files. If you are already infected and misfortune enough not to have backups of your encrypted files, collect yourself. First of all, it is necessary to complete proper and full ODIN virus removal in order to proceed to file recovery.

It seems that the main reason why we have to deal with Odin is the success of Locky virus which exceeded its developers’ expectations. Most probably, they decided to retain the title of most dangerous ransomware threat for a longer while and presented ODIN. Since the emergence of its original version in February, the world has seen already several versions ,e.g., Zepto, Bart, Thor, etc. Now the hackers could not resist the current trend to name the ransomware after movie or fictional characters and gave their virus a grand name as well. As well as the original bearer of this name – Odin – the oldest and main deity in Norse mythology, the virus also tries to invoke similar overwhelming impression. It employs common RSA-2048 and AES-128 encryption algorithms to encode personal files. Since these strategies are based on a mathematical equity, it is a difficult task to find an alternative private key for the unique public key.

Odin virus easily encrypts files

Questions about ODIN ransomware virus

Moreover, in order to inflict more damage, .ODIN file extension malware developers set a broad range of extensions for the virus to encrypt. It may take a while for the virus to locate your possibly valuable files and append .odin file extension to them. However, when it is finally done with the process, the ransomware presents three files: _[2_digit_number]_HOWDO_text.html, HOWDO_text.bmp, and HOWDO_text.html in which the victims are disclosed their current situation. An example of the latter ransom note variant can be seen below:

Picture of Odin ransom note

As its predecessor, ODIN ransomware also asks to employ anonymity-assuring Tor browser. Within it, the victims are expected to remit the payment and supposedly receive the private key to unlock the files. Brush aside any considerations to waste money and concentrate on the elimination of the malware. Let Reimage Reimage Cleaner Intego to speed up the procedure. After that, you may still have a chance to recover your data. You can do that using one of our suggested data recovery techniques at the end of the article. 

The latest techniques used to spread ODIN

Odin is still in its active distribution stage. The most of its examples are detected spreading with the help of spam (a full explanation of this distribution technique and initial methods used to promote this ransomware can be found in “virus detection” section). However, we should exclude the latest spam campaign noticed in the middle of November which relies on law-related theme. The misleading email message that reports: PLEASE READ YOUR FAX T6931. The attachment added to this malicious email message is named as “Criminal Case against_You-O00_Canon_DR-C240IUP-4VF.rar”. Seems quite tricky, right? However, no matter how interesting the criminal case you are possibly dealing with seems, you should know that the attachment is infected with the Trojan Downloader which is set to download Odin virus to the system.

Update October 2016: ransomware spotted on Honolulu Fire Department’s computers

The end of September marked the biggest cyber attack ODIN ransomware has committed so far. Around 20 computers located in Honolulu’s Fire Department were hacked after one of the administration employees opened a personal email containing the infection. Soon after the news had reached the authorities, the Fire Department workers were ordered to shut down their computers to curb the spread of the virus. Luckily, the emergency response system was not affected and could continue to operate while the IT sector worked on eliminating ODIN virus from the network of administrative computers. Nevertheless, the attack did not pass that easily: Fire Department’s email exchange, internal administrative duties and communication have been paralized for a whole day until all ODIN files were decontaminated. The virus was successfully removed and the whole data was restored from backups, so the authorities did not have to empty their wallets to get their institution’s files back. You can only imagine, though, what disastrous consequences would fall on the companies which haven’t backuped their data. 

It seems that the virus is becoming more advanced as it continues to spread around the world. Though Europe is still its main target, although the computers in Asian countries, USA and African continent are becoming increasingly infected as well. Thus, major company breaches are more likely to happen. As the program improves, the method it uses to infect computers also changes. Some time ago, the virus used WSF or JS files to download the virus executable on the computer. Now, instead of the executable, DLL file is used to deploy the malicious ODIN script. It seems like a small change, but it is a whole another challenge for the antivirus developers. The virus will only keep expanding and improving, so institutions, companies and private users simply have to start taking about the preventative measures.

Odin virus detection

Most likely, .odin file extension virus might have used the chance to take control of your device via an infected spam message. It is a common strategy for the majority of ransomware threats as this tendency, unfortunately, proves to be successful. After receiving a fake invoice or simply a video with an intriguing headline, few suspect that there might lie a greater danger behind such veneer. The recent reports claim that currently, the virus is delivered as a fake receipt file, with a subject title “Receipt [random numbers]” or similar. Thus, the users who regularly shop online can easily give into the curiosity and click on the infected attachment. Then, it is only a matter of time when the virus sets out to perform its mischief. In addition, some versions of ODIN malware might also be distributed via exploit kits. In order to ward off such insidious files, it is crucial to improving your security with a proper anti-spyware application.

ODIN ransomware elimination steps

Since you are dealing with a complex file-encrypting malware, we do not recommend meddling with it manually. In relation to this, it would be better to entrust ODIN ransomware virus removal to a security application. There are multiple of them, which get rid of the virus: Reimage Reimage Cleaner Intego, SpyHunter 5Combo Cleaner or Malwarebytes. After the completion of the termination, you can think about data recovery. Therefore, we present several suggestions below this article. However, note that you need to remove ODIN virus first and only then try to decode the files. Otherwise, the data recovery might turn out into failure.

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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 ODIN virus, follow these steps:

Remove ODIN using Safe Mode with Networking

  • 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 ODIN

    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 ODIN removal.

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

Remove ODIN 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 ODIN. 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 ODIN removal is performed successfully.

Bonus: Recover your data

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

Unfortunately, there is currently no ODIN decryption tool that could help lift the encryption. The only option the criminals suggest is purchasing the Locky Decrypter. We strongly recommend abstaining from doing that, because this decryption tool is a malicious program and may damage your system instead of fixing it. That is why we present a couple of methods that could be used to recover the encrypted files without having to pay the extortionists. 

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

Recover your files encrypted by Odin with the help of Data Recovery Pro

This application is specifically designed for locating missing files and folders in your computer. Though it was initially designed for system wreckage cases, when your files get lost or damaged, you might as well give it a chance and try to retrieve your files using this application.

  • 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 ODIN ransomware;
  • Restore them.

Use Windows Previous Version feature to decrypt your files encrypted by Odin

In abstract terms, this functionality turns back time. In other words, it reverts the operating system to the previous build. Likewise, you gain time to copy the files which are not affected by the ransomware yet. There is one “but” to this useful feature. It only works if the System Restore function was enabled before the Odin virus was deployed on the system. Besides, this technique will not unlock all of your files. So choose wisely what important documents you want to have recovered. 

  • 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”.

Using ShadowExplorer method for data recovery

ShadowExplorer is a software created for recovering files using the Volume Shadow Copies — a type of backup information that is stored on the system. There is a risk, though, that Odin ransomware, like its predecessor Locky, deletes Shadow Copies of files as soon as it enters the system. In such a case, this method will not be effective. Nevertheless, it is still worth giving it a try. Learn how to recover your data using ShadowExplorer here:

  • 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.

Finally, you should always think about the protection of crypto-ransomwares. In order to protect your computer from ODIN 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
Julie Splinters
Julie Splinters - Malware removal specialist

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  1. Cracker2 says:
    September 28th, 2016 at 4:39 am

    The entire Trinity is approaching. Then Locky, now Odin, the next will be Thor ransomware?

  2. dominic says:
    October 24th, 2016 at 8:41 pm

    one of our office machines was just taken down by a version that tags things in .thor so it is here now

  3. magmaRick says:
    September 28th, 2016 at 4:41 am

    Locky still retains the power. It s quite creepy that no one has released the decrypter for Locky, not to mention this version.

  4. Miranda.Vevo says:
    September 28th, 2016 at 4:43 am

    So do we do now? Wait until it gets us?

  5. blackmamba says:
    October 6th, 2016 at 7:04 am

    OMG. This isnt funny. I have this virus keeping all my photos blocked.

  6. Cracker says:
    October 6th, 2016 at 7:05 am

    To Cracker2: I am more than sure that you are right!

  7. Borabora says:
    October 6th, 2016 at 9:07 am

    What a disgusting infection this virus is! Got infected yesterday and havent removed it yet!

  8. JDH - New Zealand says:
    October 26th, 2016 at 5:33 am


    Can anyone help me to decrypt files that have been infected with the odin file extn ransomware ?

    All articles available suggest there is no decryption programme available ?

    I would appreciate any help please. All the photos of our children have been encrypted and we have very few of them back up. Desperate to file a solution.


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