QUIETPLACE virus Removal Guide
What is QUIETPLACE ransomware?
QUIETPLACE ransomware can encrypt important data on your computer and ask for ransom
Ransomware can cause serious damage to personal files and the entire system
QUIETPLACE ransomware is a virus that encrypts users' personal files, such as photos, videos, and documents, using complicated algorithms. This can result in permanent data loss if victims do not have backups of their files. The affected files are appended with the .quietplace extension, and their icons are changed to white pages, making them impossible to open or view. The primary goal of ransomware attackers is to obtain payment for a decryption key.
|TYPE||Ransomware, cryptovirus, data-locking malware|
|DISTRIBUTION||Email attachments, torrent websites, peer-to-peer file-sharing platforms, software vulnerabilities|
|FILE RECOVERY||If no backups are available, recovering data is almost impossible. We list alternative methods that could help you in some cases below|
|MALWARE REMOVAL||Scan your machine with anti-malware software to eliminate malicious files. This will not recover your data.|
|SYSTEM FIX||Malware can seriously tamper with Windows systems, causing errors, crashes, lag, and other stability issues. To remediate the OS and avoid its reinstallation, we recommend scanning it with the ReimageIntego repair tool|
Ransom notes are messages that are delivered to the victim of a ransomware attack, typically through a pop-up window or text file on the victim's computer. The purpose of a ransom note is to inform the victim that their device or files have been encrypted by the ransomware and to demand payment in exchange for a decryption key or tool to restore access to the affected data.
Ransom notes usually include specific instructions for how the victim can pay the ransom, such as the amount of money demanded, the preferred payment method (e.g., Bitcoin), and the deadline for payment. Some ransom notes may also include threats or intimidation tactics, such as warning the victim that the ransom will increase if it is not paid by a certain date or that the victim's data will be permanently destroyed if the ransom is not paid.
The ultimate goal of ransomware creators is to obtain payment from the victim. Ransomware attacks can be highly profitable for the attackers, as they often target individuals or organizations with valuable data that they are willing to pay to have restored. It is important to note that paying the ransom does not guarantee that the victim will receive a working decryption key or that their data will be restored. In fact, some ransomware attacks have been known to deliver fake decryption tools or to simply ignore the victim after payment has been made.
In general, it is best to avoid paying the ransom and instead focus on preventing ransomware attacks by keeping your system and antivirus software up to date and following safe browsing practices.
Cybercriminals want to get paid with crypto but it is not advised to pay
How to avoid ransomware?
To avoid ransomware infections, here are a few tips you can follow:
- Only download software from official and reputable sources. Avoid downloading from Torrent websites or peer-to-peer file-sharing platforms, as these sources may contain malicious files.
- Be cautious of emails from unknown sources or that contain suspicious attachments or links. Do not open attachments or click on links from unknown sources, as they may contain malware.
- Keep your operating system and software up to date with the latest security patches. Software developers regularly release updates to fix vulnerabilities that can be exploited by hackers.
- Enable firewalls and antivirus software on your device. These security measures can help to protect your system from ransomware and other types of malware.
- Regularly back up your important files. Having a backup of your data can help you to recover your files in the event of a ransomware attack.
- Be wary of unexpected or suspicious pop-ups or alerts, especially when visiting unfamiliar websites. These may be attempts to download malware onto your device.
- Use strong, unique passwords for all of your accounts and enable two-factor authentication whenever possible. This can help to prevent unauthorized access to your accounts and prevent ransomware attacks.
- Avoid using public Wi-Fi networks, as they may not be secure and can be vulnerable to hacking attempts.
- Avoid sharing personal or sensitive information online, especially on social media or with unknown parties.
By following these tips, you can help to protect your system from ransomware infections and keep your data safe.
Ransomware removal process
To effectively remove ransomware, it is important to first disconnect the affected machine from the local network. For home users, unplugging the ethernet cable should suffice. In a corporate environment, disconnecting the machine may be more complicated, so it is best to follow the instructions provided in this post.
It is important to prioritize removing the malicious program over attempting to recover your data, as trying to recover your data first can result in permanent loss and can even cause the ransomware to encrypt your files again. Removing the malware should be the first priority. Manual removal of ransomware is a complex process that should only be attempted by those with advanced IT skills.
Instead, it is recommended to use anti-malware tools like SpyHunter 5Combo Cleaner or Malwarebytes to scan your system and remove malicious files and entries automatically. In some cases, malware may prevent you from using antivirus in normal mode, so you may need to access Safe Mode and perform a full system scan from there:
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.
- Click Restart.
- Press 5 or click 5) Enable Safe Mode with Networking.
Repair corrupted system files
Malware infections can lead to serious performance, stability, and usability issues that may require a full Windows reinstall to fix. These viruses can alter the Windows registry database, damage vital bootup and other system files, delete or corrupt DLL files, and more.
Antivirus software is often unable to fix damage caused by malware, and manual troubleshooting can be time-consuming and complex. ReimageIntego is a maintenance tool that can help to fix many of the issues caused by malware infections, such as Blue Screen errors, freezes, registry errors, and damaged DLLs. By using this tool, you may be able to avoid the need to reinstall Windows completely.
- 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.
Try recovering data with third-party software
Only hackers hold the decryption key, which can unlock your files, so if you did not back them up previously, there is a good chance that you will never get them back. You can try using data recovery software, but keep in mind that third-party programs cannot always decrypt files. Whatever the situation may be, we suggest at least trying this method. Before you proceed, copy the corrupted files and place them in a USB flash drive or another external storage device. And remember – only do this if you have already removed the QUIETPLACE ransomware.
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.
Getting rid of QUIETPLACE 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.
Find a working decryptor for your files
File encryption is a process that is similar to applying a password to a particular file or folder. However, from a technical point of view, encryption is fundamentally different due to its complexity. By using encryption, threat actors use a unique set of alphanumeric characters as a password that can not easily be deciphered if the process is performed correctly.
There are several algorithms that can be used to lock data (whether for good or bad reasons); for example, AES uses the symmetric method of encryption, meaning that the key used to lock and unlock files is the same. Unfortunately, it is only accessible to the attackers who hold it on a remote server – they ask for a payment in exchange for it. This simple principle is what allows ransomware authors to prosper in this illegal business.
While many high-profile ransomware strains such as Djvu or Dharma use immaculate encryption methods, there are plenty of failures that can be observed within the code of some novice malware developers. For example, the keys could be stored locally, which would allow users to regain access to their files without paying. In some cases, ransomware does not even encrypt files due to bugs, although victims might believe the opposite due to the ransom note that shows up right after the infection and data encryption is completed.
Therefore, regardless of which crypto-malware affects your files, you should try to find the relevant decryptor if such exists. Security researchers are in a constant battle against cybercriminals. In some cases, they manage to create a working decryption tool that would allow victims to recover files for free.
Once you have identified which ransomware you are affected by, you should check the following links for a decryptor:
- No More Ransom Project
- Free Ransomware Decryptors by Kaspersky
- Free Ransomware Decryption Tools from Emsisoft
- Avast decryptors
If you can't find a decryptor that works for you, you should try the alternative methods we list below. Additionally, it is worth mentioning that it sometimes takes years for a working decryption tool to be developed, so there are always hopes for the future.
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.
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.