Severity scale:  

Sage 2.2 ransomware virus. How to remove? (Uninstall guide)

removal by Julie Splinters - - | Type: Ransomware

Sage 2.2 ransomware hits computer users again in October 2017

Sage 2.2 ransomware virus

Sage 2.2 ransomware is a new version of crypto-virus which hails from the same family of malware as Sage ransomware and Sage 2.0. After infecting the system, the virus encodes files and adds .sage file extensions to their names. Afterward, it plays an audio message, deletes Volume Shadow Copies, drops a ransom note !HELP_SOS.hta and changes the desktop wallpaper with !HELP_SOS.bmp image. The virus demonstrated outstanding activity in October 2017.

First signs of Sage 2.2 ransomware were spotted in mid-January this year. One of the peculiarities of this malware was that it delivered the malicious infection in the double zipped .zip folder[1] which is named as [random numbers] or This .zip folder contains either a .doc or .js file. 

Beware that some emails even do not present any message content. However, some of them might be disguised as notifications sent from Central Security Treatment Organization. The malware works on a basic model – it sends UDP (User Datagram Protocols) to thousands of IP addresses.

After extracting the content, the malware would execute via spam1.exe. It might also hide under the disguise of startup.php. Later on, Sage 2.2 ransomware downloads its main payload to %Temp% folder and replicates itself to C:\Users\[loginname]\AppData\Roaming.

Such behavior triggers the UAC messages. Luckily, you might interfere with its operation by canceling this command. The UAC message pretends to be initiated by Microsoft Corporation. The only hint referring to the virus is the odd location of AppData folder. As soon as you notice any of these symptoms, remove Sage 2.2 right away.

The developers of Sage 2.2 virus do not seem to waste lots of their time while renewing this ransomware – the most of it is built using an old code of Cerber. But, having in mind its popularity, we should all think about a proper security software and knowledge. Otherwise, malware can infect your computer system without any sign as it spreads under different names.[2]

Questions about Sage 2.2 ransomware virus

Speaking of similarities with Cerber, this virus also has ability to “speak” to the victim. The malicious virus plays the following audio message for the victim using Microsoft SAPI:

Attention! Attention! This is not a test!
All your documents, data bases, and other important files were encrypted, and Windows can not restore them without special software.
User action is required as soon as possible to recover the files.

The links provided in the ransom messages lead to a sophisticated payment website that consists of Payment, Instructions, Test decryption, and Support pages. 

If, unfortunately, this threat has already descended upon you, follow Sage 2.2 ransomware removal steps. Launch Reimage to speed up the process.

As it is common for this type of threats, the malware alarms victims to pay the ransom within the specified amount of time. Needless to say, that these files are said to be deleted after the expiration. Soon afterward, Sage 2.0 was released[3].

It demanded over 2 000 USD for the decryption of files. Data recovery instructions reveal that the developers are trying their best to scare users to comply with the demands. That's why they emphasize that there is no other solution to retrieve the files.

October 23, 2017, update: BlankSlate campaign stops spreading Locky, starts pushing Sage 2.2

On October 13th, researchers spotted an increased number of complaints from computer users affected by Sage 2.2 ransomware virus. It appears that the BlankSlate malspam campaign stopped distributing Locky ransomware and started pushing the 2.2 version of Sage ransomware instead.

The so-called BlankSlate attacks have enormous reach, and there is no surprise why so many computer users received deceptive emails containing the virus. Initial analysis of these fraudulent emails shows that each of them contains a .ZIP attachment entitled with a random set of digits.

Once extracted, the .ZIP file drops another .ZIP file. Inside the second .ZIP, a JavaScript file waits for the user to double-click it. Once the victim does so, the malicious script connects to a remote domain, downloads Sage 2.2 and runs it on victim's computer immediately. This wreaks absolute havoc on the system, corrupting each valuable file without leaving any easy ways to recover it.

The new version demands 0.17720 BTC (approximately $1000) as a ransom. The provided ransom price is valid for 7 days. After 7 days of non-payment, it doubles. Experts from[4] do not recommend paying the ransom since there are no victims who confirmed that crooks actually recover the data after receiving the payment.

The exceptional specifics of crypto-ransomware distribution

The malware preys on new victims through spam messages. Bear in mind that ransomware often disguises under fake invoice and other official documents. Do not rush opening the attachments as you will need to deal with the termination of such threat.

The crooks have also thought about additional transmission methods. Sage 2.2 virus has been detected as these trojan horse versions:

  • Win32.Trojan.WisdomEyes.16070401.9500.9973
  • Trojan/Win32.SageCrypt.C1798570
  • Trojan.Encoder.10307
  • Win32/Trojan.Ransom.aac

Beware that Cerber distributors have shifted to spreading Sage 2.2 malware, so they might use the old tricks to boost up the infection rate. In the end of 2016, Cerber was spreading with the assistance of RIG exploit kit[5] and corrupted Adobe Flash Player attachments.[6]

Also, it was revealed that Sage 2.2 might disguise as an Adobe Service Manager as well. Besides, it is also known that this threat is able to delete shadow volume copies. Thus, it is of key importance not only to protect your system with an anti-malware program but stay vigilant while browsing online and save backups of the most important data.

Remove Sage 2.2 virus for good

When it comes to a file-encrypting malware, you should save every minute if possible. For that reason, start Sage 2.2 removal immediately. Install an anti-spyware program, e.g. Reimage or Plumbytes Anti-MalwareNorton Internet Security, eradicate the malware completely. If you are having difficulties eliminating the threat due to the paralysis of the system, enter Safe Mode with Networking.

The following instructions will show how to launch it. Then, you will be able to remove Sage 2.2 virus. Keep in mind that the software does not decrypt the files. For that, you will need to look for alternative solutions. A few are presented below.

We might be affiliated with any product we recommend on the site. Full disclosure in our Agreement of Use. By Downloading any provided Anti-spyware software to remove Sage 2.2 ransomware virus you agree to our privacy policy and agreement of use.
do it now!
Reimage (remover) Happiness
Reimage (remover) Happiness
Compatible with Microsoft Windows Compatible with OS X
What to do if failed?
If you failed to remove infection using Reimage, submit a question to our support team and provide as much details as possible.
Reimage is recommended to uninstall Sage 2.2 ransomware virus. Free scanner allows you to check whether your PC is infected or not. If you need to remove malware, you have to purchase the licensed version of Reimage malware removal tool.
More information about this program can be found in Reimage review.
Press mentions on Reimage
Alternate Software
We have tested Malwarebytes's efficiency in removing Sage 2.2 ransomware virus (2017-10-23)
We have tested Malwarebytes's efficiency in removing Sage 2.2 ransomware virus (2017-10-23)

To remove Sage 2.2 virus, follow these steps:

Remove Sage 2.2 using Safe Mode with Networking

To remove Sage 2.2 from Windows, reboot your computer to Safe Mode with Networking first. In this mode you will disable your ransomware.

  • 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 Sage 2.2

    Log in to your infected account and start the browser. Download Reimage or other legitimate anti-spyware program. Update it before a full system scan and remove malicious files that belong to your ransomware and complete Sage 2.2 removal.

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

Remove Sage 2.2 using System Restore

Use System Restore to get rid of ransomware if your anti-virus program is blocked. Steps that you need to perform are given bellow:

  • 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 Sage 2.2. 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 and make sure that Sage 2.2 removal is performed successfully.

Bonus: Recover your data

Guide which is presented above is supposed to help you remove Sage 2.2 from your computer. To recover your encrypted files, we recommend using a detailed guide prepared by security experts.

If your files are encrypted by Sage 2.2, you can use several methods to restore them:

What is Data Recovery Pro?

This app comes in handy when locating damaged files. Though there is no 100% guarantee that the program will recover all files, you might still give it a try.

Opt for Windows Previous Versions function

Follow the steps to retrieve the previously automatically saved copy of your file. Though this method takes time, but you might succeed in recovering some of the files. 

  • 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 Sage Decrypter to recover your files encrypted by virus

At the moment, there is no LEGITIMATE Sage 2.2 decryptor for files' recovery. However, make sure you do NOT think about purchasing the one that belongs to the developers of this malware. It can be just another scam used to extort people's money. 

About the author

Julie Splinters
Julie Splinters - Malware removal specialist

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 Julie Splinters
About the company Esolutions


Removal guides in other languages