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Santa Encryptor ransomware. How to remove? (Uninstall guide)

removal by Gabriel E. Hall - - | Type: Ransomware

Santa Encryptor ransomware is another virus using Christmas theme

Santa Encryptor ransom note

Santa Encryptor virus is a Christmas-themed ransomware virus that emerged in December 2017. In the lock screen ransom note, malware claims that files on the targeted computer are encrypted with AES-256 encryption. However, researchers tell that it might be only using XOR cryptography.

Though, the virus is still in development. However, Santa Encryptor ransomware is not the first malicious program that wants to make Christmas season terrible. Last year, the cyber community was hit by MerryChristmas ransomware that took computer users’ files to hostage too. New versions of malware were spotted this year too.[1]

According to the latest research data, Santa Encryptor is executed from ChristmasPresent.exe that might be spread as a fake program, update or malicious email attachment. Once inside, it might cause important system changes to boot with system startup, start data encryption and deliver a lock-screen message.

The ransom note imitates the design of the WannaCry; however, it has an image of the Santa Claus. It informs about data encryption and decryption, asks to send $150 to the provided Bitcoin wallet address and shows the time left for the payment:

Oop's Your File's Have Been Encrypted!
What Happened To Your PC?
Your Important File's Have Been Encrypted Many Of Your Documents, Photos, Databases And Other File's Are No Longer Accessible. Because They Have Been Encrypted Using AES-256
How Can I Decrypt My File's?
Your Lucky Santa Is Here To Help You To Decrypt Your File's With the Power Of Christmas Spirit! Santa Needs You To Send $150 Worth Of Bitcoin To The Given Bitcoin Address Below
How Do I Pay? Their Are A Few Links For You To Buy The Bitcoin, Send $150 Worth Of Bitcoin To The Given Address To Decrypt Your FIles
Send $150 Worth Of Bitcoin To This Address:

However, following the instructions appeared on the lock screen window is not recommended. The malicious program barely encrypts files at the moment. Thus, you should remove Santa Encryptor ransomware from the computer without hesitation.

Keep in mind that you are still dealing with a file-encrypting virus. Thus, you should not try to locate and eliminate ransomware-related components manually. You should complete Santa Encryptor removal with reputable malware removal software, such as Reimage.

Possible ways used for ransomware distribution

Cyber criminals might spread crypto-virus using:[2]

  • malicious spam emails;
  • fake software downloads or updates;
  • illegal downloads;
  • malicious ads.

These methods are widely used by other malware developers. Authors of malware apply social engineering tactics to trick people into opening obfuscated email attachment that contains malware executable or downloading fake program/update by delivering a misleading pop-up. For this reason, you should remain vigilant to avoid a cyber attack.

Malware researchers from virusi.bg[3] warn that file-encrypting viruses might also use exploit kits and take advantage of the outdated software. Thus, you should regularly update programs and operating system.

Additionally, you should still install antivirus and backup data. Modern malware is capable of bypassing even the strongest security detection. Thus, you have to be prepared for the worst.

Terminate Santa Encryptor virus and restore your files

The correct way to remove Santa Encryptor is to scan the system with Reimage, Plumbytes Anti-MalwareMalwarebytes Malwarebytes or another malware removal tool. However, the malicious program might be designed to block security tools, so you should reboot to Safe Mode with Networking or try System Restore first (instructions below).

After Santa Encryptor removal, you should be able to restore your files using third-party recovery tools or backups. Though, if you have never backed up your data, you should do that as soon as you regain yours.

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What to do if failed?
If you failed to remove virus damage using Reimage, submit a question to our support team and provide as much details as possible.
Reimage is recommended to remove virus damage. 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.
Alternative Software
Different security software includes different virus database. If you didn’t succeed in finding malware with Reimage, try running alternative scan with Malwarebytes.
Alternative Software
Different security software includes different virus database. If you didn’t succeed in finding malware with Reimage, try running alternative scan with Combo Cleaner.

To remove Santa Encryptor virus, follow these steps:

Remove Santa Encryptor using Safe Mode with Networking

Start your computer in Safe Mode with Networking mode to eliminate the virus without any problems:

  • 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 Santa Encryptor

    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 Santa Encryptor removal.

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

Remove Santa Encryptor 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 Santa Encryptor. 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 Santa Encryptor removal is performed successfully.

Bonus: Recover your data

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

Data Recovery Pro – alternative way to restore files

Nevertheless, this program was originally created for recovering files after system wreckage; victims of ransomware find it useful too.

  • 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 Santa Encryptor ransomware;
  • Restore them.

Windows Previous Versions feature is useful if you need to restore only a few files

This Windows feature allows accessing previously saved versions of files. However, in order to copy individual entries, you should have been enabled System Restore before Santa Encryptor attack.

  • 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 recovers files from Shadow Volume Copies

Ransomware does not seem to delete shadow copies of the corrupted files. Thus, ShadowExplorer might help to recover them:

  • 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.

Santa Encryptor decryption tool is not available yet.

Finally, you should always think about the protection of crypto-ransomwares. In order to protect your computer from Santa Encryptor and other ransomwares, use a reputable anti-spyware, such as Reimage, Malwarebytes MalwarebytesCombo Cleaner or Plumbytes Anti-MalwareMalwarebytes Malwarebytes

About the author

Gabriel E. Hall
Gabriel E. Hall - Passionate web researcher

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References