Remove Santa_helper@protonmail.com ransomware / virus (Improved Instructions)

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

Santa_helper@protonmail.com virus Removal Guide

What is Santa_helper@protonmail.com ransomware virus?

Santa_helper@protonmail.com: a new malicious version of OzozaLocker

Santa_helper@protonmail.com virus is a version of the OzozaLocker ransomware which aims to lock certain data found on the infected computers and then earn some easy money by selling the unlock key. Like its initial version, the virus is programmed to apply AES-256 encryption to all of the main “working” documents, files and programs, pictures, archives, etc. We should remind you that this is a very complex, military-grade cipher which has not been decrypted yet. The best you can expect is that the virus creators have left some flaws in the program’s source code which might help bypass the encryption and recover the files this way. In fact, we have already witnessed this in the case of OzozaLocker which has been decontaminated quickly after its release. The users were able to recover their files after downloading and running Emisoft’s OzozaLocker decrypter on the affected computers, and the hackers were left without a penny. Nevertheless, this misfortunate has apparently motivated them to release Santa_helper@protonmail.com malware which, to be fair, features very little changes. Undoubtedly, the hackers are still trying to persuade the victims into purchasing the decryption key from them directly in order to avoid the risk of losing their personal data. Nevertheless, we suggest you remove Santa_helper@protonmail.com from the computer and reject such propositions without hesitation. When you eliminate the virus with ReimageIntego anti-malware, you can then try to redeem your files using the data recovery instructions we provide below the article.

Santa_helper@protonmail.com ransomware drops a message.vbs file on the infected computer’s desktop, explaining what is actually going on with the files and how they can be redeemed. It is probably the only thing that distinguishes this virus version from OzozaLocker which used HOW TO DECRYPT YOU FILES.txt document to display the ransom note. In this particular case, though, the hackers state that the data recovery key will be sent to the users soon after 1 Bitcoin is sent to the indicated Bitcoin wallet account. The payment also must be confirmed by emailing the cyber criminals this key. Below you can see the example of this ransom note:

Files have been encrypted.
If you want to decrypt, please, send 1 bitcoin to address 1J6X2LzDrLyR9EoEDVJzogwW5esq5DyHRB and write me to
e-mail: Santa_helper@protonmail.com
Your key:
[random_string_of_characters]

Unfortunately, even after the money is transferred, the users are still left with the files appended with .LOCKED extensions and jumbled content inside them. This is surely a good reason not to pay the ransom but to focus on Santa_helper@protonmail.com removal instead.

Ransomware distribution and data protection:

Just like the OzozaLocker, Santa_helper@protonmail.com ransomware virus is usually delivered to the targeted computers with the help of malicious spam campaigns, fake software update downloads or corrupt ads. Possibly, there are even more ways to distribute the infection, but these three are most pronounced and persist through most ransomware infiltration cases. Santa_helper@protonmail.com usually disguises itself as JavaScript or WS files that supposedly contain legal documents, online shopping receipts, or Adobe Flash updates. It is not difficult to mistake them for legitimate content and unknowingly allow the virus on the computer. Since you can’t really prevent the virus infiltration, you can at least secure your files by keeping their backup copies separately from the computer.

How to recover your data after Santa_helper@protonmail.com removal?

Santa_helper@protonmail.com virus may not be the most complex of all the ransomware out there, but it should definitely be treated with the same caution. This virus may block your antivirus or other security programs from running the system scan, so you might even have to go through some of the Santa_helper@protonmail.com removal steps manually, to be able to get rid of this parasite successfully. For the sake of your convenience, we have described this process step-by-step just below this article. We should warn you, though, that these guidelines are not meant to remove Santa_helper@protonmail.com but merely reduce its influence on the computer in order to launch the antivirus software. So after you complete them, don’t forget to scan your computer as well!

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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.

Getting rid of Santa_helper@protonmail.com virus. Follow these steps

Manual Santa_helper@protonmail.com removal using Safe Mode

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.
    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.
    Reboot
  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.
    Startup

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
    Downloads
    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):

    %AppData%
    %LocalAppData%
    %ProgramData%
    %WinDir%

After you are finished, reboot the PC in normal mode.

Remove Santa_helper@protonmail.com 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_helper@protonmail.com. 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 ReimageIntego and make sure that Santa_helper@protonmail.com removal is performed successfully.

Bonus: Recover your data

Guide which is presented above is supposed to help you remove Santa_helper@protonmail.com 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_helper@protonmail.com, you can use several methods to restore them:

Quick file restoration using Data Recovery Pro

Data Recovery Pro is a tool that you can use if you are out of time. It runs automatically and recovers files that have been accidentally deleted, or encrypted. To get this software running, follow the instructions below:

  • 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_helper@protonmail.com ransomware;
  • Restore them.

Useful features of Windows Previous Versions

System Restore and Windows Previous Versions features are a ray of light in a situation, when you desperately need to recover important individual files, but not the whole computer system. It is useful to keep the System Restore function enabled because it allows recovering data using the Windows Previous Versions feature. The recovery can be carried out like this:

  • 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”.

Benefits of ShadowExplorer

ShadowExplorer is a useful data recovery tool, but only in cases when the ransomware which infected the computer has not deleted Volume Shadow Copies of the encrypted files. If you are lucky to still have these files intact, complete these steps:

  • 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.

Try out OzozaLocker decrypter

You may also try to recover your file using the OzozaLocker decrypter. This tool may work since Santa_helper@protonmail.com is a version of it which means that it is more or less based on the same source code which may still be flawed enough for the decrypter to work.

Finally, you should always think about the protection of crypto-ransomwares. In order to protect your computer from Santa_helper@protonmail.com and other ransomwares, use a reputable anti-spyware, such as ReimageIntego, SpyHunter 5Combo Cleaner or Malwarebytes

How to prevent from getting Santa_helper@protonmail.com ransomware virus

Stream videos without limitations, no matter where you are

There are multiple parties that could find out almost anything about you by checking your online activity. While this is highly unlikely, advertisers and tech companies are constantly tracking you online. The first step to privacy should be a secure browser that focuses on tracker reduction to a minimum.

Even if you employ a secure browser, you will not be able to access websites that are restricted due to local government laws or other reasons. In other words, you may not be able to stream Disney+ or US-based Netflix in some countries. To bypass these restrictions, you can employ a powerful Private Internet Access VPN, which provides dedicated servers for torrenting and streaming, not slowing you down in the process.

Data backups are important – recover your lost files

Ransomware is one of the biggest threats to personal data. Once it is executed on a machine, it launches a sophisticated encryption algorithm that locks all your files, although it does not destroy them. The most common misconception is that anti-malware software can return files to their previous states. This is not true, however, and data remains locked after the malicious payload is deleted.

While regular data backups are the only secure method to recover your files after a ransomware attack, tools such as Data Recovery Pro can also be effective and restore at least some of your lost data.

About the author
Gabriel E. Hall
Gabriel E. Hall - Passionate web researcher

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