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Remove Shade ransomware (Removal Instructions) - updated Feb 2019

removal by Jake Doevan - - | Type: Ransomware

Shade ransomware is a cryptovirus that recently targeted Russia with a new wave of a spam email campaign

Shade virus 

Questions about Shade ransomware

Shade virus is a ransomware-type infection that targets computers via email spam. This virus has been acknowledged as one of the most damaging and destructive cyber threats known since late 2014. The purpose of this type intruders is to encrypt users' files and demand for payment.[1] When data gets locked, it adds .7h9r, .xtbl, .ytbl and .da_vinci_code, no_more_ransom, .better_call_saul, .heisenberg, and .windows10 extensions to encrypted files. According to the latest information, Shade ransomware targets Russia with the spam email campaign. October 2018 was the start of the particular campaign but ESET team reported[2] that activity stopped during the Holidays. However, between January 1st and 24th crypto malware was especially active when 52% of the detected malicious attachments in the campaign going to Russian addresses. The campaign focused on phishing emails with subject lines impersonating legitimate organizations like B&N Bank.

Name Shade ransomware
Type  Cryptovirus
Ransom note  README1.txt or README10.txt
File extensions  .7h9r, .xtbl, .ytbl and .da_vinci_code, no_more_ransom, .better_call_saul, .heisenberg, and .windows10, .crypted000007
Encryption method  AES-256 
Active since  2014
Distribution Spam email campaigns 
Elimination  Use trustworthy antivirus to remove Shade virus 

This threat exclusively focuses on infecting the European region, specifically, UK, France, Germany, Italy, Ukraine, and Russia. Throughout its existence, the ransomware has managed to earn millions of dollars. Cybercriminals are constantly improving their malicious creations, so there is no doubt that Shade ransomware will attempt to invade as many computers as it can.

The virus locks images, video material, documents, music files and other data it finds on the computer using AES-256[3] encryption method. If this menace has fallen you, find out how to remove Shade virus. Reimage is one of the utilities which speeds up the process.

After the ransomware encrypts all the valuable files, it automatically changes desktop's background and opens up README.txt file which informs you of the encrypted files. The ransom message is provided in two languages – Russian and English. Moreover, the virus also attaches different extensions to each of encrypted files.

Once it marks target files, it displays this ransom note telling that paying the ransom is crucial to recovering the files:

All the important files on your disks were encrypted.
To decrypt the files you should send the following code:
to the e-mail addresses: or
All the attempts of decrypting the information by yourself will result only in irrevocable loss of your data.

Shade uses two methods to deliver the ransom: via email address and Tor server. In the latter case, users are required to access the anonymous browser and then follow the instructions to transfer the money. Even if the data is of vital importance, do not pay the money as it does not guarantee that Shade malware decryption service will help you retrieve your blocked information.

For data recovery, use a free decryption tool that has been already created. You can find its download link at the end of this article besides expert[4] approved tips. All in all, you need to initiate Shade virus removal as soon as possible and then start decrypting your files. 

Shade ransomware virus spam campaign

2019 Update

The newest information regarding Shade ransomware virus surfaced at the end of January. Attackers used phishing campaigns to spread their malware around, mainly targeting Russians. The previously known crypto malware renewed attacks and used malicious JavaScript attachments.

ESET reported that the campaign that was discovered back in October 2018 has been removed after the Holidays, during which Shade virus remain still. According to Juraj Janosik, this second attack is more intense and doubled in volume. The activity with infected spam email attachments was discovered and revealed that 52% o those attachments were sent to Russian email addresses and the rest of them targeted mainly Ukraine, France, Germany, Japan. 

Subject lines on these emails state about order details, updates or payment details and senders impersonate legitimate organizations, for example, Russian B&N Bank or retailer Magnit. Emails even impersonate specific managers or company employees. 

Emails contain file attachments like ZIP archives or documents. The particular campaign included malicious JavaScript hidden in a ZIP archive named or The minute user opens the file ransomware payload is launched on the device. As Janosik reported, direct downloader immediately launched Shade virus and performs encryption on users' files.

Researcher stated:

Once extracted and launched, the JavaScript file downloads a malicious loader, detected by ESET products as Win32/Injector. The malicious loader decrypts and launches the final payload – the Shade ransomware. Our telemetry data shows hundreds of such URLs, all ending with the string “ssj.jpg”, hosting the malicious loader file.

Shade ransomware collects users' personal information

Cybercriminals have upgraded Shade virus, and now this malware installs a remote administration tool (RAT) upon its arrival on the victim's computer. First of all, the ransomware checks the computer and scans it to find a particular type of documents, which indicate that the computer is used by accounting departments only in Russian-speaking organizations.

In case it detects these documents, it does not launch the ransomware and installs Teamspy Trojan instead. This Trojan is also known as SpY-aGENT, TVRAT, or TVSPY. Trojan then drops a modified version of TeamViewer, 7ZIP tool, NirCmd utility as well as TeamViewer VPN driver and RDP Wrapper Library on the computer system. With a help of this set of tools, cybercriminals manage to modify the operating system's settings and control the PC system remotely.

Criminals spy on computer user in order to decide how much money to ask from him in exchange for a decryption key; besides, they modify the ransom note for individual victims as soon as they sort out what threats to use against particular computer users. This is a dangerous technique and users must take precautions to protect their computers from Shade attacks!

Shade ransomware virus uses red alert
The ransom note used by Shade ransomware is written in red.

Malware distribution techniques include safe-looking emails

Ransomware infection may occur after downloading the infected attachment via malicious email messages. They contain a .zip file which includes an infected file, for example, PAYMENT.vbs, PAYCHECK.vbs, PENALTY.vbs. Once it is opened, it automatically releases the malicious payload and download ransomware to your computer. Then the virus spreading all over the disks and encrypts your files.

Also, malware may infect your computer via a Trojan, alternatively known as an exploit kit. It is especially detested for its ability to disguise as a legitimate file. In order to detect it, it is of utmost importance to install a reputable anti-spyware program, which will track down the malware.

As the most common ransomware distribution technique is spam email campaigns, malicious actors make spam emails looking more legitimate while impersonating known organizations or even government institutions, banks, popular companies. You should note that this is the common technique and delete suspicious emails more frequently. 

Shade virus can be stopped

Europol, the Dutch National High Tech Crime Unit, Intel, and Kaspersky have joined forces to terminate the Shade virus. These companies entered the previously launched project “No More Ransom.” The cooperation presented the long-awaited results for the international community – a decryption tool. You can also find it below this article. After raiding multiple command and control servers, the cyber allied forces were able to locate the one distributing Shade Trojan.

What is more, they deliver good news for its victims, a free decryption tool now can be found on the Internet. This joint operation has deprived the developers of the ransomware of acquiring additional 1,45 million USD. The project attracted more participants as the virtual community, particularly businesses and thousands of ordinary users, have been continuously attacked by file-encrypting malware.

The companies also expect Microsoft to join in the near future. Its cooperation would be highly beneficial taking into account that the absolute majority of ransomware viruses are created for Windows OS systems.

Shade virus removal and data recovery requires professional help

If you have just discovered .7h9r, .xtbl, .ytbl, .da_vinci_code or .no_more_ransom extensions added to your important files, it means that your computer is probably infected with Shade virus. As you may have already understood, this is a dangerous virus which was created for the only reason – make its victims pay the ransom. 

There is a way to fix everything without supporting the hijackers. First of all, you need to install a reputable anti-spyware program, such as Reimage or Malwarebytes, to remove Shade ransomware permanently. After the elimination process, you should either restore your encrypted files from backup or try this program: Shade decryption tool.

If you want to prevent such loss in the future, make sure to back up your files or store the important data in different locations, i.e., data storage domains. Storing files online, e.g., Google Drive or OneDrive, might not be secure because they are linked to the PC. The information kept online is always exposed to a greater risk than domestic data storing devices.

If the virus is shutting down security programs and prevents Shade ransomware removal, take a look at the instructions below to recover the access and continue with the virus extermination.

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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 SpyHunter 5.
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 Shade virus, follow these steps:

Remove Shade using Safe Mode with Networking

Try entering the Safe Mode with Networking before scanning the system with anti-malware:

  • 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 Shade

    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 Shade removal.

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

Remove Shade 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 Shade. 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 Shade removal is performed successfully.

Bonus: Recover your data

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

Luckily, virus experts have come up with date recovery solution — a tool capable of bypassing Shade ransomware encryption and allowing the users to access their files again. We will put a link to this tool below. Nevertheless, you might be infected with a virus version which is resistant to this decryption technique. In such a case, we recommend using one of the alternative data recovery techniques below. 

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

Opting for Data Recovery Pro

This utility is one of the tools users may shift their attention after getting attacked by the ransomware. It may succeed in recovering your valuable files.

  • 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 Shade ransomware;
  • Restore them.

How does Windows Previous Version feature work?

If System Recovery function is enabled before the virus attack, it saves the copies of the files every time you make new changes to them. This means that you can recover the previously automatically saved copies of your files to the a chosen version of them. To do it properly, follow the guidelines presented here:

  • 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”.

The benefits of ShadowExplorer

This tool is effective as long as the virus does not delete the Volume Shadow Copies of your files. You can give this method a try by following the steps below.

  • 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.

Decrypter for Shade ransomware

Here, you can download free decryption tool which will unlock your files and you will not have to pay the ransom.

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

About the author

Jake Doevan
Jake Doevan - Computer technology expert

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  1. PeterR says:
    June 14th, 2016 at 2:14 am

    This threat is very easy to remove, I installed Spyhunter and it removed everything for me :)))

Your opinion regarding Shade ransomware