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SkyFile ransomware. How to remove? (Uninstall guide)

removal by Julie Splinters - - | Type: Ransomware

SkyFile is a new ransomware virus targeting more than 7k file types

SkyFile ransomware virus example

SkyFile is ransomware[1] detected at the beginning of April 2018. It targets more than 7k file types and locks them with the .sky file extension. For this purpose, it uses hacker-preferable AES cipher. To decrypt files encrypted by SkyFile ransomware, victims have to contact developers via getsend@tutanota.com email and provide a private ID indicated in the HOW TO DECRYPT.txt file.

Name of the virus SkyFile
Type Ransomware
Detection date April 07, 2018
Distribution Malspam, exploit kits, corrupted RDP, fake update installers, etc. 
Extension used .sky
Related files HOW TO DECRYPT.txt, skyfile.exe, SkyFile Decryptor.exe
Symptoms Personal files locked, ransom note on desktop
Danger level High. Initiates changes within Windows registry, changes boot order. Can cause system;s crash and permanent loss of personal files.
Download Reimage and run a full system scan with it to eliminate SkyFile ransomware

According to cybersecurity experts, the SkyFile seems to be messed up regarding cryptography, though the unusual application of AES cipher does work. The virus contains multiple Russian debug logs and is programmed to “Attack” using EternalBlu.

The SkyFile payload might be distributed in many ways, including compromised remote desktop apps (RDP), spam email attachments, drive-by-download, exploit kits, fake update, and other social engineering techniques. Usually, the virus disguises under skyfile.exe file.

As soon as the ransomware payload is being executed, it scans for targeted file types (approximately 7, 000 file extensions) and enables AES-256 cipher to render them inaccessible. Each file locked by SkyFile virus gets .sky suffix, which cannot be removed manually. Apart from file encryption, the ransomware creates a HOW TO DECRYPT.txt ransom note, which says:

Oops, all your files have been encrypted =(
To decrypt your files, write to me at the e-mail: getsend@tutanota.com
Your data for decryption:
Private ID: ***
Private Key: *****

As you can see, the ransom node is not explicit. Crooks does not expatiate on the decryption possibilities or the sum of ransom. All they ask is to contact them via getsend@tutanota.com and provide a personal ID number for the instructions.
Experts have also found that the SkyFile ransomware leaves a SkyFile Decryptor.exe file on the desktop, which once clicked opens a window saying:

Oops, your files have been encrypted. Such as: photos, videos, documents, etc. To decrypt your files, read HOW TO DECRYPT.txt

The decryptor is called SkyFile Decryptor | Zeus CitadeL. However, the ransomware does not share common traits with Zeus.

According to ransomware experts, it shouldn't take long for them to decrypt SkyFile ransomware since it's poorly developed. Thus, paying the ransom, regardless of its side, is not recommended.

Experts from NoVirus.uk[2] outline the best scenario that the victims of the SkyFile virus should follow. According to them, people should immediately download a powerful anti-malware tool, say Reimage, Plumbytes Anti-MalwareWebroot SecureAnywhere AntiVirus or Malwarebytes Anti Malware and run a full system scan.

Alternatively, they can use an already installed anti-virus, except that they have to update its definitions. Then, run a scan with a security tool and remove SkyFile ransomware completely. Note that manual removal is not possible. By trying to clean malicious files by yourself, you can cause permanent data loss or damage the system otherwise.

By the way, SkyFile removal may be hindered by ransomware helper objects. To bypass them, you may need to boot the system into Safe Mode with Networking. You can find an ultimate SkyFile removal tutorial at the end of this article.

Ransomware virus developers employ multiple social engineering strategies to disseminate the payloads

Hackers are not only capable of creating complex encrypting programs and ransom payment schemes but are also advanced in ransomware distribution techniques. It seems that they are great psychologists who know how to make ordinary PC users click on links or doc files infected with ransomware.

The most successful distribution strategy is spam.[3] These tactics is widely used for more than a decade and remains to be the “best” trickery.” Hackers create fake emails imitating authorities or well-known companies and append infected files. Once opened, these files release the .exe file, which subsequently corrupts personal files on victim's PC.

In addition to malspam, ransomware can spread via fake software updates, phishing sites or drive-by-download attacks. Thus, it's a must to keep an-antivirus program with real-time protection enabled all the time. Besides, fight curiosity and avoid clicking on suspicious-looking content.

Do not delay SkyFile removal

If you have already got infected with this ransomware, the top priority task is to initiate a full SkyFile removal. As we have already pointed out, you won't be able to do that manually. Select a reliable security tool and run a full system scan with it.

If SkyFile removal process fails because of malicious components that block anti-virus scanner, you should boot your PC into Safe Mode with Networking and try a scan this way. For more information, please follow the instructions provided below. You can also find instructions on how to decrypt files encrypted by SkyFile virus using alternative methods.

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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 SkyFile ransomware. 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.
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Manual SkyFile virus Removal Guide:

Remove SkyFile using Safe Mode with Networking

As we have already pointed out, the SkyFile ransomware removal may not be permitted. In this case, boot the system into Safe Mode with Networking and try running a scan in safe environment:

  • 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 SkyFile

    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 SkyFile removal.

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

Remove SkyFile using System Restore

If the Method 1 failed, try alternative way to boot the system into Safe environment:

  • 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 SkyFile. 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 SkyFile removal is performed successfully.

Bonus: Recover your data

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

Recover your files using Data Recovery Pro

Data Recovery Pro is a professional software utility capable of retrieving files lost after system's crash or accidental removal. Nevertheless, it is powerful enough to crack ransomware ciphers, thus give it a try:

Exploit Previous Windows Version

  • 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”.

Employ ShadowExplorer

According to malware experts, SkyFile virus development is poor. Thus, it's very likely that its developers missed Command Prompt scrips that eliminate Volume Shadow Copies. To check that, please perform the steps given below:

  • 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.

No SkyFile decryptor developed yet

Finally, you should always think about the protection of crypto-ransomwares. In order to protect your computer from SkyFile and other ransomwares, use a reputable anti-spyware, such as Reimage, Plumbytes Anti-MalwareWebroot SecureAnywhere AntiVirus or Malwarebytes Anti Malware

About the author

Julie Splinters - Malware removal specialist

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