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Spartacus ransomware. How to remove? (Uninstall guide)

removal by Linas Kiguolis - - | Type: Ransomware

Spartacus ransomware is a crypto-virus that uses hard-coded RSA encryption

Spartacus ransomware renders files inaccessible

Spartacus ransomware is a dangerous virus that was spotted for the first time in the middle of April 2018. It is closely related to the SF.exe file, which may be injected into spam emails, rogue software updates, or installed on the system using brute-force attacks via unprotected Remote Desktop services.[1] It encrypts files using a combination of AES and guard-coded RSA.[2] ciphers. Upon encryption, locked files get .Spartacus or [MastersRecovery@protonmail.com].Spartacus file extension, while the relevant information about the attack can be found on a READ ME.txt file.

Name Spartacus
Classification Ransomware
Danger level High. Corrupts system's settings, locks personal files with hard-coded cipher, demands to pay a ransom
Symptoms Personal files inaccessible. Each of them exhibits an unusual file extension
File extensions used .Spartacus or [MastersRecovery@protonmail.com].Spartacus
Encryption model A combination of AES and RSA
Decryptable No
Download Reimage to eliminate Spartacus completely

Ransomware researchers detected SF.exe file circulating on the Internet and revealed it to be the executable of a Spartacus ransomware. If the potential victim runs the file, the virus unravels the payload and initiates the following Windows OS modifications:

  • Launches Command Prompt using administrative privileges and runs scripts to delete Volume Shadow Copies (cmd.exe / c vssadmin.exe delete shadows / all / quiet);
  • Runs a hard-coded encryptor (AES – RSA) and runs a key generator to create a unique victim's ID;
  • Creates Test mutex to make the system immune to repeated Spartacus ransomware attack;
  • Enables SetForegroundWindow function to display lock screen;
  • Creates a ransom note called READ ME.txt on the desktop;

Spartacus malware does not target files according to their extensions. Instead, it attacks particular system's folders and directories. That's the list of system's locations targeted by Spartacus crypto-ransomware:

  • System
  • ProgramData
  • Desktop
  • MyComputer
  • DesktopDirectory
  • Favorites
  • Personal
  • MyMusic
  • History
  • Personal
  • Downloads
  • Documents
  • Pictures
  • Videos
  • Music

Once the virus renders the data inaccessible by appending .Spartacus or [MastersRecovery@protonmail.com].Spartacus file extension, the ID KEY is created and provided on the ransom note. The victim subsequently is urged to write an email message to MastersRecovery@protonmail.com or MastersRecovery@cock.li and indicate the unique identification number to get payment instructions.

All of your data has been locked us.
You want to return?
Write email MastersRecovery@protonmail.com or MastersRecovery@cock.li
Your personal ID KEY: XXXX
The same notification shows up in the form of a lock screen.

Crooks demand to pay the ransom in Bitcoins, while the size of redemption is said to differ according to how fast the victim contact them. Experts claim that the sum of the ransom Spartacus demands varies from 300 to 500 USD.

The ransom note contains intimidating information urging victims not to try decrypting files manually or using third-party software recovery tools. Currently, it's not known whether it's capable of deleting the files permanently, but we believe that it's possible as long as you do not perform Spartacus ransomware removal.

We would strongly recommend you not to pay the ransom because any support for hackers motivates them to initiate further attacks. Besides, it's not clear whether criminals have a working decryptor either. At best, you should remove Spartacus ransomware and try to recover your files using third-party data recovery programs. To get rid of ransomware infection, use a reliable security tool, such as Reimage, Malwarebytes MalwarebytesCombo Cleaner or Plumbytes Anti-MalwareMalwarebytes Malwarebytes.

Unsafe browsing behavior is the most common culprit of ransomware attacks

The characteristics of this ransomware are not distinctive from other ransomware family members. It attacks users unexpectedly, encrypts personal files, and demands to pay the ransom in the digital currency. Distribution technique is not unique either. As pointed out by NoVirus.uk.[3] cybersecurity research team, to protect the system from this ransomware it's a must to bypass suspicious emails without opening their attachments.

Some of the emails, indeed, can look trustworthy or catchy. However, keep in mind that cybercriminals are specialists of various social engineering strategies, which is why they know how to mimic public authorities, such as IRS, Amazon, Windows, Apple, and similar.

The distinctive feature of spam emails is an attachment (or link), which is disclosed as a document, pdf file, image or another popular file type. Note that such attachments will require enabling Macros to read the content. That's a catch, so do not allow macros under any circumstances unless you opt for downloading ransomware.

However, spam is not the only ransomware distribution method. Currently, crooks exploit unprotected Remote Desktop Services or create fake software updates, so it's essential to browse the Internet safely. Do not forget to keep anti-virus updated and always enabled.

Learn how to remove Spartacus in a few clicks

Spartacus ransomware removal is the best option you have. Run a full system scan with Reimage, Malwarebytes MalwarebytesCombo Cleaner or Plumbytes Anti-MalwareMalwarebytes Malwarebytes and get rid of all malicious components. Paying the ransom is a mistake because the intentions of cybercriminals may be more aggressive than you thought. They might send you a worm or spyware instead of a working Spartacus decryptor.

Once you remove Spartacus virus from the system, try to recover your files with the help of third-party tools or use Windows Recovery feature.

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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.
More information about this program can be found in Reimage review.

If you decided to select another anti-spyware, uninstall Reimage from your computer.
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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 Spartacus virus, follow these steps:

Remove Spartacus using Safe Mode with Networking

Ransomware elimination process can be blocked by malicious processes. The only way to stop them is to restart Windows into Safe Mode with Networking.

  • 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 Spartacus

    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 Spartacus removal.

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

Remove Spartacus 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 Spartacus. 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 Spartacus removal is performed successfully.

Bonus: Recover your data

Guide which is presented above is supposed to help you remove Spartacus from your computer. To recover your encrypted files, we recommend using a detailed guide prepared by 2-spyware.com security experts.

Spartacus deletes Volume Shadow Copies, so retrieving them is not possible. Nevertheless, you should try to recover your files using Data Recovery Pro or previous Windows versions. 

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

Data Recovery Pro can help

Data Recovery Pro is a powerful software utility that can extract accidentally deleted files or recover those damaged after system's crash. Nevertheless, it's powerful enough to decrypt files encrypted by Spartacus and other ransomware. 

  • 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 Spartacus ransomware;
  • Restore them.

Separate files can be recovered from Previous Windows versions

System Restore is a feature that allows saving a copy of a particular Windows OS state. It's useful because people can go back to the previous state in case the system starts encountering errors, BSOD or gets infected with a virus. If you are using this feature and has a System Restore Point that was created before the attack, here's what you can to to decrypt at least a part of locked files:

  • 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 decryptor available yet.

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

About the author

Linas Kiguolis
Linas Kiguolis - Expert in social media

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