Spartan Hack ransomware (virus) - Free Guide

Spartan Hack virus Removal Guide

What is Spartan Hack ransomware?

Spartan Hack ransomware is a malicious program that holds users' files hostage until a ransom is paid

Spartan Hack ransomwareSpartan Hack ransomware is a malicious program made by cybercriminals to extort money

Spartan Hack is a ransomware-type virus that encrypts all personal files on Windows computers using a sophisticated encryption algorithm such as RSA. This type of virus renders photos, videos, documents, databases, and other data unusable. Each file is appended with a randomly-generated extension of four characters – it also deletes regular file icons and replaces them with blanks. This damage can be significant for people who haven't backed up their system or held important files on a separate storage device because none of the data can be used anymore.

In order to restore files back to their original form (making them usable once again), victims are asked on the read_it.txt note to contact them and send their personal ID, which is unique to every user. Of course, cybercriminals are not willing to give up the decryptor for free, and they are asked for a payment, which is meant to be delivered as a bitcoin transaction to a specified bitcoin wallet.

Contacting crooks might not be the best idea, as they might simply scam users and never provide the Spartan Hack decryptor. Instead, we recommend checking out the details about the infection below – we give several tips on how to get rid of the virus effectively and how to attempt file recovery without paying crooks.

Name Spartan Hack ransomware
Type Ransomware, file-locking malware
File extension Four random characters
Ransom note read_it.txt
Malware family Chaos
File Recovery The only secure way to restore files is by using data backups. If such is not available or were encrypted as well, options for recovery are minimal – we provide all possible solutions below
Malware removal Remove the computer from the network and the internet, then run a complete system scan with SpyHunter 5Combo Cleaner security software
System fix Malware may corrupt numerous important system files, resulting in crashes, faults, and other problems, particularly if it infiltrates a system. ReimageIntego PC repair is a good method of automatically replacing any damaged system files

What is known about Spartan Hack ransomware?

Spartan Hack is just one of the thousands of malware samples that are identified as ransomware. This type of malicious software is considered to be one of the most damaging to regular computer users, as well as companies and organizations, as sensitive information is often leaked during these attacks. For regular users, the damage can be significant because invaluable files such as photos might be gone forever.

The Spartan Hack virus stems from a malware family known as Chaos, which has been observed to be closely tied to Ryuk ransomware. Threat actors behind the attacks are known to deliver numerous variants and spread them to as many users as possible – we have previously covered Virus Alert, Cheaplaminate, Pizzasucker, and a few others.

While other malware strains tend to release variants that are very similar, Chaos versions, while maintaining some patterns at times, are quite a bit different each time. For example:

  • some of the versions are known to change the background wallpaper, while others don't;
  • contact emails are always different from version to version;
  • additional file extensions appended during the encryption process often vary, for example, Skynet and Spartan Hack append a random extension while Virus Alert uses a predetermined extension .paynow.

Also, some of the Chaos versions seem to be more developed than others. It seems like hackers are experimenting a lot and delivering variants that are not fully refined. In this case, it seems like it is exactly what's happening here with this version.

Spartan Hack ransomware virusSpartan Hack ransomware stems from a malware family known as Chaos

How to deal with ransomware

For those who have never encountered ransomware, it can be a very overwhelming and confusing experience. This is because, unlike other malware, the data encryption component of ransomware does not disappear after the virus is eliminated. There are also many peculiarities that users may not know about, which could result in permanent data corruption if they make incorrect moves.

Thus, it is essential to remove malware correctly. Your first goal should be to cut off the virus's ability to communicate with a remote Command & Control[1] server that attackers typically use to send out commands. If you don't do this, in some cases, additional payloads could be sent your way, leading to further problems.

  • Type in Control Panel in Windows search and press Enter
  • Go to Network and InternetNetwork and internet
  • Click Network and Sharing CenterNetwork and internet 2
  • On the left, pick Change adapter settingsNetwork and internet 3
  • Right-click on your connection (for example, Ethernet), and select DisableNetwork and internet 4
  • Confirm with Yes.

After you've ruled out the system being linked to the network, use sophisticated anti-malware software and perform a comprehensive system scan with it. Security software, such as SpyHunter 5Combo Cleaner or Malwarebytes, may discover and remove all harmful components from the system as well as any secondary payloads that may be there.

In some cases, performing a security scan may be impossible due to malware's operation in the background – accessing Safe Mode could remove these restrictions and allow you to remove ransomware without any problems. If you need help accessing it, proceed with the following steps:

Windows 7 / Vista / XP

  1. Click Start > Shutdown > Restart > OK.
  2. When your computer becomes active, start pressing the 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 XP/7

Windows 10 / Windows 8

  1. Right-click on the Start button and select Settings.
  2. Scroll down to pick Update & Security.
  3. On the left side of the window, pick Recovery.
  4. Now scroll down to find the Advanced Startup section.
  5. Click Restart now.Recovery
  6. Select Troubleshoot.
  7. Go to Advanced options.
  8. Select Startup Settings.Startup settings
  9. Click Restart.
  10. Press 5 or click 5) Enable Safe Mode with Networking.Press F5 to enable Safe Mode with Networking

Recover your files

Ransomware encryption is a rather complex process that changes the way files work. Typically, ransomware only encrypts a small fraction of the data located on each file, which is enough to prevent anyone from opening them. Regardless of this, it is enough to not allow users to access their files, no matter which program they use to open them, and they would be shown a Windows error instead, claiming that files can't be opened.

Typically, encryption is easily reversible as long as the decryption key is known; unfortunately, it is in possession of cybercriminals who launched the initial attack. It is important to note that anti-malware software would not restore files back to normal, as it is simply not designed for this purpose. Instead, we recommend trying specialized software that could, in some cases, be effective.

Make sure you create backups of encrypted files, otherwise, you could lose them forever if you proceed.

  • Download Data Recovery Pro.
  • Double-click the installer to launch it.
    Spartan Hack ransomware
  • Follow on-screen instructions to install the software.
  • As soon as you press Finish, you can use the app.
  • Select Everything or pick individual folders where you want the files to be recovered from.Select what to recover
  • Press Next.
  • At the bottom, enable Deep scan and pick which Disks you want to be scanned.Select Deep scan
  • Press Scan and wait till it is complete.Scan
  • You can now pick which folders/files to recover – don't forget you also have the option to search by the file name!
  • Press Recover to retrieve your files.

Some ransomware is much more poorly constructed than others, and it contains numerous bugs.[2] Considering that the Spartan Hack virus is still in development, it could well be the case. Cybersecurity researchers may frequently develop a functioning decryptor for victims to use for free by finding such vulnerabilities. Keep in mind that this might or may not happen at all, or it might take some time. Check the following sites for new decryptors on a regular basis:

No More Ransom Project

Other useful tips

Ransomware is among the most damaging malware, as seen in its severe consequences on the infected system. This malware might not only spread via networks and be accompanied by additional infections, but it may also add invalid code or harm existing Windows files, resulting in BSODs[3] or other problems. As a result, we recommend using a professional PC maintenance program to fix any such issues.

  • Download ReimageIntego
  • Click on the ReimageRepair.exe
    Reimage download
  • If User Account Control (UAC) shows up, select Yes
  • Press Install and wait till the program finishes the installation processReimage installation
  • The analysis of your machine will begin immediatelyReimage scan
  • Once complete, check the results – they will be listed in the Summary
  • You can now click on each of the issues and fix them manually
  • If you see many problems that you find difficult to fix, we recommend you purchase the license and fix them automatically.Reimage results

Another useful tip is to ensure you maintain backups of your working files. If you have backups that are kept on a separate medium or somewhere on the cloud storage, you can be sure that the damaging effects of ransomware infection are diminished significantly. Below you will find tips on how to backup your files in several different methods, so make sure you check these instructions out.

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What to do if failed?
If you failed to fix 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 Spartan Hack virus. Follow these steps

Create data backups to avoid file loss in the future

One of the many countermeasures for home users against ransomware is data backups. Even if your Windows get corrupted, you can reinstall everything from scratch and retrieve files from backups with minimal losses overall. Most importantly, you would not have to pay cybercriminals and risk your money as well.

Therefore, if you have already dealt with a ransomware attack, we strongly advise you to prepare backups for future use. There are two options available to you:

  • Backup on a physical external drive, such as a USB flash drive or external HDD.
  • Use cloud storage services.

The first method is not that convenient, however, as backups need to constantly be updated manually – although it is very reliable. Therefore, we highly advise choosing cloud storage instead – it is easy to set up and efficient to sustain. The problem with it is that storage space is limited unless you want to pay for the subscription.

Using Microsoft OneDrive

OneDrive is a built-in tool that comes with every modern Windows version. By default, you get 5 GB of storage that you can use for free. You can increase that storage space, but for a price. Here's how to setup backups for OneDrive:

  1. Click on the OneDrive icon within your system tray.
  2. Select Help & Settings > Settings.
    Go to OneDrive settings
  3. If you don't see your email under the Account tab, you should click Add an account and proceed with the on-screen instructions to set yourself up.
    Add OneDrive account
  4. Once done, move to the Backup tab and click Manage backup.
    Manage backup
  5. Select Desktop, Documents, and Pictures, or a combination of whichever folders you want to backup.
  6. Press Start backup.
    Pick which folders to sync

After this, all the files that are imported into the above-mentioned folders will be automatically backed for you. If you want to add other folders or files, you have to do that manually. For that, open File Explorer by pressing Win + E on your keyboard, and then click on the OneDrive icon. You should drag and drop folders you want to backup (or you can use Copy/Paste as well).

Using Google Drive

Google Drive is another great solution for free backups. The good news is that you get as much as 15GB for free by choosing this storage. There are also paid versions available, with significantly more storage to choose from.

You can access Google Drive via the web browser or use a desktop app you can download on the official website. If you want your files to be synced automatically, you will have to download the app, however.

  1. Download the Google Drive app installer and click on it.
    Install Google Drive app
  2. Wait a few seconds for it to be installed. Complete installation
  3. Now click the arrow within your system tray – you should see Google Drive icon there, click it once.
    Google Drive Sign in
  4. Click Get Started. Backup and sync
  5. Enter all the required information – your email/phone, and password. Enter email/phone
  6. Now pick what you want to sync and backup. You can click on Choose Folder to add additional folders to the list.
  7. Once done, pick Next. Choose what to sync
  8. Now you can select to sync items to be visible on your computer.
  9. Finally, press Start and wait till the sync is complete. Your files are now being backed up.

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

How to prevent from getting ransomware

Access your website securely from any location

When you work on the domain, site, blog, or different project that requires constant management, content creation, or coding, you may need to connect to the server and content management service more often. The best solution for creating a tighter network could be a dedicated/fixed IP address.

If you make your IP address static and set to your device, you can connect to the CMS from any location and do not create any additional issues for the server or network manager that needs to monitor connections and activities. VPN software providers like Private Internet Access can help you with such settings and offer the option to control the online reputation and manage projects easily from any part of the world.

 

Recover files after data-affecting malware attacks

While much of the data can be accidentally deleted due to various reasons, malware is one of the main culprits that can cause loss of pictures, documents, videos, and other important files. More serious malware infections lead to significant data loss when your documents, system files, and images get encrypted. In particular, ransomware is is a type of malware that focuses on such functions, so your files become useless without an ability to access them.

Even though there is little to no possibility to recover after file-locking threats, some applications have features for data recovery in the system. In some cases, Data Recovery Pro can also help to recover at least some portion of your data after data-locking virus infection or general cyber infection. 

 

About the author
Alice Woods
Alice Woods - Likes to teach users about virus prevention

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