Spectre ransomware / virus (Removal Instructions) - Decryption Methods Included

Spectre virus Removal Guide

What is Spectre ransomware virus?

Spectre – the file-encrypting virus that might start spreading soon

Spectre is a recently discovered ransomware virus that is still in development. Nevertheless, the virus is not currently spreading; it might soon launch a malicious distribution campaign. The analysis of the malware revealed that it uses AES encryption algorithm to lock files on the affected computer. It also appends .spectre extension and renames files with a string of random characters. Following data encryption Spectre ransomware installs ransom note HowToDecryptIMPORTANT!.txt on the desktop and all folders that include encrypted files. In the ransom note, victims are informed to check the payment website and learn how to redeem their files. Cyber criminals ask to transfer 0.07 Bitcoins in order to use Spectre Decryptor. This tool is supposed to be the only data recovery solution. Unfortunately, to restore files may be nearly impossible because ransomware is designed to delete Shadow Volume Copies. Thus after the attack might help only backups. If malware starts spreading and infects your device, you should not forget that your files should not be a priority. The most important task is to remove Spectre and protect your device and sensitive information from further damage. In order to do that you will need a reputable malware removal program, such as FortectIntego.

The picture of Spectre ransomware virus

Spectre ransomware is designed to connect to its Command and Control Server (C&C) a0142503.xsph.ru/testing.php?mode=a1 as soon as it gets inside the computer. The server responds with unique victim’s ID, and then data encryption procedure starts. The virus currently aims at only 21 different files, such as MS office, image, audio, video and text files. Once all the files are locked, malware informs C&C server about a number of encrypted files. Spectre ransomware reports about encryption by dropping a ransom note. The text file includes unique victim’s ID, the size of the ransom and the link to the payment website. The site greets with the information about encrypted data and informs that users have to buy a decryption software. This dangerous site also includes FAQ, Support and Decryptor pages that give more information about encryption, decryption and ransom payment. However, following hackers’ instructions or contacting them via provided form is not recommended. The purpose of this ransomware project is to swindle the money from people. Thus, once you make the transaction, their goal is achieved, and data recovery becomes only the matter of their conscience. We do not recommend testing if these people keep their words.[1] It’s better to focus on Spectre removal and wait until official decryption software would be available to use.

The image of Spectre ransomwareSpectre ransomware asks to transfer $200 in Bitcoins and use a decryption software to recover encrypted files.

Tips for avoiding ransomware

Spectre virus hasn’t started spreading yet. Thus, you have a perfect chance to take precautions and prevent the attack.[2] First of all, you should backup all your files and store them in online or offline storage. Secondly, you have to follow online security recommendations and do not act irresponsibly on the Web. The majority of file-encrypting viruses spread via malicious email attachments. Thus, you should always double-check the information about the sender, look up for grammar mistakes or other suspicious components before opening an attached document or clicking provided link or button. Even one click may lead to Spectre attack. What is more, ransomware might also be distributed as a fake software update or download. Thus, you have to install new applications or updates from reliable sources only. Keep in mind that Torrents and file-sharing sites are not a safe place! Lastly, avoid visiting high-risk websites, be careful with online ads and keep all programs updated. Installing reputable antivirus program also helps to minimize the risk of ransomware attack.

Removal of the Spectre ransomware virus

After the cyber attack, you have to focus on Spectre removal. The only safe way to remove ransomware from the device is to scan the computer with powerful malware removal programs, such as FortectIntego or SpyHunter 5Combo Cleaner. Manual removal is not recommended because the virus might make system changes and install numerous malicious files. Trying to identify and delete them manually may end up with irreparable damage. For this reason, you have to remove Spectre automatically. Once your device is virus-free, you can use backups or try alternative data recovery methods.

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What to do if failed?
If you failed to fix virus damage using Fortect Intego, submit a question to our support team and provide as much details as possible.
Fortect Intego has a free limited scanner. Fortect 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 Fortect, 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 Spectre virus. Follow these steps

Manual removal using Safe Mode

Spectre ransomware virus might prevent from installing or accessing security program which is necessary for the removal. Thus, you may need to reboot the computer to the Safe Mode as shown below.

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.
  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.
  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.

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
    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):


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

Remove Spectre using System Restore

You can also try this method to run automatic virus removal.

  • 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 Spectre. 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 FortectIntego and make sure that Spectre removal is performed successfully.

Bonus: Recover your data

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

If you have backups, they are the only effective way to restore your files safely. If you do not have them, please try alternative recovery methods that might help you to get back at least some of your files.

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

Use Data Recovery Pro to get back your files

Files encrypted By Spectre ransomware might be restored using Data Recovery Pro. This tool is designed to recover corrupted, deleted and some of the encrypted 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 Spectre ransomware;
  • Restore them.

Tak advantage of Windows Previous Versions feature

If System Restore function has been enabled before ransomware attack, you may be able to recover the most important files by following these steps:

  • 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”.

Spectre Decryptor

If you are thinking of purchasing decryption software from cyber criminals we want to discourage you from that. You may lead to money loss and other malware attacks. Thus, you should wait while official and safe decryptor will be released.

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

How to prevent from getting ransomware

Protect your privacy – employ a VPN

There are several ways how to make your online time more private – you can access an incognito tab. However, there is no secret that even in this mode, you are tracked for advertising purposes. There is a way to add an extra layer of protection and create a completely anonymous web browsing practice with the help of Private Internet Access VPN. This software reroutes traffic through different servers, thus leaving your IP address and geolocation in disguise. Besides, it is based on a strict no-log policy, meaning that no data will be recorded, leaked, and available for both first and third parties. The combination of a secure web browser and Private Internet Access VPN will let you browse the Internet without a feeling of being spied or targeted by criminals. 

No backups? No problem. Use a data recovery tool

If you wonder how data loss can occur, you should not look any further for answers – human errors, malware attacks, hardware failures, power cuts, natural disasters, or even simple negligence. In some cases, lost files are extremely important, and many straight out panic when such an unfortunate course of events happen. Due to this, you should always ensure that you prepare proper data backups on a regular basis.

If you were caught by surprise and did not have any backups to restore your files from, not everything is lost. Data Recovery Pro is one of the leading file recovery solutions you can find on the market – it is likely to restore even lost emails or data located on an external device.

About the author
Lucia Danes
Lucia Danes - Virus researcher

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