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Spectre ransomware virus. How to remove? (Uninstall guide)

removal by Lucia Danes - - | Type: Ransomware

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 Reimage.

The picture of Spectre ransomware virus

Spectre ransomware is designed to connect to its Command and Control Server (C&C) 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.

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 Reimage or Malwarebytes. 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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To remove Spectre virus, follow these steps:

Remove Spectre using Safe Mode with Networking

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.

  • 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 Spectre

    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 Spectre removal.

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

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 Reimage 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 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.

About the author

Lucia Danes
Lucia Danes - Virus researcher

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