Severity scale:  
  (98/100)

StalinLocker. How to remove? (Uninstall guide)

removal by Ugnius Kiguolis - - | Type: Ransomware

StalinLocker is a ransomware that locks files and asks the victim to guess the decryption code

StalinLocker ransomware virus

StalinLocker is the name of a ransomware virus[1] that has been detected by ransomware research team in the middle of May 2018. It's not typical ransomware what so ever. Its payload spreads on the Internet in the form of StalinLocker.exe. Once it's executed, the data on the system's drives are encrypted using strong encryption algorithm. It then locks the screen with a Stalin picture, starts playing a USSR Hymn and gives the victim 11 minutes to guess the decryption code. Thus, this ransomware virus does not fall for the group of extortionists. It's a destructor that aims to wipe out system's drives out of an idea.

Name StalinLocker
Type Ransomware
Related files StalinLocker.exe, USSR_Anthem.mp3
Symptoms Locks all drives detected on the system and displays a Stalin-themed lock screen
Size of redemption It does not demand for a ransom. Instead, the victim is urged to guess the decryption code. 11 minutes are given to complete the guessing. 
Decryptable Neither paid not free decryptor available.
The only way to eliminate the ransomware is to scan the system with Reimage while in Safe Mode with Networking. 

StalinLocker ransomware started circulating on the Internet on May 10, 2018. Cybersecurity experts detected StalinLocker.exe file, which once executed appeared to be extremely aggressive.

If opened, the StalinLocker.exe ransomware payload unravels StalinLocker ransomware, which runs a multiplicity of system's scrips under administrative privileges to lock all Windows OS drives, including (C:), (D:) or any other detected.
As soon as the virus locks all drives, it sets the Stalin-themed desktop background and enables USSR_Anthem.mp3. Thus the sound of USSR hymn is heard. The lock screen contains the following information:

The victory of socialism in our country is assured
The foundation of the socialist economy is complete
“The reality of our production plan is millions of working people who are creating a new life.”
I. Stalin.

The text has been translated from Russian. At the moment of writing, StalinLocker ransomware targets Russian-speaking users. It hasn't been translated into any other language, but experts speculate that it's only a matter of time when it gets the update with an English translation.

The worst part is that the StalinLocker virus cannot be decrypted. In fact, it's the destructive piece of malware, which does not seek for money. One the lock screen appears the victim gets only 600+60 seconds (or 11 minutes) to enter a decryption key. However, there's no way to redeem the data except to guess the code.

Unfortunately, people can hardly guess the code without having a background on the USSR history. Crooks ask the victim to calculate the date: 1922.12.30, which is significant for Russia as it's the date of USSR formation.[2] 

As soon as the countdown timer gets to 00, all data from the system is wiped out. To prevent this from happening, we would strongly recommend people to restart the system into Safe Mode with Networking right after the attack and run a scan with Reimage or Plumbytes Anti-MalwareWebroot SecureAnywhere AntiVirus. That should be sufficient to remove StalinLocker ransomware from the system.

Unfortunately, it's not clear if StalinLocker removal will leave locked drives as they were before the attack. There's a risk of getting the data removed, but there's the same possibility to find it unlocked. In the worst case scenario, you should try to recover the data encrypted by this ransomware with the help of third-party data recovery tools.

No to mention, experts consider the StalinLocker virus to be unfinished yet. It is speculated that it may be rebuilt into extortionist demanding a redemption.

Ransomware distribution techniques

Spam email attachments are the primary ransomware distribution source. Infested files are being appended to .doc, .pdf, .png and similar attachments, which are introduced in a catchy way to attract as many people to open them as possible. However, spam is not the only medium used to disseminate crypto-ransomware viruses. LosVirus.es[3] team distinguished the following methods that currently stand out as the most common:

  • Hacked RDP;
  • Exploit Kit;
  • Rogue software installers or updates;
  • Phishing websites;

Therefore, you should not only be careful when handling emails from unknown sources. Hackers use multiple social engineering attacks, so be cautious and always weigh the risk before doing something on the Internet, especially when contacting with files and installers.

Get rid of StalinLocker ransomware virus

StalinLocker removal is the only way to save your files undeleted. In case of attack, you have only 11 minutes to restore your PC to the previous state.

Unfortunately, there's no way to remove StalinLocker ransomware manually. It's a destructive piece of malware, which injects a variety of malicious entries, which can hardly if at all, be detected without a professional anti-virus.

Before you run a scan, make sure to select a reputable anti-virus and necessarily update its definitions. According to VirusTotal analysis, StalinLocker virus features a quite low detection ratio (29/67)[4], so using a reliable tool is a must.

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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 StalinLocker. 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 StalinLocker Removal Guide:

Remove StalinLocker using Safe Mode with Networking

Security software startup might be hindered by the virus. Hence, restart your computer in Safe Mode with Networking as explained 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 StalinLocker

    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 StalinLocker removal.

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

Remove StalinLocker using System Restore

An alternative way to uninstall StalinLocker ransomware by performing 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 StalinLocker. 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 StalinLocker removal is performed successfully.

Bonus: Recover your data

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

Recover your files with Data Recovery Pro

Data Recovery Pro is useful when your files are corrupted. In some cases, it might be useful in restoring some files which were encrypted by ransomware.

Try Windows Previous Versions feature to recover locked files

Windows Previous Versions feature will only work if you had System Restore function enabled during malware attack.

  • 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”.

Shadow Explorer might be useful while trying to get the files back

Shadow Explorer works well if the ransomware fails to delete Shadow Volume Copies.

  • 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

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

About the author

Ugnius Kiguolis
Ugnius Kiguolis - The mastermind

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References