Severity scale:  
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Stinger ransomware. How to remove? (Uninstall guide)

removal by Alice Woods - - | Type: Ransomware

Stinger is a crypto-ransomware oriented to English, French, and German PC users

Stinger ransomware. Ransom note example

Stinger is a ransomware type virus that uses that uses AES cipher[1] to encrypt personal files and render them inaccessible. The malware has been detected in the middle of March 2018 by a group of ransomware researchers. While it resembles other crypto-malware viruses in its nature, it can be distinguished by a file extension .Stinger and a text file About .Stinger unlocking instructions.txt that stands for a ransom note.

Name Stinger
Malware type Ransomware
Danger level High (can cause permanent loss of personal files)
Cryptography method AES-256
File extension .Stinger
Ransom note About .Stinger unlocking instructions.txt
Translated into languages English, French, and German
Contact info hackcwand@protonmail.com
Symptoms All personal files encrypted, ransom note created on the desktop and other system's locations. Additionally, the system may run slower than it used to, some processes may be blocked
Distribution Spam, exploit kits, drive-by-download attacks, corrupted remote desktop apps, Trojan
Removal options Automatic. Manual ransomware deletion is not possible. To neutralize and eliminate Stinger, download and run Reimage.

The primary target for Stinger ransomware is English, German, and French-speaking PC users, but that doesn't mean that it confines itself to particular regions. Less experienced PC users from any place in the world can download this malware after opening a malicious email attachment or experience a drive-by-download attack.

When the ransomware payload is successfully unpacked, it utilizes the AES-256 cryptography scheme to lock .avi, .bmp, .cpp, .css, .doc, .docx, .dot, .dotx, .eps, .gif, .h, .htm, .html, .inc, .inf, .ini, .jpg , .jpeg, .js, .log, .mp3, .msg, .pdf, .pf, .png, .py, .sdb, .sql, .swf, .txt, .wav, .wma, .wmv,. zip, and other types of personal files.

Each file encrypted by Stinger gets a. Stinger file extension, so that the name of the file looks like that, e.g., sample1.png. Stinger. Manually unlocking the data is not possible. An attempt to rename the files manually can even end up with a permanent loss.

The victim of the attacked PC is informed about the current situation on a ransom note, which occurs in a .txt file format and usually can be found on the desktop. About .Stinger unlocking instructions.txt file can also be added to each folder that contains encrypted data. The ransomware note says:

Hello, friend, Please read the following

Your file has been locked, please do not close the system, or modify the extension name
§Ó§Ñ§ê §æ§Ñ§Û§Ý §Ù§Ñ§Ò§Ý§à§Ü§Ú§â§à§Ó§Ñ§ß, §á§à§Ø§Ñ§Ý§å§Û§ã§ä§Ñ, §ß§Ö §Ù§Ñ§Ü§â§í§ä§î §ã§Ú§ã§ä§Ö§Þ§í §Ú§Ý§Ú §Ú§Ù§Þ§Ö§ß§Ú§ä§î §â§Ñ§ã§ê§Ú§â§Ö§ß§Ú§Ö §æ§Ñ§Û§Ý§Ñ.

Votre dossier est verrouill¨¦, veuillez ne pas le syst¨¨me de fermeture ou de modifier des extensions.
¥Õ¥¡¥¤¥ë¤¬¥í¥Ã¥¯¤µ¤ì¤Æ¤¤¤ë¤Î¤Ç¡¢¥·¥¹¥Æ¥à¤òé]æi¤·¤¿¤ê¡¢Ãû¤òÐÞÕý¤·¤¿¤ê¤·¤Ê¤¤¤Ç¤¯¤À¤µ¤¤¡£

Die datei IST gesperrt, bitte nicht verschließen Oder änderung der verlängerung.

Please E-Mail me, unlock the cost USD 100.00.
§±§à§Ø§Ñ§Ý§å§Û§ã§ä§Ñ, §ã§Ó§ñ§Ø§Ú§ä§Ö§ã§î §ã §ï§Ý§Ö§Ü§ä§â§à§ß§ß§à§Û §á§à§é§ä§í, §â§Ñ§Ù§Ò§Ý§à§Ü§Ú§â§à§Ó§Ñ§ä§î §â§Ñ§ã§ç§à§Õ§í USD 100.00.
SID£º[EA2410]

E-mail:hackcwand@protonmail.com

The ransomware note provided by Stinger virus does not provide much information on the ransomware, file decryption or punishments for trying to unlock files without paying the ransom. The crooks urge the victim to email them via hackcwand@protonmail.com to get further instructions. Currently, the Stinger decryptor costs 100 USD, which has to be sent in Bitcoins.[2] 

At the moment of writing, there's not free decryptor available. Nevertheless, paying the ransom is not recommended due to a high risk of money loss. Stinger removal is what we recommend doing instead of establishing the contact with cybercriminals.

You don't have to worry if you have backups for your files. If you don't, make sure to remove Stinger using a professional anti-virus, for example, Reimage, Malwarebytes MalwarebytesCombo Cleaner or Plumbytes Anti-MalwareMalwarebytes Malwarebytes and then try to recover your files using third-party programs. You can find explicit guidance on how to decrypt files locked by Stinger ransomware at the end of this article.

Spam emails: that's the source of the ransomware payloads

File-encrypting viruses can be distributed via multiple methods, including but not limited to Trojan horses, corrupted apps, hacked websites, exploit kits, compromised remote desktop apps, and similar.

However, statistically, the most significant number of ransomware infections are downloaded by opening an infected email attachment. Cybercriminals use various social engineering strategies to trick people into opening PDF, PNG, JPG, DOC, DOCX or other types of files attached to fake emails. Crooks might try to mimic well-known companies or impersonate various authorities, such as IRS.[3] 

Before opening the received email, think twice whether you have some relationship with the sender. Besides, double check the theme and pay attention to typo and grammar mistakes. Do not open the attachment is the email message does not contain a body text explaining what type of attachment it is and why you received it.

Besides, to prevent the system from being obfuscated with malicious ransomware infections, update your OS, apps, and security programs regularly. Another precautionary measure to protect your files is to create backups at least for the most critical files on an external drive.

Delete Stinger ransomware automatically

Manual Stinger removal is not possible, experts from NoVirus.uk[4] claim. Ransomware programs consist of multiple malicious entries and processes, which are scattered and hidden in various system's places to evade detection and removal. If you've been attacked by .Stinger file extension virus already, remove Stinger malware as soon as you can using Reimage, Malwarebytes MalwarebytesCombo Cleaner or Plumbytes Anti-MalwareMalwarebytes Malwarebytes.

After that, you can try to unlock your files with the help of third-party data recovery tools, retrieve files from backups or try to enable the previous version of the files in case System Restore Point has been created before the attack.

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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 Stinger virus, follow these steps:

Remove Stinger using Safe Mode with Networking

Stinger virus may block your attempt to install an anti-virus tool or launch it. If the ransomware has already build a wall, you should try to break it by booting the system 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 Stinger

    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 Stinger removal.

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

Remove Stinger 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 Stinger. 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 Stinger removal is performed successfully.

Bonus: Recover your data

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

Unlock your files using Data Recovery Pro

Data Recovery Pro is a tool for data retrieval from the hard drive after total system's crash or accidental file removal. Although there's no hundred percent guarantee that it will work, many people reported this tool for being extremely useful after being attacked by a 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 Stinger ransomware;
  • Restore them.

Alternative data recovery method –  Previous Windows Version

Those Windows users who are regularly create a System Restore Point should try 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”.

Extract Shadow Volume Copies

Less experienced cybercriminals might not attack Shadow Volume Copies. In this case, it might be easy to decrypt files encrypted by Stinger ransomware. For this purpose, download the ShadowExplorer and run it:

  • 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.

Unfortunately, Stinger ransomware is not yet decryptable for free.

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

About the author

Alice Woods
Alice Woods - Likes to teach users about virus prevention

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