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STOP ransomware. How to remove? (Uninstall guide)

removal by Gabriel E. Hall - - | Type: Ransomware

STOP virus – the file-encrypting malware that has two versions

Ransom note by STOP ransomware

STOP ransomware is a crypto-virus that uses a combination of AES and RSA-1024 keys to make files inaccessible on the affected computer. Malware[1] prevents victims of ransomware to open and use their files by appending .STOP file extension. Following the encryption, the virus delivers a ransom note in “!!! YourDataRestore !!! txt” file.

In the ransom note, STOP virus asks to pay $600 in 72 hours for data recovery. However, before making the transaction, victims can send 1-3 “not very big” files for free test decryption to stopfilesrestore@bitmessage.ch or stopfilesrestore@india.com.

The STOP ransomware virus was discovered in December 2017. However, a new version emerged in February 2017. The latter version appends .SUSPENDED file extension and delivers data recovery instructions in !”!!RestoreProcess!!!.txt” file.

Apart from the new file extension, cyber criminals also started using a new contact email addresses to communicate with victims: suspendedfiles@bitmessage.ch or suspendedfiles@india.com. However, operation and demanded size of ransom remain the same.

Unfortunately, none of the versions of STOP ransomware are decryptable. Therefore, only data backups can fully recover your files. However, if you do not have them, you should not consider paying the ransom. It’s a risky decision that might only increase your loss.

After ransomware attack, you should remove STOP ransomware from the computer immediately. The crypto-virus makes numerous changes to the system, installs malicious components and might affect legit system files. All these changes make the computer vulnerable and prevent from using it normally.

Therefore, STOP removal is needed to clean and fix the affected machine. For this task we recommend using Reimage. However, you can use any other updated security software too. The most important part is – do not try to eliminate ransomware manually! This task requires high skills. Inexperienced PC users can cause more damage than good.

Malicious spam emails are the main ransomware distribution method

The executable of a file-encrypting virus typically spreads via malicious spam emails[2] that include attachments. With the help of social engineering, criminals trick victims into opening obfuscated attachment and letting malware into the system.

However, specialists from NoVirus.uk[3] tell that malware can also sneak into the system when a user clicks on a malicious ad, downloads corrupted program or its update, and applying any other techniques.

For this reason, internet users should learn to identify potential risks that might be lurking on the web. We want to remind that any security software can fully protect you from ransomware attack. For this reason, watching your clicks and downloads, as well as creating and regularly updating backups are a must!

Terminate STOP ransomware virus from the Windows computer

First of all, we want to discourage you from removing ransomware manually. This cyber threat includes numerous files and components that might look like legitimate system processes. Therefore, you can easily delete wrong entries and cause more damage. For this reason, you have to opt for automatic STOP ransomware removal.

The virus might block access to security software which is needed for the removal, so you should disable the virus first by booting to Safe Mode with Networking. The instructions below will explain to you how it's done.

When in Safe Mode, download, install and update Reimage, Malwarebytes Anti Malware or Plumbytes Anti-MalwareWebroot SecureAnywhere AntiVirus. Then, run a full system scan and wait until the program finishes cleaning the system. Later you can plug in backups to recover your files or try alternative methods presented below.

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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 STOP ransomware. 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 STOP virus Removal Guide:

Remove STOP using Safe Mode with Networking

Follow these steps to reboot the computer to Safe Mode with Networking which allows disabling the virus and removing it automatically.

  • 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 STOP

    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 STOP removal.

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

Remove STOP using System Restore

This method can also help to get rid of the virus automatically:

  • 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 STOP. 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 STOP removal is performed successfully.

Bonus: Recover your data

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

Try Data Recovery Pro

Originally, this tool is designed to recover files after system wreckage or deletion. However, it can be helpful after ransomware attack too.

Take advantage of Windows Previous Versions feature

This method allows copying previously saved versions of files if System Restore was enabled before ransomware 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”.

Try out ShadowExplorer

ShadowExplorer can recover files from Shadow Volume Copies if STOP ransomware did not delete them.

  • 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.

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

About the author

Gabriel E. Hall
Gabriel E. Hall - Passionate web researcher

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