SZFLocker ransomware / virus (Tutorial)

SZFLocker virus Removal Guide

What is SZFLocker ransomware virus?

Why should you look out for the SZFLocker?

Even though the Internet allows the cyber criminals to spread their fraudulent creations worldwide, there are still cases of the attacks targeted towards computers located in particular countries. SZFLocker virus is one the examples of such cyber infections. This ransomware-type virus is initially designed to infiltrate Polish operating systems, encrypt the victims’ files and demand to pay a ransom to get them back. The virus is named after the file extension it appends to the encrypted files. The change of the regular file extensions to .szf is a major red flag, suggesting a ransomware attack. Even though the users usually notice these changes when it is already too late to fight back, sometimes there can still be a chance to terminate the infection before it completely takes over the computer. You may not notice when the infection occurs, but you can run regular system scans with ReimageIntego or any other professional anti-malware utilities to help you locate and eliminate security breaches automatically. You must remember though that SZFLocker removal from the infected device will not unlock your files, but simply eliminate the malicious virus files from your PC.

An example of SZFLocker ransomware ransom note

When this ransomware reaches the victim’s computer and carries out all of its predetermined dirty deeds, it drops a very brief ransom note in Polish, indicating a contact email. The message in the note goes something like this:

Encrypted files. The service is available at deciphering deszyfrator.deszyfr(@)yandex.ru.

Compared to other ransomware viruses which tend to elaborate on the whole file decryption process, SZFLocker provides a relatively uninformative note. It can only be presumed that the victim is presented with further, more detailed information after contacting the cyber criminals. The amount of ransom may also vary depending on the type of files, their extent, and importance. Nevertheless, paying the criminals is a highly unadvisable thing to do. Hackers may offer you a private decryption key to unlock the files and disappear without trace as soon as you make the transaction. So, it is wiser to keep your bank account full, remove SZFLocker from your computer and look for other ways to decrypt your files. Even if you fail to get your data back, remember that your actions are very important in the battle against hackers making an illegal profit and creating similar programs in the future.

Ransomware prevention methods:

Having your computer infected with SZFLocker or another ransomware-type virus is not a pleasant experience. Its removal is long and complicated, the major part of your files may be lost forever, and your system may even require a full reinstall. However, there are some techniques you can use to make your computer less susceptible to such viruses. First, you need to obtain a reliable anti-malware software to protect you. In addition, you can use any other virus-fighting utilities you can think of and find reliable. Secondly, reconsider your browsing habits. If you tend to recklessly click on random links, open emails received from unknown senders or download software you have never heard before, you have to stop doing that immediately. Finally, start making backups of your important data because anti-malware utilities and cautious behavior online may make it more difficult for a ransomware like SZFLocker to enter your system, but does not guarantee a 100% protection.

SZFLocker removal and file recovery:

When considering the SZFLocker removal, there are several important things you should remember. First, do not try eliminating the virus yourself. You can only use the virus decontamination instructions provided below this article if your anti-malware tool is having trouble initiating. Otherwise, you should use professional antivirus utilities to eliminate the virus. What you should also keep in mind that if you decide to recover your files after the virus attack, you should make sure you remove the malicious virus components from the PC. After that, use PhotoRec, R-Studio or
Kaspersky virus-fighting utilities data recovery tools to try recover your data. You can also try regularly looking for a reliable decryptor which could help you remove SZFLocker and decrypt files without consequences.

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

Manual removal using Safe Mode

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.
    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.
    Reboot
  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.
    Startup

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
    Downloads
    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):

    %AppData%
    %LocalAppData%
    %ProgramData%
    %WinDir%

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

Remove SZFLocker 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 SZFLocker. 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 ReimageIntego and make sure that SZFLocker removal is performed successfully.

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

How to prevent from getting ransomware

Access your website securely from any location

When you work on the domain, site, blog, or different project that requires constant management, content creation, or coding, you may need to connect to the server and content management service more often. The best solution for creating a tighter network could be a dedicated/fixed IP address.

If you make your IP address static and set to your device, you can connect to the CMS from any location and do not create any additional issues for the server or network manager that needs to monitor connections and activities. VPN software providers like Private Internet Access can help you with such settings and offer the option to control the online reputation and manage projects easily from any part of the world.

 

Recover files after data-affecting malware attacks

While much of the data can be accidentally deleted due to various reasons, malware is one of the main culprits that can cause loss of pictures, documents, videos, and other important files. More serious malware infections lead to significant data loss when your documents, system files, and images get encrypted. In particular, ransomware is is a type of malware that focuses on such functions, so your files become useless without an ability to access them.

Even though there is little to no possibility to recover after file-locking threats, some applications have features for data recovery in the system. In some cases, Data Recovery Pro can also help to recover at least some portion of your data after data-locking virus infection or general cyber infection. 

 

About the author
Ugnius Kiguolis
Ugnius Kiguolis - The mastermind

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