UpdateHost ransomware / virus (Free Instructions) - Recovery Instructions Included

UpdateHost virus Removal Guide

What is UpdateHost ransomware virus?

Features of UpdateHost ransomware virus:

Like most modern ransomware, UpdateHost virus is a crypto-malware [1] which uses a sophisticated type of encryption algorithm to block the access to the user’s files. In particular, the virus applies the asymmetric AES ciphering [2] which allows locking the file contents with a public key, while their recovery is only possible with a private one. Of course, the extortionists remove this key from the computer and additionally destroy Volume Shadow Copies [3] so that the victims would not be able to decrypt files themselves. After that, the unfortunate users are left with very limited options: they can either remove UpdateHost from their computers and wait for the security experts to come up with a free decryption tool, or pay the ransom and hope for the criminals to stick to their promise and send the decryption key. You should understand, though, that the extortionists have one goal on their mind and that is making money. Thus, they often forget about the victims or simply choose to ignore them once the cash is in their pocket. Unless it is simply critical, you should avoid collaborating with the extortionists and get rid of the virus as soon as possible. ReimageIntego is the software we recommend using for the quick virus extermination. Besides, this utility will not only banish the parasite from your computer but also help your system recover after the attack. Unfortunately, this tool will not decrypt your files, but no need to worry. Below this article, we provide alternative techniques that may help you roll some of your most important files back to their original state.

UpdateHost virus demonstrationUpdateHost virus sneaks into the computers using deception and launches the malicious updatehost.exe file which encrypts files on the infected computer.

Though it may not seem like it at first, UpdateHost malware is actually one of the many versions that succeeded Hidden Tear open-source project [4]. This project was initially established purely for the educational purposes with the intention of teaching users about how ransomware works and how to avoid getting infected by it. Sadly, as it usually happens, the program’s code quickly turned up in the hands of the evil-minded programmers who have modified it to actually lock the files, instead of merely demonstrating the attack. Now, the updated ransomware versions travel disguised as updatehost.exe file and flares up a true hell once it reaches the computer. A number of most popular types of files, such as .txt, .doc, .xls or .zip get encrypted, and the virus appends them all with .locked extensions. Then, comes the time for a ransom note and a brief explanation about what happened to the computer. For this purpose, the virus places a document called READ_It.txt on the infected computer’s desktop and all the encrypted folders. The note is rather obscure: it does not disclose the amount of ransom that the hackers demand in exchange for the data decryption, nor does it explain the payment system through which the money should be paid. The hackers simply instruct the victims to contact them via given email address ghanihate@gmail.com in order to receive further data recovery guidelines. As we have already mentioned, complying with the extortionists’ orders does not guarantee anything, but you can neither sit and wait for the situation to resolve itself. It is necessary to carry out UpdateHost removal to be able to proceed with the safe data recovery. We give suggestions how to achieve smooth system cleanup later in the article.

How does this parasite travel around?

Though it is not clear exactly how the UpdateHost reaches computers, telling from the title of its executable, we can presume that it disguises itself as a software update or some automatic software updating application, so the victims simply download it on their computers without suspecting a thing. It is likely that these fraudulent applications are promoted on poor reputation websites [5], including gambling sites, software sharing platforms or torrent download pages. It goes without saying that you should stay away from these unsafe domains if you want to keep your data safe. If, however, you accidentally download an executable file called UpdateHost — do not launch it! Delete the files immediately and scan your computer with an antivirus tool without delay.

Want to remove UpdateHost? Here is where you should start:

First, before taking any UpdateHost removal steps, make sure you are properly prepared for the removal process. Please check whether your antivirus software is capable of eliminating ransomware infections and update it to the latest version. Then, proceed by booting your computer into Safe Mode. This will help decontaminate the infection and remove UpdateHost virus from the computer more smoothly. The moment the virus is banished from the system along with all of its malicious components you may begin the data recovery process. Check out the alternative data recovery solutions at the end of the page and check back regularly for the UpdateHost decrypter.

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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 UpdateHost virus. Follow these steps

Manual removal using Safe Mode

If you find that you cannot run your antivirus and remove UpdateHost from your computer, follow these guidelines here:

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 UpdateHost using System Restore

Another method of gaining back the control of our antivirus is described here:

  • 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 UpdateHost. 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 UpdateHost removal is performed successfully.

Bonus: Recover your data

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

Files encrypted by UpdateHost can be recovered using Data Recovery Pro

Below you will find a concise explanation on how to use Data Recovery Pro. This tool is simple, so even the least tech-savvy users should have no trouble using it.

  • 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 UpdateHost ransomware;
  • Restore them.

Windows Previous Versions feature is your chance of getting back the date encrypted by UpdateHost

Check out the instructions below to decrypt your files using Windows Previous Versions feature.

  • 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”.

UpdateHost is currently undecryptable.

Check back for UpdateHost decryptor later.

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

How to prevent from getting ransomware

Protect your privacy – employ a VPN

There are several ways how to make your online time more private – you can access an incognito tab. However, there is no secret that even in this mode, you are tracked for advertising purposes. There is a way to add an extra layer of protection and create a completely anonymous web browsing practice with the help of Private Internet Access VPN. This software reroutes traffic through different servers, thus leaving your IP address and geolocation in disguise. Besides, it is based on a strict no-log policy, meaning that no data will be recorded, leaked, and available for both first and third parties. The combination of a secure web browser and Private Internet Access VPN will let you browse the Internet without a feeling of being spied or targeted by criminals. 

No backups? No problem. Use a data recovery tool

If you wonder how data loss can occur, you should not look any further for answers – human errors, malware attacks, hardware failures, power cuts, natural disasters, or even simple negligence. In some cases, lost files are extremely important, and many straight out panic when such an unfortunate course of events happen. Due to this, you should always ensure that you prepare proper data backups on a regular basis.

If you were caught by surprise and did not have any backups to restore your files from, not everything is lost. Data Recovery Pro is one of the leading file recovery solutions you can find on the market – it is likely to restore even lost emails or data located on an external device.

About the author
Jake Doevan
Jake Doevan - Computer technology expert

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