UselessDisk virus Removal Guide
What is UselessDisk ransomware?
UselessDisk is a bootlocker ransomware that demands to pay 300 USD to boot into Windows
UselessDisk is a bootloader ransomware virus that can also be recognized as DiskWriter or MBR bootlocker. Ransomware researchers detected it at the end of March 2018 spreading DiskWriter.exe or UselessDisk.exe files. Once installed, it corrupts the Master Boot Record sequence and prevents Windows from booting. Instead, it generates a ransom screen and asks to pay 300 USD via 1GZCw453MzQr8V2VAgJpRmKBYRDUJ8kzco Bitcoin wallet.
|Type of malware||Ransomware|
|Related malware||DiskWriter and MBR bootlocker|
|Symptoms||Windows does not boot, gets stuck with UselessDisk ransom screen. Ransom demanded|
|Distribution||Malspam campaigns, exploit kits, corrupted RDP configuratios, fake software updates, phishing websites, etc.|
|Related files||DiskWriter.exe and UselessDisk.exe|
|Elimination process||To get rid of UselessDisk by booting Windows into Safe Mode and running a scan with ReimageIntego|
As soon as the system is infected with UselessDisk ransomware, the virus overwrites the Master Boot Record (MBR), which is a Windows boot sector located on a hard drive or another core system's location that is crucial for the boot process to be processed. It replaces the system's MBR with its source code and the runs a shutdown -r -t 0 script on Command Prompt using administrative privileges.
Consequently, the system gets stuck at Windows boot and, instead of displaying an endless loop or regular Windows boot screen, it generates the following UselessDisk ransom screen:
Oops, your important files are encrypted.
If you see this text, then your files are not accessible, because they've been encrypted.
Maybe you're busy looking for a way to recover your files,but don't
waste your time. Nobody can recover your files without our decryption service.
In order to decrypt, please Send $300 worth of Bitcoin to this address:
The ransom screen does not contain explicit information on how to recover files encrypted by DiskWriter ransomware. It does not include the name of a virus or a personal victim's ID that would let criminals to recognize who transferred the payment. Crooks provide indicate the amount of the ransom (300 USD) and ask to transfer it in Bitcoins via the 1GZCw453MzQr8V2VAgJpRmKBYRDUJ8kzco wallet.
The victim is urged to pay the ransom to remove the UselessDisk ransomware and boot the system again. However, experts from NoVirus.uk recommend not to pay the smallest fraction of Bitcoin for the crooks who developed this infection. It seems that this lock-screen virus causes permanent data loss and needs serious maintenance.
Based on the DiskWriter ransomware analysis, the thieves do not indicate their contacts (except the address of Bitcoin wallet), which does not refer to any specificities of the owner. Besides, the criminals won't be able to recognize who paid the ransom, so they won't know which PC has to be unlocked.
UselessDisk is a ransomware virus, which locks the system and prevents it from booting. Exdtortionists urge the victim to pay 300 USD for an unlocker, but it seems that they do not have one.
Therefore, DO NOT pay the ransom because it does not seem to have a valid decryptor or UselessDisk removal tool. You should remove the infection instead and then try to recover locked or deleted data with the help of third-party recovery tools.
It's not possible to remove UselessDisk ransomware from the system by fixing the MBR. After that, the system fails to boot normally and displays an error of a Master File Table (MTF). To initiate a full UselessDisk removal, you should boot your PC into Safe Mode with Networking and run a full system scan with ReimageIntego, SpyHunter 5Combo Cleaner or Malwarebytes. We would highly recommend using Reimage as it functions as a powerful Windows optimizer and anti-virus simultaneously.
The ransomware can be disguised under fake software updates
The dissemination strategies of this lock-screen ransomware do not differ from the ones used by crypto-ransomware viruses. The following are the techniques that its developers can use to trick less experienced PC users into a trap:
- Malspam campaigns;
- Corrupted RDP configuration;
- Drive-by-download attacks;
- Exploit kits;
- Fake software updates;
- Phishing websites;
- Malicious downloads on peer-to-peer networks, etc.
Anyway, this particular ransomware will be disguised under DiskWriter.exe or UselessDisk.exe files. In case of spam email, the file attachment may be disclosed as a DOC, PNG, DOCX, JPG, or other popular file formats to trick users into opening it. Nevertheless, the fake document will eventually load a DiskWriter.exe or UselessDisk.exe payload.
To protect yourself from attack, make sure to install a powerful anti-virus with a real-time protection feature and don't forget to update definitions regularly. Besides, avoid visiting illegal websites or clicking on phishy looking ads, links, and other content.
Uninstall UselessDisk ransomware virus
UselessDisk removal is a complicated task to perform. The virus affects both the MBR and MTF records. The changes not only prevents Windows from boot but can also corrupt personal files and render them inaccessible permanently.
Thus, we would not recommend you to remove UselessDisk virus with the help of a professional anti-malware. Since you cannot boot into Windows, try to boot it into Safe Mode with networking and run a scan. If you cannot do so, you may need help from a professional IT technician.
Getting rid of UselessDisk virus. Follow these steps
Manual removal using Safe Mode
You will not be able to get rid of this ransomware in a regular way simply because it does not allow to boot the system. Thus, you should try to boot it into Safe Mode with Networking.
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
- Click Start > Shutdown > Restart > OK.
- 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.
- Select Safe Mode with Networking from the list.
Windows 10 / Windows 8
- Right-click on Start button and select Settings.
- Scroll down to pick Update & Security.
- On the left side of the window, pick Recovery.
- Now scroll down to find Advanced Startup section.
- Click Restart now.
- Select Troubleshoot.
- Go to Advanced options.
- Select Startup Settings.
- Press Restart.
- Now press 5 or click 5) Enable Safe Mode with Networking.
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:
- Press Ctrl + Shift + Esc on your keyboard to open Windows Task Manager.
- Click on More details.
- Scroll down to Background processes section, and look for anything suspicious.
- Right-click and select Open file location.
- Go back to the process, right-click and pick End Task.
- Delete the contents of the malicious folder.
Step 3. Check program Startup
- Press Ctrl + Shift + Esc on your keyboard to open Windows Task Manager.
- Go to Startup tab.
- Right-click on the suspicious program and pick Disable.
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:
- Type in Disk Cleanup in Windows search and press Enter.
- 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).
- Scroll through the Files to delete list and select the following:
Temporary Internet Files
- Pick Clean up system files.
- You can also look for other malicious files hidden in the following folders (type these entries in Windows Search and press Enter):
After you are finished, reboot the PC in normal mode.
Remove UselessDisk using System Restore
If the previous method did not work, try an alternative Windows boot option. That's what you should do:
Step 1: Reboot your computer to Safe Mode with Command Prompt
Windows 7 / Vista / XP
- Click Start → Shutdown → Restart → OK.
- When your computer becomes active, start pressing F8 multiple times until you see the Advanced Boot Options window.
- Select Command Prompt from the list
Windows 10 / Windows 8
- Press the Power button at the Windows login screen. Now press and hold Shift, which is on your keyboard, and click Restart..
- Now select Troubleshoot → Advanced options → Startup Settings and finally press Restart.
- Once your computer becomes active, select Enable Safe Mode with Command Prompt in Startup Settings window.
Step 2: Restore your system files and settings
- Once the Command Prompt window shows up, enter cd restore and click Enter.
- Now type rstrui.exe and press Enter again..
- When a new window shows up, click Next and select your restore point that is prior the infiltration of UselessDisk. After doing that, click Next.
- Now click Yes to start system restore.
Bonus: Recover your dataGuide which is presented above is supposed to help you remove UselessDisk from your computer. To recover your encrypted files, we recommend using a detailed guide prepared by 2-spyware.com security experts.
If you managed to get rid of UselessDisk ransomware successfully, but cannot access the data anyway, here's what options for data recovery you have.
If your files are encrypted by UselessDisk, you can use several methods to restore them:
Use Data Recovery Pro
Data Recovery Pro can not only recover files and folders after accidental deletion or system crash. It has a powerful search engine that can also decrypt files locked by ransomware infections. Thus, give it a try.
- 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 UselessDisk ransomware;
- Restore them.
Windows Previous Version
To unlock separate files, you can retrieve their copies from the previous Windows versions. For this purpose, you must have to have a System Restore Point created before the 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”.
Windows creates and stores Shadow Volume copies by default. If the virus does not corrupt them by running a scrip via Command Prompt, data recovery might be an easy task to accomplish. Here's what you should do to:
- 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.
UselessDisk decryptor not yet available
Finally, you should always think about the protection of crypto-ransomwares. In order to protect your computer from UselessDisk and other ransomwares, use a reputable anti-spyware, such as ReimageIntego, SpyHunter 5Combo Cleaner or Malwarebytes
How to prevent from getting ransomware
Do not let government spy on you
The government has many issues in regards to tracking users' data and spying on citizens, so you should take this into consideration and learn more about shady information gathering practices. Avoid any unwanted government tracking or spying by going totally anonymous on the internet.
You can choose a different location when you go online and access any material you want without particular content restrictions. You can easily enjoy internet connection without any risks of being hacked by using Private Internet Access VPN.
Control the information that can be accessed by government any other unwanted party and surf online without being spied on. Even if you are not involved in illegal activities or trust your selection of services, platforms, be suspicious for your own security and take precautionary measures by using the VPN service.
Backup files for the later use, in case of the malware attack
Computer users can suffer from data losses due to cyber infections or their own faulty doings. Ransomware can encrypt and hold files hostage, while unforeseen power cuts might cause a loss of important documents. If you have proper up-to-date backups, you can easily recover after such an incident and get back to work. It is also equally important to update backups on a regular basis so that the newest information remains intact – you can set this process to be performed automatically.
When you have the previous version of every important document or project you can avoid frustration and breakdowns. It comes in handy when malware strikes out of nowhere. Use Data Recovery Pro for the data restoration process.