Severity scale:  
  (95/100)

UselessFiles ransomware. How to remove? (Uninstall guide)

removal by Jake Doevan - - | Type: Ransomware

UselessFiles ransomware is cryptovirus that was discovered by security experts in early May 2018

UselessFiles ransomware

UselessFiles ransomware is a file-locking virus that was given an ironic name as it encrypts all files on targeted PC by adding .uselessfiles extension. For that, the malware uses a complicated encryption algorithm that can only be decrypted using a special key stored by hackers. As soon as files are encrypted, ransomware virus executes a program which displays ransom note called “UselessFiles!.” For unlocking affected data, cybercriminals are demanding $300 in Bitcoin. We highly recommend ignoring these demands. 

SUMMARY
Name UselessFiles
Type Ransomware
First spotted May 1st 2018
File extension .UselessFiles
Ransom note UselessFiles!
Demanded ransom $300 in BTC
Distribution Spam emails, malicious websites, etc.
Elimination Download and install Reimage or Plumbytes Anti-MalwareWebroot SecureAnywhere AntiVirus

UselessFiles ransomware typically enters victims’ machines using deceptive ways, for example, via the contaminated attachment in a spam email. Other distribution methods include:

  • hacked or malicious websites;
  • unprotected RDP configuration[1];
  • exploit kits;
  • fraudulent downloads, such as fake updates;
  • infected installers;
  • repacked software or key generators,[2] etc.

Regardless how the malicious payload entered your machine, the first thing that needs to be done is UselessFiles ransomware removal. For that, security experts advise using a robust security program, such as Reimage or Plumbytes Anti-MalwareWebroot SecureAnywhere AntiVirus. In case malware does not let anti-virus application to start properly, you should reboot your PC in Safe Mode with Networking.

UselessFiles virus blocks a variety of personal files, including .doc, .html, .gif, .jpg, .mp3, .mpeg, .txt, .xlsx, etc. For example, if you had a file called picture.jpg, it will be turned into picture.jpg.UselessFiles after the attack. From that point of time, all files with such appendix become unusable. To return files, victims must pay a ransom of $300 in Bitcoin into the provided address.

Hackers explain that, as soon as the payment is processed, victims can start file decryption procedure. They also note that if security software removes the program, users will not ever be able to return their data.

Nevertheless, security experts[3] highly discourage users contacting the authors of UselessFiles as there is no guarantee that they will provide a working key. There is a possibility that hackers might send malware instead of decryptor and damage the machine even more. Additionally, with successful attacks, cyber crooks will be encouraged to create more file locking viruses which allow them to benefit financially.

Unfortunately, the only guaranteed way to return your data is by getting it back from a backup, such as a cloud server or an external HDD. Thus, if you have a backup – you will get all your data back safely. If not, you can also try few third-party programs that could help you. But first, you have to remove UselessFiles ransomware from your machine. You can find all the instructions below.

Ransomware can easily enter your machine if you are not careful enough

Most of the users think that it is highly unlikely that such dangerous virus as ransomware will contaminate their files. Indeed, the chance is pretty low. However, if you are careless while browsing the internet, the chances increase by a significant margin. Thus, we advise users to take these precaution procedures:

  • never open all the emails from unknown sources. The main danger lies in malicious file attachments (which might seem legitimate at the start) or links that might appear like they are leading to a genuine website (such as Amazon, Dropbox and similar);
  • always keep your operating system and software up to date as its developers continuously release patches to fix vulnerabilities within their programs;
  • avoid visiting suspicious websites, such as porn, gambling, free online gaming, etc.;
  • do not download repacked or illegal software as malware authors often inject these installers with malicious code;
  • keep a regular backup of your files;
  • employ a reputable security program and keep it up to date.

Uninstall UselessFiles ransomware and proceed with file recovery

UselessFiles removal is necessary for a normal and safe computer operation (regardless of what hackers say). However, you should not try manual virus elimination method as it is too complicated and, most likely, will result in a failure. Additionally, you could damage system files and corrupt your PC even more.

Thus, download and install security software, such as Reimage or Plumbytes Anti-MalwareWebroot SecureAnywhere AntiVirus. These tools are designed to remove UselessFiles easily. Don’t forget that the virus might block security software from starting. In that case, reboot your PC in Safe Mode with Networking and get rid of ransomware securely.

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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 UselessFiles 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 UselessFiles virus Removal Guide:

Remove UselessFiles using Safe Mode with Networking

To start security software safely, reboot your machine in 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 UselessFiles

    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 UselessFiles removal.

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

Remove UselessFiles using System Restore

You can use System Restore to eliminate the UselessFiles virus:

  • 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 UselessFiles. 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 UselessFiles removal is performed successfully.

Bonus: Recover your data

Guide which is presented above is supposed to help you remove UselessFiles from your computer. To recover your encrypted files, we recommend using a detailed guide prepared by 2-spyware.com security experts.

We highly advise users not to contact cybercrooks. Remember, if they are trying to extort money in such unfair ways, they might as well ignore you and never send you the decryptor. Instead, try out these alternative methods for file recovery.

If your files are encrypted by UselessFiles, you can use several methods to restore them:

Try Data Recovery Pro

This software was designed to bring back files that we accidentally deleted or damaged in other ways. In some cases, Data Recovery Pro is known to help users whose data was encrypted by ransomware.

Windows Previous Versions feature might be useful

Windows Previous Versions feature will only work if you had System Restore function enabled:

  • 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”.

ShadowExplorer might recover all your files

If UselessFiles did not remove shadow volume copies, ShadowExplorer will help you to get all your data back.

  • 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.

No decryptor is available yet

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

About the author

Jake Doevan
Jake Doevan - Computer technology expert

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References