Vanguard ransomware / virus (Quick Decryption Solution) - Virus Removal Instructions

Vanguard virus Removal Guide

What is Vanguard ransomware virus?

Sophisticated Vanguard ransomware is yet another Golang-based virus

Today, we added Vanguard virus to the large ransomware family, but we must say that this virus differs from the rest of ransomware because it is written in Go programming language[1]. However, the first ransomware written in go was Trojan.Encoder.6491[2], however, it wasn’t as sophisticated as Vanguard ransomware appears to be. This malicious program is set to encrypt over 400 different file types, which means that its target list contains over 400 different file extensions. For data encryption, Vanguard ransomware employs Poly1305 and Salsa20 a.k.a. ChaCha20 ciphers, which are used by Google as a replacement for RC4 in TLS/SSL[3]. When encrypting the data, virus adds *нет данных* file extension to each affected file. This new extension translates to “no data.” When the virus finishes the encryption routine, it creates a ransom note for the victim and names it as DECRYPT_INSTRUCTIONS.txt. The virus asks the victim to buy a certain amount of Bitcoins and send them to a provided Bitcoin wallet, in other words, to pay a ransom. They promise to provide a data recovery tool in return, but no one knows if these crooks are as good as their word. Some ransomware crooks just take victim’s money and make off with it, while others ask for more money. Vanguard ransomware virusVanguard ransomware is written in Go language and it aims to encrypt victim's files. Once it corrupts the data, the victim loses access to it.

No matter how disappointed we are to say this, it is likely that this ransomware won’t be cracked anytime soon. It would take years of brute-forcing to discover just one decryption key due to the complexity of encryption ciphers that Vanguard ransomware uses. Therefore, we suggest you remove Vanguard ransomware immediately and start looking for your backup[4]. You can easily delete the ransomware using tools like FortectIntego or SpyHunter 5Combo Cleaner, but please do not try to do it manually because you can inadvertently damage the computer system by removing the wrong files. We also know that this virus runs the following command – vssadmin delete shadows /all /quiet, which eliminates Windows Volume Shadow Copies[5], and as a result, you won’t be able to use them for data recovery. This powerful virus opens security vulnerabilities in your computer, so please take care of this problem ASAP. You should take a look at full ransomware removal guide given below this article and learn how to prepare your PC for Vanguard removal.

What methods are used for ransomware distribution?

Ransomware viruses are mainly distributed via RDP attacks, email spam and exploit kits. Sometimes, ransomware gets into computers with the help of malware-laden ads, but in general, criminals are not eager to waste their time hacking ad networks when they can simply send out thousands of convincing email messages that victims typically tend to open. For example, cyber criminals create a malicious Word document that contains a special script meant to download and install ransomware on the system. They only need to save this file under a innocent-looking name, for example, “Invoice” or “resume.” Such file greets the victim with a message saying, “Macros have been disabled” and suggests enabling content. If the victim clicks this button, the script gets activated and the computer gets infected with ransomware. So far such documents remain the most popular ransomware distribution tools, and users still fall for this trick.

How can I fix my computer and remove Vanguard ransomware from the system?

When one gets infected with ransomware, the first thing he or she should do is to remove the virus from the compromised PC. Sadly, we doubt that ransomware crooks can help you with data decryption – they do their best trying to force victims to pay ransoms, but we are sure that they can not care less about you from the moment they get what they strive for. Therefore, we do not recommend paying the ransom and suggest using FortectIntego or other reliable tools for Vanguard removal. You can try one of the provided data recovery methods described below.

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Fortect Happiness
Intego Happiness
Compatible with Microsoft Windows Compatible with macOS
What to do if failed?
If you failed to fix virus damage using Fortect Intego, submit a question to our support team and provide as much details as possible.
Fortect Intego has a free limited scanner. Fortect 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 Fortect, 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 Vanguard virus. Follow these steps

Manual removal using Safe Mode

If your malware removal program fails to start when you try to launch it, reboot your PC using to these instructions. Once the computer is running in Safe Mode with Networking, try launching your virus removal software again.

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.
  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.
  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.

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
    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):


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

Remove Vanguard using System Restore

If the method 1 didn’t help you to get rid of the malicious program, follow these steps.

  • 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 Vanguard. 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 FortectIntego and make sure that Vanguard removal is performed successfully.

Bonus: Recover your data

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

As we have said, there is no way to recover the entire volume of data that was encrypted by Vanguard virus. However, if you have a backup, you will be able to restore at least older versions of your documents and other files such as images or videos. In the worst case (if you do not have a backup), try these data recovery methods. Sadly, they might not help you to recover your files because the ransomware corrupts them using highly sophisticated encryption methods. 

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

Run a scan with Data Recovery Pro

Data Recovery Pro is one of those tools that can help you to restore corrupted or deleted files. We suggest trying this tool in case they got affected by Vanguard.

  • 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 Vanguard ransomware;
  • Restore them.

Recover individual files

This trick will work for you if you have created a system restore point in the past. 

  • 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”.

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

How to prevent from getting ransomware

Stream videos without limitations, no matter where you are

There are multiple parties that could find out almost anything about you by checking your online activity. While this is highly unlikely, advertisers and tech companies are constantly tracking you online. The first step to privacy should be a secure browser that focuses on tracker reduction to a minimum.

Even if you employ a secure browser, you will not be able to access websites that are restricted due to local government laws or other reasons. In other words, you may not be able to stream Disney+ or US-based Netflix in some countries. To bypass these restrictions, you can employ a powerful Private Internet Access VPN, which provides dedicated servers for torrenting and streaming, not slowing you down in the process.

Data backups are important – recover your lost files

Ransomware is one of the biggest threats to personal data. Once it is executed on a machine, it launches a sophisticated encryption algorithm that locks all your files, although it does not destroy them. The most common misconception is that anti-malware software can return files to their previous states. This is not true, however, and data remains locked after the malicious payload is deleted.

While regular data backups are the only secure method to recover your files after a ransomware attack, tools such as Data Recovery Pro can also be effective and restore at least some of your lost data.

About the author
Alice Woods
Alice Woods - Likes to teach users about virus prevention

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