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Vanss ransomware. How to remove? (Uninstall guide)

removal by Gabriel E. Hall - - | Type: Ransomware

Vanss ransomware is a cryptovirus that uses the same email address as previous Dharma versions 

Vanss ransomware virus
Vanss ransomware is a cryptovirus that encodes your files using AES algorithm.

Vanss ransomware — a file-locking malware that adds .vanss file extension after it finishes its encryption process. This is the newest variant of Dharma ransomware that looks identical to previous versions and uses the same blacklist@cock.li contact email as previous threats released since May 2018. Typically to other versions hailing from this ransomware family, Vanss appends ransom note in the form of FILES ENCRYPTED.txt and Info.hta files. These contain recovery instructions, payment methods and more information about the attack performed behind the user's back. However, the test decryption that is offered by ransomware developers is not a good idea and paying the ransom, in general, can hardly give positive results. You should focus on virus removal first before worrying about encoded data. Unfortunately, there is no official decryption tool for this particular variant yet.

Name Vanss ransomware
Type Cryptovirus
Related Dharma ransomware
Previous version
Ransom note FILES ENCRYPTED.txt; Info.hta
File extension .[Blacklist@cock.li].vanss
Contact email blacklist@cock.li
Distribution Spam email attachments
Decryption There is no decryption tool for the particular version
Elimination Use Reimage for Vanss ransomware removal

Ransomware-type threats, including Vanss ransomware, have been starting their attack from changing the registry entries, adding files to a directory or modifying additional system content. The encryption[1] process is the final stage of the ransomware attack when all changes are already made. The virus modifies the following registry keys[2] on the system of victims' device:

  • \Registry\Machine\Software\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Image File Execution Options\996E.exe
  • \Registry\MACHINE\System\CurrentControlSet\Control\SafeBoot\Option
  • \Registry\Machine\Software\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\Safer\CodeIdentifiers
  • \Registry\Machine\Software\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Image File Execution Options\ole32.dll
  • \Registry\Machine\Software\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Image File Execution Options\oleaut32.dll
  • \Registry\Machine\Software\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Image File Execution Options\version.dll
  • \Registry\Machine\Software\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Image File Execution Options\comctl32.dll
  • \REGISTRY\MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\Safer\CodeIdentifiers\TransparentEnabled

Additionally, ransomware works in the background until it encodes all victim's files. Cybercriminals develop this virus to scan the system and find the most used files for encryption. Previous variants use AES encryption method to make user's files useless. Every encrypted file is marked using .vanss file extension that displays which data is locked and unavailable for the use. 

Once the files are encrypted, malware drops the FILES ENCRYPTED.txt and Info.hta ransom notes in every folder on the system. Unfortunately, there is no solution for encrypted data besides file backups and several options that we presented below. If you are looking for the decryption tool designed for this particular variant, we must warn you not to buy it from cybercriminals because you can be scammed. 

You need to remove Vanss ransomware as soon as possible because cyber threats like these crypto-extortionists can affect the system in a more significant way. Ransomware can interact with Windows files in System folders or alter functions of an operating system without you even noticing to make the virus more persistent and dangerous.

Vanss ransomware removal can be performed using anti-malware tools like Reimage or a few other that we list below the article. Scan your system thoroughly and delete all detected intruders to make your system clear again. After this, you can try data recovery methods from down below or replace your files from a safe backup.

File attachments on spam emails used to infect computers

The most effective tactic used to spread ransomware intruders effectively is spam email attachments. Files added as an attachment to email message usually pose to be secure documents from services or companies. It may look like you got an invoice, a receipt, order information or banking statement. Senders often imitate big companies like PayPal, eBay or Amazon, and DHL.

However, these files are often be filled with macros or designed to self-extract the malicious file or even direct malware payload. Researcher[3] note that URLs on these email may also be infected and spread cyber infections immediately after you enter the website. Opening the page automaticaly downloads the ransomware and installs the malicious file. Clean the email box more frequently and avoid any suspicious email. Do not open the email you haven't expected. 

Remove Vanss ransomware and all related files using reputable anti-malware

When it comes to cyber threats as dangerous as cryptocurrency demanding ransomware, virus elimination is a necessary and challenging process. To remove Vanss ransomware from the system completely, you need to employ anti-malware tools like Reimage, Malwarebytes MalwarebytesCombo Cleaner or Plumbytes Anti-MalwareMalwarebytes Malwarebytes. These programs detect malware, corrupted files, and other virus damage and delete possible threats entirely off the device.

Automatic Vanss ransomware removal is the best solution because there are tons of changes you cannot find manually. And data recovery cannot be made on an infected device because ransomware performs yet another encryption on newly added files. Double-check if the system is clear before adding new files on the computer or attempting data recovery. You may need to enter the Safe Mode before scanning the system, so your antivirus works properly.

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What to do if failed?
If you failed to remove virus damage using Reimage, submit a question to our support team and provide as much details as possible.
Reimage is recommended to remove virus damage. 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.
Alternative Software
Different security software includes different virus database. If you didn’t succeed in finding malware with Reimage, try running alternative scan with Malwarebytes.
Alternative Software
Different security software includes different virus database. If you didn’t succeed in finding malware with Reimage, try running alternative scan with Combo Cleaner.

To remove Vanss virus, follow these steps:

Remove Vanss using Safe Mode with Networking

Try rebooting your device in Safe Mode with networking before a full system scan to properly remove Vanss ransomware:

  • 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 Vanss

    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 Vanss removal.

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

Remove Vanss using System Restore

Follow these steps to enable System Restore feature:

  • 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 Vanss. 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 Vanss removal is performed successfully.

Bonus: Recover your data

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

Data Recovery Pro is helpful when there are no file backups

You can also restore accidentally deleted files using Data Recovery Pro

  • 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 Vanss ransomware;
  • Restore them.

Windows Previous Versions feature is an alternative method for recovering your data

If System Restore was enabled before you can use Windows Previous versions in data recovery after Vanss ransomware 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”.

ShadowExplorer could be useful while recovering encrypted data

If Shadow Volume Copies remain untouched, use ShadowExplorer and restore your lost files

  • 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.

Decryption tool is not developed yet

Finally, you should always think about the protection of crypto-ransomwares. In order to protect your computer from Vanss and other ransomwares, use a reputable anti-spyware, such as Reimage, Malwarebytes MalwarebytesCombo Cleaner or Plumbytes Anti-MalwareMalwarebytes Malwarebytes

About the author

Gabriel E. Hall
Gabriel E. Hall - Passionate web researcher

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