Remove VapeLauncher ransomware / virus (Simple Removal Guide) - Decryption Methods Included

removal by Ugnius Kiguolis - - | Type: Ransomware

VapeLauncher virus Removal Guide

What is VapeLauncher ransomware virus?

Minecraft fans are now targeted by VapeLauncher ransomware:

If you haven’t heard about VapeLauncher virus yet — don’t worry. You will learn everything you need to know about this parasite [1] in the following paragraphs. In case you landed on this page while looking for ransomware removal advice, you will find helpful suggestions at the end of the article as well. In addition, to speed up the process and ensure that VapeLauncher removal goes smoothly, we recommend scanning your device with some automatic anti-malware tools. ReimageIntego is one of the anti-malware options you can go for. Of course, you can choose any other anti-ransomware software, just make sure it is legitimate and capable of eliminating ransomware like VapeLauncher from the infected computers.

Image of the VapeLauncher virus VapeLauncher is a ransomware which travels bundled inside "MinecraftHax" bundle. When it is extracted it displays a lock screen as shown above.

We should start the VapeLauncher overview from the very beginning, in particular, from the very origins of this parasite. After conducting an investigation, the experts have discovered one thing — this virus is not an original malware built from scratch. In fact, Vape Launcher is based on an educational ransomware called CryptoWire which can be downloaded from the software development platform Github [2] for free. Unfortunately, as the history has proven, educational ransomware projects never end well. We have witnessed numerous malicious derivatives of HiddenTear and EDA2 in the past, and CryptoWire is not an exception either. VapeLauncher developers have adapted its source code to create a file-encrypting ransomware (using the AES-256 algorithm) which can only be decrypted with the special key. Besides, the virus is also programmed to delete Volume Shadow Copies [3] of the files as well as destroy backup images [4] to make the files impossible to decrypt using alternative methods or third-party software such as ShadowExplorer. Thus, after the infiltration, the files located in AppData, Program Data, Windows, Program Files and Program Files (x86) folders become impossible to access. Besides, the hackers also claim that the virus also encrypts all data found in “Network drives, Network Shares, USB Drives/Sticks, Externals Disks, Internal Disks, Games (Steam), Onedrive, Dropbox, Google Drive.” We should point out that the encryption is silent and goes by without adding specific extensions to the encrypted documents. Nevertheless, the virus will let you know about its hijack by overwriting your system boot settings. This way, when you try to launch your computer, the boot process will be interrupted by an “error” screen displaying the following message:

‘Your files has been safely encrypted
The only way you can recover your files is to buy a decryption key
The payment method is Bitcoins. The price is $200 = 0.2909 Bitcoins’

While 200 dollars may not seem that big of a price to pay for the ability to access your personal files once again, it is better that you refrain from any type of collaboration with the criminals. Keep in mind that it is not you alone that they target. There are also hundreds of other victims that are being wrenched out of money. So, depending on the dispersion of the virus, the hackers may earn thousands of dollars a day, easily support themselves and dedicate their time for creating malicious software in the future.

How is this cyber parasite delivered on the computer?

VapeLauncher virus seems to be targeted specifically at Minecraft players: the name of the bundle it travels around is called Vape2.6-Minecrafthax.net.zip. This Zip archive contains a file called Vape Launcher.exe which is responsible for launching the scan and encryption of the system. Infectious “MinecraftHax” bundles are likely to be promoted on some unreliable websites and software download pages, so you should be careful about the sources you choose for downloading your software. Besides, it is also advisable to always make sure your downloaded content is safe by scanning the item in question with a reliable antivirus scanner and running the installation in the Advanced mode [5].

Remove VapeLauncher and get back your files:

While most users think it is impossible to remove VapeLauncher virus, our experts can assure you — it is not true. You can eliminate the virus from your computer without much difficulty. You just need to dedicate some time and obtain proper tools to make sure the removal goes smoothly. Even if you get stuck with VapeLauncher removal and the virus tries to prevent your antivirus from running the system scan, there are still ways to work around it. In the instructions below we give detailed instructions for the most effective VapeLauncher elimination.

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What to do if failed?
If you failed to remove 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 VapeLauncher virus. Follow these steps

Manual removal using Safe Mode

To stop ransomware from blocking your antivirus, you should run your computer in Safe Mode. To do that you will have to follow these steps:

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 VapeLauncher using System Restore

VapeLauncher must be decontaminated before you carry out the virus removal. You should can do it quite easily, following the instructions below:

  • 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 VapeLauncher. 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 VapeLauncher removal is performed successfully.

Bonus: Recover your data

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

What is the use of Data Recovery Pro for files encrypted by VapeLaucher?

You may use Data Recovery Pro to recover files encrypted by VapeLaucher even if you have no experience with computers whatsoever. You just have to follow the instructions below.

  • 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 VapeLauncher ransomware;
  • Restore them.

Windows Previous Versions feature and its impact on the files encrypted by VapeLauncher

Windows Previous Versions feature is an especially useful in-build Windows feature which helps users to recover files, documents and archives after the attack of such ransomware viruses like VapeLauncher. To use this tool properly, you should follow instructions below.

  • 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”.

How can you use ShadowExplorer to remove from your computer?

Unfortunately, the initial version of VapeLauncher virus deletes all Volume Shadow Copies it manages to find on the infected computer or attached storage drives. So, you will not be able to use Shadow Explorer to roll back some of your lost files. Nevertheless, if your device is infected with some new VapeLauncher version it might be that it does not delete Volume Shadow Copies, so you may use Shadow Explorer to recover you 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.

VapeLauncher decrypter:

The VapeLauncher has not been decrypted yet, but you should check back later as we will update this article immediately after such tool is released.

Finally, you should always think about the protection of crypto-ransomwares. In order to protect your computer from VapeLauncher 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
Ugnius Kiguolis
Ugnius Kiguolis - The mastermind

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