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VenusLocker ransomware virus. How to remove? (Uninstall guide)

removal by Lucia Danes - -   Also known as Venus Locker | Type: Ransomware

VenusLocker stoped working as ransomware and started mining Monero

VenusLocker – malicious ransomware virus that was created on the basis of EDA2 ransomware and was initially released for educational purposes. However, according to the latest reports, it has already stopped asking ransoms. To generate income, VenusLocker has recently started mining Monero.[1] This is a completely new tendency that may become common in 2018.

VenusLocker started its activity as the educational program used to help users learn the main dangers related to ransomware. However, soon after its release, the virus was set to perform malicious activities on victims’ computers.[2] After these changes, it started using .venus file extension to mark affected data.

In fact, it is not the first case when educational programs start working as evil apps. For instance, Hidden Tear ransomware has also received some dangerous follow-ups including Magic ransomware, Linux.Encoder[3] and Ransom_Cryptear.B.[4] Venus Locker appeared on the ransomware market not that long ago, but it has already managed to affect hundreds of computers worldwide.

This program uses AES and RSA-2048 encryption keys to lock the files, making them virtually inaccessible. After the encryption, VenusLocker malware claims “You are hacked” and asks the victims to pay a set amount of money if they want to see their files ever again. Though the sum the hackers ask for is relatively small (1 BTC), paying up is the last thing you should do.

Questions about VenusLocker ransomware virus

It is much wiser and safer to remove VenusLocker from the infected computer rather than try buying out your data from the unreliable criminals. Professional antivirus utilities, such as Reimage can assist you with the virus elimination. Otherwise, you can be left with no money and no files.[5]   

As we have already mentioned, VenusLocker creators have recently started mining Monero cryptocurrency. The first example was noticed in South Korea but there is a huge possibility that the virus will show up in other world's countries as well. 

Systems are infected using various social engineering schemes, for example, informing users that their personal photos were abused and that they need to double check them to stop their distribution. Once the victim downloads this “photo”, Monero Miner starts working behind user's back.

If you got infected with VenusLocker that offers you to buy the private data decryption key for the encryption of your files, you should never buy it. Keep in mind that your are dealing with cyber criminals who can easily fail to send you the required decryption key. Besides, they can easily use the revenue to create even more malicious computer infections.[6]

To avoid these consequences, take care of VenusLocker removal first instead of paying up. Then, do not panic and follow data recovery tips provided in the end of this post. 

February 2017 Update: Korean malware joins up VenusLocker

Thanks to John Lambart, the virtual community was notified of the Korean virus which distributes an updated version of VenusLocker ransomware. While “English” ransomware viruses dominate in the crypto-malware market, recent news reveals that cyber villains of other nationalities are making a move as well. The virus researcher notifies netizens to beware of the malware which is written in the Korean language.

Surprisingly, it is the same distribution technique employed by Locky and Cerber ransomware. The improved version disguises in the Korean malware which asks victims to enable macros. Interestingly, that the developers of this virus simplified the task of making the required modification. Targeted users only have to click CTRL+A and change the font of the text to execute the infection.

As a result, the risk to execute the infection greatly boosts up. Note that there have been detected English versions of this update as well. Pay close attention not to enter this command accidentally. The new version of Venus Locker spreads via spam message in the form of fake invoices and other seemingly important notifications.

Ransomware prevention 

VenusLocker is currently still undecryptable which means that there is no way to unlock the files affected by this virus other than paying the ransom. We want to emphasize again, that for the sake of your future files and the balance of your bank account it is safer to get rid of the infection as soon as possible. However, even after the virus is removed you will have encrypted data to deal with.

If you did not have any backup copies of your files saved on external drives before the infection, the possibility of successfully recovering your data is very low. You may try out alternative data recovery solutions but do not put too much hope to them.

As you have already understood, the best way to protect your files is to make copies and keep them on separate external storage drives. Please note that your USB, external hard drive or other storage devices should be unplugged from the computer when not in use. Otherwise, the virus may infect these drives as well and you may lose your important information completely.

Removing VenusLocker – mission possible?

A thing to remember about the ransomware viruses is that these infections are not that easy to get rid of. If you are non-professional, we do not recommend taking actions against this virus yourself.

You can only use the manual VenusLocker removal approach in case the virus is blocking your antivirus from running, and the full system scan cannot initiate. These instructions are provided below the article.

When you complete these steps, it is crucial that you run the virus-fighting utility again to remove VenusLocker virus from your computer completely.

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If you failed to remove infection using Reimage, submit a question to our support team and provide as much details as possible.
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To remove VenusLocker virus, follow these steps:

Remove VenusLocker using Safe Mode with Networking

If your remover is blocked, you need to reboot your computer to Safe Mode with networking first to avoid this problem. For that, follow these steps:

  • 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 VenusLocker

    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 VenusLocker removal.

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

Remove VenusLocker using System Restore

You can use System Restore to block Venus Locker and launch your remover. For that, use 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 VenusLocker. 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 VenusLocker removal is performed successfully.

Bonus: Recover your data

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

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

Use Data Recovery Pro to recover your files encrypted by Venus Locker

If you want to retrieve your files, you can try Data Recovery Pro – a well-known tool to revive accidentally deleted files and lost files. 

Use Windows Previous Versions features to recover files encrypted by VenusLocker ransomware

If system restore function was enabled on your computer before the infiltration of Venus Locker, you can use the following guide to recover your files.

  • 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”.

Looking for VenusLocker Decrypter?

Despite the fact that the original version made its appearance a while ago, there is no official decryption software released yet.

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

About the author

Lucia Danes
Lucia Danes - Virus researcher

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