VenusLocker virus Removal Guide
What is VenusLocker ransomware virus?
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. 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. 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 and Ransom_Cryptear.B. 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.
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 ReimageIntego can assist you with the virus elimination. Otherwise, you can be left with no money and no files. VenusLocker sets a time limit to scare victims even more.
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.
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.
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.
Getting rid of VenusLocker virus. Follow these steps
Manual removal using Safe Mode
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:
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
- Click Start > Shutdown > Restart > OK.
- 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.
- Select Safe Mode with Networking from the list.
Windows 10 / Windows 8
- Right-click on Start button and select Settings.
- Scroll down to pick Update & Security.
- On the left side of the window, pick Recovery.
- Now scroll down to find Advanced Startup section.
- Click Restart now.
- Select Troubleshoot.
- Go to Advanced options.
- Select Startup Settings.
- Press Restart.
- Now press 5 or click 5) Enable Safe Mode with Networking.
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:
- Press Ctrl + Shift + Esc on your keyboard to open Windows Task Manager.
- Click on More details.
- Scroll down to Background processes section, and look for anything suspicious.
- Right-click and select Open file location.
- Go back to the process, right-click and pick End Task.
- Delete the contents of the malicious folder.
Step 3. Check program Startup
- Press Ctrl + Shift + Esc on your keyboard to open Windows Task Manager.
- Go to Startup tab.
- 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:
- Type in Disk Cleanup in Windows search and press Enter.
- 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).
- Scroll through the Files to delete list and select the following:
Temporary Internet Files
- Pick Clean up system files.
- 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 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
- Click Start → Shutdown → Restart → OK.
- When your computer becomes active, start pressing F8 multiple times until you see the Advanced Boot Options window.
- Select Command Prompt from the list
Windows 10 / Windows 8
- Press the Power button at the Windows login screen. Now press and hold Shift, which is on your keyboard, and click Restart..
- Now select Troubleshoot → Advanced options → Startup Settings and finally press Restart.
- Once your computer becomes active, select Enable Safe Mode with Command Prompt in Startup Settings window.
Step 2: Restore your system files and settings
- Once the Command Prompt window shows up, enter cd restore and click Enter.
- Now type rstrui.exe and press Enter again..
- 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.
- Now click Yes to start system restore.
Bonus: Recover your dataGuide 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 2-spyware.com 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.
- 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 VenusLocker ransomware;
- Restore them.
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 ReimageIntego, 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.