VHDLocker ransomware / virus (Decryption Steps Included) - Free Guide
VHDLocker virus Removal Guide
What is VHDLocker ransomware virus?
The main features of VHDLocker ransomware virus
VHDLocker ransomware is quite a strange example of a file-encrypting virus. One the affected computer it locks targeted files and stores them in a Virtual Hard Disk (VHD). The virus does not target the wide range of files; however, it makes sure that all popular file types won’t survive the attack. After infiltration, it scans the system and looks for various audio, video, music, image files, MS Word documents, PDFs, ZIP archives, databases, etc. Following data encryption, VHDLocker virus (also known as PleaseRead Ransomware) leaves a ransom note called PLEASE READ.txt where informs victims about the attack and gives instructions for data recovery. The developer of the ransomware starts with an apology for causing problems for the victim and informs that it’s just a business. If a victim wants to get back access to the files, he or she has to transfer 0,5 Bitcoins to the provided Bitcoin wallet address. Once the transaction is made, a victim should contact the cyber criminal via one of these email addresses firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com to get a necessary password to unlock the files. Though, if you got infected with ransomware, we want to discourage you from following hacker’s orders. It’s better to remove VHDLocker than risk losing your money. No one can guarantee you that the hacker provides you a password after you pay the money, or the password will actually work. What is more, you may get infected with another money and asked to transfer more money.
After infiltration VHDLocker virus might make entries in the Windows Registry in order to launch itself every time victims turns on the computer and starts Windows. What is more, the virus might be capable of deleting Shadow Volume Copies of the targeted files by using vssadmin.exe Delete Shadows /All /Quiet command. If it succeeds, data recovery might be a complicated task for those who do not have data backups. However, the fear of losing your personal files should not encourage you to pay the ransom. As we already mentioned, it’s a risky business, and we believe that you do not want to be a sponsor for further cyber crimes. Therefore, after the attack, start VHDLocker removal immediately. To complete this task successfully, you will need to employ professional malware removal program such as RestoroIntego or SpyHunter 5Combo Cleaner.
Once VHDLocker ransomware virus encrypts targeted files, it drops a ransom note and gives victim instructions what to do next.
Distribution techniques and methods
VHDLocker malware hasn’t started spreading widely yet. However, it seems that the most common way to distribute the virus is spam emails campaigns. The developers of the virus attach obfuscated ransomware executable in a misleading email and express the urge to open it. The dangerous email might pretend to be a notification from PayPal, Facebook, Instagram or other well-known organization, shop or business enterprise. Therefore, the attached document might look like ordinary PDF, DOCX or XLSX file; however, it might include a Trojan. Hence, if you want to protect your data from the ransomware, you should be careful with emails. Open attached documents or click on provided links only if you are 100% sure that you can trust the sender. What is more, you should also strengthen your computer’s security by installing an antivirus program and keeping all your software updated. Staying away from high-risk websites and avoid clicking on online ads reduce the risk of malware attack as well.
Guidelines for VHDLocker removal
Ransomware removal should be taken seriously; hence, you should not try to do it manually. To remove VHDLocker manually might end up with causing even bigger damage to your computer. File-encrypting viruses are capable of hiding under safe-looking filenames, and you may accidentally delete crucial system file. We highly recommend to employ a reputable malware removal tool such as RestoroIntego, SpyHunter 5Combo Cleaner or Malwarebytes and initiate automatic VHDLocker removal. However, we want to point out athat you may need to reboot your computer to the Safe Mode in order to install, update or launch malware removal program. Below you will instructions how to do it.
Getting rid of VHDLocker virus. Follow these steps
Manual removal using Safe Mode
Before installing malware removal program, reboot your computer to the Safe Mode as shown below:
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 VHDLocker using System Restore
If you still cannot install or run malware removal software, please follow the instructions:
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 VHDLocker. 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 VHDLocker from your computer. To recover your encrypted files, we recommend using a detailed guide prepared by 2-spyware.com security experts.
If you have data backups, after VHDLocker removal, plugin external device and copy necessary files. Otherwise, try additional data recovery methods presented below. We cannot assure that you will succeed to recover all encrypted files; though, the at least some of them should be rescued.
If your files are encrypted by VHDLocker, you can use several methods to restore them:
Restore files encrypted by VHDLocker ransomware virus using Data Recovery Pro
Data Recover Pro is not an actual decrypter for VHDLocker; however, this tool is capable of restoring deleted, corrupted and some of the encrypted files. Hence, we highly recommend giving it a try.
- 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 VHDLocker ransomware;
- Restore them.
Restore files encrypted byVHDLocker virus using Windows Previous Versions feature
Windows Previous Versions feature allows traveling back in time and access previously saved versions of the encrypted documents. However, this data recovery method is only available if System Restore function was enabled before 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”.
VHDLocker Decryptor is not available yet
As soon as decryption software for VHDLocker decryption is released, we update the information.
Finally, you should always think about the protection of crypto-ransomwares. In order to protect your computer from VHDLocker and other ransomwares, use a reputable anti-spyware, such as RestoroIntego, 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.
- ^ Margaret Rouse. Virtual hard disk (VHD). SearchVirtualDesktop by TechTarget. Virtual Desktop Information, News and Tips.
- ^ Jacob Timp. Hackers Continue To Use Bitcoin, Despite Exceptional Predictability. Cointelegraph. Cointelegraph Bitcoin .
- ^ Jason Murdock. Ransomware: Cyber criminals have locked your computer but should you pay up?. IBTimes UK. Latest breaking news, business news from International Business Times UK Edition.
- ^ Shadow Copy. Wikipedia. The free encyclopedia.
- ^ How to Identify a Dangerous/Malicious Email. Optimal Networks. The official website of the IT company Optimal Networks.