Severity scale:  
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Vurten ransomware. How to remove? (Uninstall guide)

removal by Julie Splinters - - | Type: Ransomware

Vurten is a ransomware virus that demands $ 10,000 for a decryptor

Vurten ransomware attacks English-speaking users

Vurten is a crypto-virus that has been revealed at the beginning of April 2018. The malware employs AES cryptography[1] to lock files on a targeted system. Encrypted files are distinguished from the others by .improved file extension. Upon successful encryption, Vurten ransomware creates a ransom note called UNCRYPT.README.txt, which demands the victim to pay $ 10,000 in Bitcoins for a unique decryptor.

Name Vurten
Type Ransomware
Danger level High. Corrupts core system's components and locks personal data
Distribution Malicious spam email attachments, exploit kits, rogue software, drive-by-download
File extension .improved
Ransom note UNCRYPT.README.txt
Ransom demanded $ 10,000 in Bitcoins
Boot the system into Safe Mode with Networking. Download Reimage and run a scan to delete Vurten ransomware

The ransomware hasn't yet been translated into languages. Its original version is written in English, so experts warn English-speaking users to mind the rules of safe web browsing. Experts from NoVirus.uk[2] stress the important to filter suspicious email messages out. Vurten ransomware is distributed via malicious spam email attachments (DOC and DOCX files) most actively. However, it can also be transmitted via exploit kits and fake software updates.

As soon as the payload is executed, Vurten virus starts scanning the system for targeted files. Using Administrative privileges, it runs scripts via Command Prompt to root into the OS and enable AES-256 cipher. Consequently, most of the personal files are appended with .improved file extension and cannot be read.

The information provided for the victim is not explicit, though it's sufficient for making the payment. The UNCRYPT.README.txt file says:

Your entire network is sensible data encrypted with our strong algorithm.
To recover your data send $ 10000 to the bitcoin address: 1Ln9RxSRuDqqFhCTuqBPBKRMeyhVhRaUG4
If you do not send money within 7 days, payment will be increased double.
After payment you will receive decryption software.
Contact email: vurten_knyert@protonmail.com

Developers of the Vurten ransomware virus are quite immodest. The decryptor they offer costs $ 10,000, which is by far the highest ransom demanded this year.[3] The deadline for payment is seven days, which is supposed to be sufficient to collect a required sum. Nevertheless, we do not recommend paying the ransom. Not only because it's abnormally high, but because there's a risk that hackers will send you a useless decryptor or a severe cyber infection (rootkit, spyware, worm, etc.).

If you fall victim to this crypto malware, run a scan with Reimage, Malwarebytes MalwarebytesCombo Cleaner or Plumbytes Anti-MalwareMalwarebytes Malwarebytes and remove Vurten virus asap. The malware initiates multiple system's changes, including Windows Registry, boot options, and other system's parameters. Thus, Vurten removal is a must if you want to use your PC normally.

The ransomware hasn't yet spread widely, though experts specultate that it may be targetting large companies. That may be the reason why extortionists require for $ 10,000 . The ransomware targets the most popular file types, including but not limited to:

.Png, .psd, .pspimage, .tga, .thm, .tif, .tiff, .yuv, .ai, .eps, .ps, .svg, .indd, .pct, .pdf, .xlr, .xls, .xlsx, .accdb, .db, .dbf, .mdb, .pdb, .sql, .apk, .app, .bat, .cgi, .com, .exe, .gadget, .jar, .pif, .wsf, .dem, .gam, .nes, .rom, .sav, .dwg, .dxf, .gpx, .kml, .kmz, .asp, .aspx, .cer, .cfm, .csr, .css, .htm, .html, .js, .jsp, .php, .rss, .xhtml, .doc, .docx, .log, .msg, .odt, .pages, .rtf, .tex, .txt, .wpd, .wps, .csv, .dat, .ged, .key, .keychain, .pps, .ppt, .pptx, .ini, .prf, .hqx, .mim, .uue, .7z, .cbr, .deb, .gz, .pkg, .rar, .rpm, .sitx, .tar.gz, .zip, .zipx, .bin, .cue, .dmg, .iso, .mdf, .toast, .vcd, .sdf, .tar, .tax2014, .tax2015, .vcf, .xml, .aif, .iff, .m3u, .m4a, .mid, .mp3, .mpa, .wav, .wma, .3g2, .3gp, .asf, .avi, .flv, .m4v, .mov, .mp4, .mpg, .rm, .srt, .swf, .vob, .wmv, .3d, .3dm, .3ds, .max, .obj, .r.bmp, .dds, .gif, .jpg, .crx, .plugin, .fnt, .fon, .otf, .ttf, .cab, .cpl, .cur, .deskthemepack, .dll, .dmp, .drv, .icns, .ico, .lnk, .sys, .cfg.

Even though .improved file extension virus might lock most of the files on the system, do not rush to pay the ransom. Instead of that, remove Vurten virus and try to recover your files with the help of third-party software. You can find explicit recovery instructions at the end of this article.

Distribution campaigns do not change

In general, ransomware viruses are known for the employment of extr4emelly misleading distribution techniques, such as:

  • Malspam. Hackers rely on spam bots to spread deceptive emails from well-known companies reporting parcel shipment problems, debts, and similar. The messages contain an attachment (dox, doc, pdf, png, and other formats that disguise a malicious .exe file).
  • Fake software updates. Pop-up ads or new tab URL ads warning about updated software or critical vulnerabilities that can supposedly be patched by installing the update.
  • Exploit kits. Hackers employ a specific toolkit to reveal system's vulnerabilities and attack them to inject ransomware payload.
  • Illegal websites. Pornographic or gambling sites, as well as fake domains, can be infected with JavaScript code. They can contain malicious ads or download ransomware by default. 

The listy is not definitive, but other methods are less commonly used. Anyway, it's important to keep OS updated and download software updates regularly to patch system's vulnerabilities. Besides, keep a reputable antivirus installed and update its definitions as frequently as possible.

Finally, do not fall for opening suspicious emails. If the sender is unknown, the message contains grammar or typo mistakes; it's better to report the email as spam and delete it.

Instructions on how to delete Vurten ransomware virus

Even though you have $ 10, 000 in your pocket, we do not recommend paying the ransom. Cybercriminals cannot be trusted since no one knows whether they have a working Vurten decryptor or not.

You should remove Vurten from the system entirely using Reimage, Plumbytes Anti-MalwareMalwarebytes Malwarebytes or Malwarebytes MalwarebytesCombo Cleaner, but many other tools can help you as well. Manual removal is not possible since the virus corrupts core system's components, such as Registry Entries.

Once the Vurten removal is finished, you can retrieve locked data from backups or rely on third-party software. There's a variety of methods that can help you to get the access to your data back.

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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 Vurten virus, follow these steps:

Remove Vurten using Safe Mode with Networking

Boot the system into Safe Mode with Networking. This is necessary to bypass ransomware helper objects that can hinder antivirus performance.

  • 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 Vurten

    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 Vurten removal.

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

Remove Vurten using System Restore

  • 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 Vurten. 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 Vurten removal is performed successfully.

Bonus: Recover your data

Guide which is presented above is supposed to help you remove Vurten from your computer. To recover your encrypted files, we recommend using a detailed guide prepared by 2-spyware.com security experts.

We do not recommend paying the ransom demanded by this ransomware. There's no guarantee that the paid decryptor will work. Besides, hackers may trick you into downloading another virus. Thus, we recommend you to get rid of Vurten malware asap and try to recover data by following these steps:

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

Download Data Recovery Pro

Download and install Data Recovery Pro. This powerful tool is primarily oriented to recover accidentally deleted files, but it can be useful for extracting data corrupted by virus. 

  • 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 Vurten ransomware;
  • Restore them.

Previous Windows Version

If you need to recover separate files, Previous Windows versions might help. For this purpose, you have to check if you have created a System Restore Point before the 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”.

Extract Volume Shadow Copies

ShadowExplorer is a tool that searches for Volume Shadow Copies on the system and restores data from them. Unfortunately, malware often runs scripts to delete these copies, but you can never know whether Vuren virus does that or not without trying:

  • 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.

No decryptor.

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

About the author

Julie Splinters
Julie Splinters - Malware removal specialist

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