Xash ransomware (virus) - Recovery Instructions Included

Xash virus Removal Guide

What is Xash ransomware?

Xash ransomware belongs to a family with over 600 variants that are released weekly

Xash ransomwareRansomware infections can result in permanent data loss

Xash ransomware is a member of the Djvu ransomware family, which has over 600 variants. Because of their potential distribution via other forms of malware[1] such as trojans and info-stealers, these infections can be difficult to detect. The infection process is subtle and quick, usually taking place when a user opens a file attachment containing a malicious file, downloads a pirated package, or launches a tool that deploys the malware.

Once inside a system, the Xash file virus can wreak havoc and cause significant damage. It skillfully conceals these issues, however, by displaying additional pop-ups, diverting the user's attention solely to their locked data, which can be identified by the .xash extension.

To encrypt commonly used files, the virus employs strong encryption[2] techniques. Following that, a ransom note appears, in which the virus's creators demand payment in exchange for a supposed decryption[3] tool. Nonetheless, they rarely keep this promise, frequently disappearing without providing the victim with a functional decryption solution.

TYPE Cryptovirus, file-locker
MALWARE FAMILY Djvu ransomware
RANSOM NOTE _readme.txt
CONTACT MAILS support@freshmail.top, datarestorehelp@airmail.cc
DISTRIBUTION Malicious files can be shared via email, as well as through various online platforms that may present security risks or engage in pirating activities
REMOVAL Use specialized tools that are designed to remove threats and protect against security breaches
SYSTEM FIX If the infection has caused damage to parts of your machine, you can use FortectIntego to repair any issues with the system that have been caused by the corruption.

Djvu ransomware family

The creators of the Djvu ransomware family use a variety of other malware forms to spread their payload, such as the distribution of pirated packages and the transmission of malicious file attachments. The Xash file virus employs malware such as Vidar and RedLine to infiltrate a system and begin the encryption process.

Users can unknowingly contract the Xash ransomware virus by downloading files from torrent sites or opening malicious file attachments in emails. To avoid infection, it is critical to exercise caution and verify the authenticity of such files before downloading them.

Along with its widespread distribution, the Djvu ransomware has improved its encryption capabilities. The most recent iterations include weekly releases and stronger encryption methods. Furthermore, the virus uses unique online IDs for each affected device, as opposed to previous versions, which used uniform offline keys for all devices encrypted by a specific variant. While the Djvu virus's use of offline keys has become less common, attempting to decrypt these files remains a possibility.

The ransom note

Cybercriminals drop a ransom note _readme.txt, which reads as follows:


Don't worry, you can return all your files!
All your files like pictures, databases, documents and other important are encrypted with strongest encryption and unique key.
The only method of recovering files is to purchase decrypt tool and unique key for you.
This software will decrypt all your encrypted files.
What guarantees you have?
You can send one of your encrypted file from your PC and we decrypt it for free.
But we can decrypt only 1 file for free. File must not contain valuable information.
You can get and look video overview decrypt tool:
Price of private key and decrypt software is $980.
Discount 50% available if you contact us first 72 hours, that's price for you is $490.
Please note that you'll never restore your data without payment.
Check your e-mail “Spam” or “Junk” folder if you don't get answer more than 6 hours.

To get this software you need write on our e-mail:

Reserve e-mail address to contact us:

Your personal ID:

The note guarantees that the victim's encrypted files can be recovered. It claims that all files, including images, databases, documents, and other sensitive information, have been encrypted with strong encryption and a unique key. The victim is instructed to purchase a decrypt tool and a unique key in order to regain access to the files.

According to the note, the decrypt software will restore all encrypted files. To gain trust, the criminals provide a small demonstration by offering to decrypt one file for free. They do, however, specify that the chosen file must not contain any valuable information.

The note includes a link to a video overview of the decrypt tool, which may be used to persuade the victim of its legitimacy. The price of the private key and decrypt software is then mentioned, which is set at $980. If the victim contacts the criminals within the first 72 hours, the price is reduced to $490 for a limited time.

Xash ransom noteIt is risky to trust cyber criminals because decryption is not guaranteed

Why you should not pay

It is crucial for victims to avoid paying the ransom and instead focus on exploring legitimate avenues for data recovery and reporting the incident to the appropriate authorities, because:

  • Lack of trustworthiness: The note is from criminals who have encrypted the victim's files unlawfully. There is no guarantee that paying the ransom will result in the decryption of files or that the criminals will uphold their end of the bargain.
  • Encourages criminal activity: Paying the ransom supports and encourages the criminal enterprise behind the ransomware. It perpetuates their malicious activities, making them more likely to continue targeting others.
  • No guarantee of data restoration: Even if the victim pays the ransom, there is no guarantee that the criminals will provide the decryption tool or the unique key. Victims may end up losing their money without any assurance of recovering their files.
  • Legal consequences: Paying the ransom may involve engaging in illegal activities, potentially making the victim liable to legal repercussions.
  • Support available: Instead of paying the ransom, victims should seek assistance from law enforcement agencies, cybersecurity experts, or reputable data recovery professionals. There may be alternative solutions or decryption tools available to help recover encrypted files without supporting criminals.

Removing the malicious files

Xash ransomware is a powerful and persistent threat that can cause significant damage. It is critical to remove the virus in order to regain control of your machine. One effective approach is to run a thorough system scan with a reputable threat detection tool such as SpyHunter 5Combo Cleaner or Malwarebytes. These tools are intended to find both the malicious files associated with the Xash virus as well as any hidden components that may be linked to it or other viruses.

Detection of the Xash file virus as a potentially dangerous form of malware during a system scan necessitates immediate removal. It is important to note, however, that removing the virus does not imply decrypting it or recovering your data after infection.

The first priority must be virus removal because, if left unchecked, the virus can remain on your machine and encrypt any new files it encounters, as well as re-encrypt previously compromised files, causing irreversible damage. It is critical to act quickly to eliminate the threat, as this will prevent the virus from exacerbating the situation and causing further damage to your system.

The decryption of Djvu virus

In the event that your computer has fallen victim to a variant of the Djvu ransomware, there is a possibility of utilizing the Emsisoft decryptor for Djvu/STOP to attempt data recovery. However, it is important to understand that this tool does not guarantee success for every user. Its effectiveness is limited to cases where the data was locked using an offline ID, indicating a failure of the malware to establish communication with remote servers.

Even if your situation fulfills this requirement, the recovery process relies on someone among the affected victims making a payment to the criminals, acquiring the offline key, and subsequently sharing it with security researchers at Emsisoft. Consequently, immediate restoration of your encrypted files may not be feasible. If the decryptor identifies that your data was indeed locked with an offline ID but currently cannot be recovered, it is advisable to attempt the process again at a later time. To utilize the decryptor, you will also be required to upload a pair of files – one encrypted and one unencrypted – to the servers of the Emsisoft company.

  • Download the app from the official Emsisoft website.Xash ransomware
  • After pressing Download button, a small pop-up at the bottom, titled decrypt_STOPDjvu.exe should show up – click it.
    Xash ransomware
  • If User Account Control (UAC) message shows up, press Yes.
  • Agree to License Terms by pressing Yes.
    Xash ransomware
  • After Disclaimer shows up, press OK.
  • The tool should automatically populate the affected folders, although you can also do it by pressing Add folder at the bottom.
    Xash ransomware
  • Press Decrypt.
    Xash ransomware

From here, there are three available outcomes:

  1. Decrypted!” will be shown under files that were decrypted successfully – they are now usable again.
  2. Error: Unable to decrypt file with ID:” means that the keys for this version of the virus have not yet been retrieved, so you should try later.
  3. This ID appears to be an online ID, decryption is impossible” – you are unable to decrypt files with this tool.

System file recovery

When a computer falls victim to malware, it can result in various alterations to the system's functioning. These changes may involve modifications to the Windows registry database, damage to critical bootup and other system sections, deletion or corruption of DLL files, and more. In instances where malware has caused damage to a system file, traditional antivirus software may prove insufficient in repairing it. This leaves the system in a compromised state, potentially leading to performance, stability, and usability problems that may necessitate a complete reinstallation of the Windows operating system.

To address such issues, we recommend the utilization of FortectIntego, a distinctive and patented repair technology. This application not only resolves Windows-related problems stemming from malware infections but also tackles other issues unrelated to malware. These include addressing Blue Screen errors, system freezes, registry errors, and the restoration of damaged DLL files.

do it now!
Fortect Happiness
Intego Happiness
Compatible with Microsoft Windows Compatible with macOS
What to do if failed?
If you failed to fix virus damage using Fortect Intego, submit a question to our support team and provide as much details as possible.
Fortect Intego has a free limited scanner. Fortect 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 Fortect, 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 Xash virus. Follow these steps

Important steps to take before you begin malware removal

File encryption and ransomware infection are two independent processes (although the latter would not be possible without the former). However, it is important to understand that malware performs various changes within a Windows operating system, fundamentally changing the way it works.

IMPORTANT for those without backups! → 
If you attempt to use security or recovery software immediately, you might permanently damage your files, and even a working decryptor then would not be able to save them.

Before you proceed with the removal instructions below, you should copy the encrypted files onto a separate medium, such as USB flash drive or SSD, and then disconnect them from your computer. Encrypted data does not hold any malicious code, so it is safe to transfer to other devices.

The instructions below might initially seem overwhelming and complicated, but they are not difficult to understand as long as you follow each step in the appropriate order. This comprehensive free guide will help you to handle the malware removal and data recovery process correctly.

If you have any questions, comments, or are having troubles with following the instructions, please do not hesitate to contact us via the Ask Us section.

It is vital to eliminate malware infection from the computer fully before starting the data recovery process, otherwise ransomware might re-encrypt retrieved files from backups repeatedly.

Restore Windows "hosts" file to its original state

Some ransomware might modify Windows hosts file in order to prevent users from accessing certain websites online. For example, Djvu ransomware variants add dozens of entries containing URLs of security-related websites, such as 2-spyware.com. Each of the entries means that users will not be able to access the listed web addresses and will receive an error instead.

Here's an example of “hosts” file entries that were injected by ransomware:

Hosts file

In order to restore your ability to access all websites without restrictions, you should either delete the file (Windows will automatically recreate it) or remove all the malware-created entries. If you have never touched the “hosts” file before, you should simply delete it by marking it and pressing Shift + Del on your keyboard. For that, navigate to the following location:


Delete Windows "hosts" file

Restore files using data recovery software

Since many users do not prepare proper data backups prior to being attacked by ransomware, they might often lose access to their files permanently. Paying criminals is also very risky, as they might not fulfill the promises and never send back the required decryption tool.

While this might sound terrible, not all is lost – data recovery software might be able to help you in some situations (it highly depends on the encryption algorithm used, whether ransomware managed to complete the programmed tasks, etc.). Since there are thousands of different ransomware strains, it is immediately impossible to tell whether third-party software will work for you.

Therefore, we suggest trying regardless of which ransomware attacked your computer. Before you begin, several pointers are important while dealing with this situation:

  • Since the encrypted data on your computer might permanently be damaged by security or data recovery software, you should first make backups of it – use a USB flash drive or another storage.
  • Only attempt to recover your files using this method after you perform a scan with anti-malware software.

Install data recovery software

  1. Download Data Recovery Pro.
  2. Double-click the installer to launch it.
    Launch installer
  3. Follow on-screen instructions to install the software. Install program
  4. As soon as you press Finish, you can use the app.
  5. Select Everything or pick individual folders where you want the files to be recovered from. Select what to recover
  6. Press Next.
  7. At the bottom, enable Deep scan and pick which Disks you want to be scanned. Select Deep scan
  8. Press Scan and wait till it is complete. Scan
  9. You can now pick which folders/files to recover – don't forget you also have the option to search by the file name!
  10. Press Recover to retrieve your files. Recover files

Create data backups to avoid file loss in the future

One of the many countermeasures for home users against ransomware is data backups. Even if your Windows get corrupted, you can reinstall everything from scratch and retrieve files from backups with minimal losses overall. Most importantly, you would not have to pay cybercriminals and risk your money as well.

Therefore, if you have already dealt with a ransomware attack, we strongly advise you to prepare backups for future use. There are two options available to you:

  • Backup on a physical external drive, such as a USB flash drive or external HDD.
  • Use cloud storage services.

The first method is not that convenient, however, as backups need to constantly be updated manually – although it is very reliable. Therefore, we highly advise choosing cloud storage instead – it is easy to set up and efficient to sustain. The problem with it is that storage space is limited unless you want to pay for the subscription.

Using Microsoft OneDrive

OneDrive is a built-in tool that comes with every modern Windows version. By default, you get 5 GB of storage that you can use for free. You can increase that storage space, but for a price. Here's how to setup backups for OneDrive:

  1. Click on the OneDrive icon within your system tray.
  2. Select Help & Settings > Settings.
    Go to OneDrive settings
  3. If you don't see your email under the Account tab, you should click Add an account and proceed with the on-screen instructions to set yourself up.
    Add OneDrive account
  4. Once done, move to the Backup tab and click Manage backup.
    Manage backup
  5. Select Desktop, Documents, and Pictures, or a combination of whichever folders you want to backup.
  6. Press Start backup.
    Pick which folders to sync

After this, all the files that are imported into the above-mentioned folders will be automatically backed for you. If you want to add other folders or files, you have to do that manually. For that, open File Explorer by pressing Win + E on your keyboard, and then click on the OneDrive icon. You should drag and drop folders you want to backup (or you can use Copy/Paste as well).

Using Google Drive

Google Drive is another great solution for free backups. The good news is that you get as much as 15GB for free by choosing this storage. There are also paid versions available, with significantly more storage to choose from.

You can access Google Drive via the web browser or use a desktop app you can download on the official website. If you want your files to be synced automatically, you will have to download the app, however.

  1. Download the Google Drive app installer and click on it.
    Install Google Drive app
  2. Wait a few seconds for it to be installed. Complete installation
  3. Now click the arrow within your system tray – you should see Google Drive icon there, click it once.
    Google Drive Sign in
  4. Click Get Started. Backup and sync
  5. Enter all the required information – your email/phone, and password. Enter email/phone
  6. Now pick what you want to sync and backup. You can click on Choose Folder to add additional folders to the list.
  7. Once done, pick Next. Choose what to sync
  8. Now you can select to sync items to be visible on your computer.
  9. Finally, press Start and wait till the sync is complete. Your files are now being backed up.

Report the incident to your local authorities

Ransomware is a huge business that is highly illegal, and authorities are very involved in catching malware operators. To have increased chances of identifying the culprits, the agencies need information. Therefore, by reporting the crime, you could help with stopping the cybercriminal activities and catching the threat actors. Make sure you include all the possible details, including how did you notice the attack, when it happened, etc. Additionally, providing documents such as ransom notes, examples of encrypted files, or malware executables would also be beneficial.

Law enforcement agencies typically deal with online fraud and cybercrime, although it depends on where you live. Here is the list of local authority groups that handle incidents like ransomware attacks, sorted by country:

Internet Crime Complaint Center IC3

If your country is not listed above, you should contact the local police department or communications center.

Manual removal using Safe Mode

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.
  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.
  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.

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
    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):


After you are finished, reboot the PC in normal mode.

How to prevent from getting ransomware

Choose a proper web browser and improve your safety with a VPN tool

Online spying has got momentum in recent years and people are getting more and more interested in how to protect their privacy online. One of the basic means to add a layer of security – choose the most private and secure web browser. Although web browsers can't grant full privacy protection and security, some of them are much better at sandboxing, HTTPS upgrading, active content blocking, tracking blocking, phishing protection, and similar privacy-oriented features. However, if you want true anonymity, we suggest you employ a powerful Private Internet Access VPN – it can encrypt all the traffic that comes and goes out of your computer, preventing tracking completely.


Lost your files? Use data recovery software

While some files located on any computer are replaceable or useless, others can be extremely valuable. Family photos, work documents, school projects – these are types of files that we don't want to lose. Unfortunately, there are many ways how unexpected data loss can occur: power cuts, Blue Screen of Death errors, hardware failures, crypto-malware attack, or even accidental deletion.

To ensure that all the files remain intact, you should prepare regular data backups. You can choose cloud-based or physical copies you could restore from later in case of a disaster. If your backups were lost as well or you never bothered to prepare any, Data Recovery Pro can be your only hope to retrieve your invaluable files.

About the author
Julie Splinters
Julie Splinters - Anti-malware specialist

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