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Remove Zekwacrypt ransomware / virus (Virus Removal Instructions) - Decryption Steps Included

removal by Jake Doevan - - | Type: Ransomware

Overview of Zekwacrypt ransomware virus

Zekwacrypt virus (also known as Win32/Zekwacrypt.A) is a dangerous ransomware-type cyber infection[1] that damages a wide range of files stored on the targeted computer. It is capable of encrypting more than 600 different file types, so there’s no doubt that ransomware attack will cause huge damage to the users. All images, databases, documents, audio, video and other files will be encrypted with a strong encryption algorithm. During data encryption, Zekwacrypt ransomware appends a unique 7-character file extension to the targeted files. Therefore, after data encryption example.jpg will be renamed to example.jpg.zxcvbnm. What is more, malware searches for deletes all files that include name “backup” and “backups,” so recovering files from Shadow Volume Copies[2] is impossible. The only files that are left untouched by the Zekwacrypt malware are Microsoft, Windows, Temp, Framework, Torrents, Torrent, Borland, Content.IE5, I386, and Mozilla. What makes this malware even more dangerous is that it does need the Internet connection for the data encryption. Therefore, disconnecting from the Internet won’t help to stop malware. However, disconnecting may only help to protect other devices that may be connected to the same network.

After infiltration ransomware also modifies Windows Registry and drops two files in each directory and folder that includes encrypted files – encrypted_readme.txt and encrypted_list.txt. These documents include information about encrypted files and possibility to decrypt them. Similarly to other ransomware viruses, Zekwacrypt virus also demands to pay the ransom[3]. We want to remind that transferring particular amount of money for the cybercriminals does not guarantee that your files will be restored. Cyber criminals may have hidden goals to demand more money, install new malware, or simply took your money and disappear[4]. It’s better to remove Zekwacrypt from the computer and lose your files than sponsor illegal hackers’ projects. For virus elimination, you will need a strong and reputable malware removal tools such as ReimageIntego. When malware removal is over, try additional data recovery methods or use data backups to restore encrypted files.

The picture of Zekwacrypt ransomware virusZekwacrypt ransomware targets a wide range of files and appends unique 7-character file extension.

Ransomware distribution methods and prevention tips

Developers of the ransomware mainly distribute malware executable via malicious spam email attachments. Therefore, you can easily get infected with Zekwacrypt ransomware or any other virus after opening a suspicious attachment. Bear in mind that it’s not safe to open spam emails and links or files added to them. If you do not know the sender or the message itself seems suspicious (for example, lack of credentials, grammar or spelling mistakes, empty message, strange email address, etc.[5]) do not rush opening provided files or documents. This click may end up with ransomware attack and data loss. Furthermore, malvertising may be another malware distribution way. Therefore, you should be aware of the fact that malicious ads may be placed on the legitimate websites and look safe. Before clicking interesting ads, think about the possible consequences. Zekwacrypt virus may also be using exploit kits to check and use computer’s vulnerabilities. So, strengthen your computer’s protection by installing antivirus software and keep all the programs installed on your PC up-to-date.

Instructions for Zekwacrypt removal

Trying to remove Zekwacrypt manually may end up with an even bigger loss. Ransomware is capable of changing Windows registry as well as renaming its malicious files with the names of safe and necessary Windows OS files. Therefore, you may accidentally delete crucial files instead of dangerous ones. Bear in mind that only experienced IT specialists can complete this task successfully. For regular computer users, automatic Zekwacrypt removal is the only option to clean their devices. Automatic elimination requires installing professional malware removal tool (e.g. ReimageIntego, Malwarebytes, SpyHunter 5Combo Cleaner) and running a full system scan with updated program. We want to warn that sometimes malware prevents victims from installing or accessing security tools. If this happens to you, follow the instructions below to reboot your PC to the Safe Mode and activate malware removal programs.

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Compatible with Microsoft Windows Supported versions Compatible with OS X Supported versions
What to do if failed?
If you failed to remove virus damage using Reimage Intego, submit a question to our support team and provide as much details as possible.
Reimage Intego has a free limited scanner. Reimage 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 Reimage, 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.

To remove Zekwacrypt virus, follow these steps:

Manual Zekwacrypt removal using Safe Mode

Malware can block automatic removal, so you may need to reboot your computer to the 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.

Remove Zekwacrypt using System Restore

If ransomware blocks access to malware removal tools and previous method did not help, follow these steps to start automatic elimination.

  • 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 Zekwacrypt. 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 ReimageIntego and make sure that Zekwacrypt removal is performed successfully.

Bonus: Recover your data

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

Please, do not pay the ransom! It’s motivation for cyber criminals to continue their illegal projects. Try additional data recovery methods or wait for the free decryption tool that may be created soon.

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

Retrieve files with Data Recovery Pro

Data Recovery Pro is a professional software that has been created to locate and restore damaged or accidentally lost files. However, it was updated, and now it is capable of encrypting some of the files encrypted by ransomware. We cannot assure that all your files will be rescued; however, some of them may be.

  • 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 Zekwacrypt ransomware;
  • Restore them.

Take advantage of Windows Previous Versions feature

If System Restore function was active on your PC before Zekwacrypt ransomware attack, you could try to “travel back” in time and retrieve individual copies of some of your files. Bear in mind that this method won’t help to rescue all of 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”.

Finally, you should always think about the protection of crypto-ransomwares. In order to protect your computer from Zekwacrypt and other ransomwares, use a reputable anti-spyware, such as ReimageIntego, SpyHunter 5Combo Cleaner or Malwarebytes

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.

About the author
Jake Doevan
Jake Doevan - Computer technology expert

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