ZQ ransomware (Bonus: Decryption Steps) - Free Guide

ZQ virus Removal Guide

What is ZQ ransomware?

ZQ ransomware – a malware form which uses unique ciphers to append the [w_decrypt24@qq.com].zq extension to files

ZQ ransomware virusZQ ransomware is a file locking threat which might perform changes on Windows Task Manager and Registry

ZQ ransomware is a dangerous crypto locker which adds a specific extension to encrypted data. This file-locking malware was recently discovered by Michael Gillespie. However, there is a chance that ZQ virus is still in the development mode or not that widespread as other of its kind because there are no many particular details about the ransomware provided. We only have data that it uses the [w_decrypt24@qq.com].zq extension to add to locked data. It also probably displays a ransom urging message, however, there is no certain information given about this note. Make sure that you act carefully once infected with this cyber threat, perform system scans, detect the malware source, and eliminate it for good.

Name ZQ
Type Ransomware virus
Sub-type Malware
Extension added [w_decrypt24@qq.com].zq
Founder Michael Gillespie
Ransom note No information has been provided.
Main symptoms Blocked access to important data, rogue processes running in the system, malicious executables found
Detection software FortectIntego, SpyHunter 5Combo Cleaner
Removal process Get rid of the cyber threat only automatically as by performing manual elimination you might cause only more damage to the machine

If ZQ ransomware has been installed on your computer secretly, it might place malicious content such as suspicious-looking executables all over the system and hide it in various locations. These viruses are capable of creating false registry entries and running processes that are beneficial for the malware in the Windows Task Manager section.

Additionally, if you receive a message from ZQ ransomware, it might urge for a particular price in Bitcoin or another popular cryptocurrency in exchange for the file decryption tool. Cybercriminals usually claim that a price between $500 to $1500 needs to be transferred to their Bitcoin wallet address and the key will be sent to the victim.

However, note that there is a big chance that malware developers will scam you and you will be left with nothing except unexpected money losses and broken valuable files. Do not contact the crooks which might provide their email addresses in the ZQ ransomware ransom note and try to convince to show contact by offering a special discount if you write them fastly.

Our suggestion would be to remove ZQ virus from your Windows computer system and eliminate all its left components from the machine. Additionally, an anti-malware tool such as FortectIntego will be useful for system scans and detecting different locations of malware. Locked files might have a chance to be recovered by using data restoring techniques which are provided below this article.

ZQ ransomware removal is a process you need to perform immediately after you spot the first signs of this ransomware. The most accurate symptom is the [w_decrypt24@qq.com].zq extension. However, you should not try to eliminate the cyber threat only with your own skills and effort as you might cause more damage to the system than help it.

ZQ ransomwareZQ ransomware is a dangerous malware form which locks up files with unique ciphers

Ransomware threats are sent to potential victims via email

According to Internet security experts from Virusai.lt, ransomware viruses are spread via phishing email messages and dropped as hazardous payload straight to the user's inbox or spam sections. An executable attached to an email letter might be the sign that something malicious is hidden in that files an waiting to be accessed.

We strongly recommend sorting out your email messages. If you receive some letters that you were not expecting to get, you should consider rather are they worth opening or not. Moreover, if email falls straight to your spam section, better delete it straight away as reliable companies usually do not send such emails in important cases to contact their customers/clients.

Continuously, ransomware viruses can have other distribution sources such as third-party websites, their downloading links, and produced advertisements. Be careful while browsing the web and even better – install an antivirus tool to ensure your computer's automatical protection at a higher level.

ZQ virus removal techniques for Windows machines and devices

If you are a Windows users and have been infected with this ransomware virus, you have come to the right place as we will inform you about the malware removal process. First of all, before you start carrying out the ZQ ransomware removal, you should use anti-malware tools such as FortectIntego, SpyHunter 5Combo Cleaner and Malwarebytes to investigate your entire computer system and check for malware signs.

Remove ZQ virus and prevent from showing any contact to the cybercriminals. Rather than risking to get scammed, try using our below-provided data recovery methods. They might not work exactly as they should in most cases if, for example, you did not reboot your computer in System Restore, but you still can give them a try!

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 ZQ virus. Follow these steps

Manual removal using Safe Mode

Reboot the infected PC to Safe Mode with Networking to disable the ransomware:

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 ZQ using System Restore

Use System Restore to deactivate the virus by performing this guide:

  • 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 ZQ. 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 FortectIntego and make sure that ZQ removal is performed successfully.

Bonus: Recover your data

Guide which is presented above is supposed to help you remove ZQ 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 ZQ, you can use several methods to restore them:

Use Data Recovery Pro for your files:

Try this tool if ZQ ransomware has encrypted your 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 ZQ ransomware;
  • Restore them.

Windows Previous Versions feature might restore some files:

If you have enabled the System Restore feature in the past, give this method a try as it might help you bring your data back.

  • 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”.

Use the Shadow Explorer tool to recover data:

If the ransomware virus has encrypted data on your Windows computer, you can try performing this file restoring technique.

  • 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.

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

How to prevent from getting ransomware

Do not let government spy on you

The government has many issues in regards to tracking users' data and spying on citizens, so you should take this into consideration and learn more about shady information gathering practices. Avoid any unwanted government tracking or spying by going totally anonymous on the internet. 

You can choose a different location when you go online and access any material you want without particular content restrictions. You can easily enjoy internet connection without any risks of being hacked by using Private Internet Access VPN.

Control the information that can be accessed by government any other unwanted party and surf online without being spied on. Even if you are not involved in illegal activities or trust your selection of services, platforms, be suspicious for your own security and take precautionary measures by using the VPN service.

Backup files for the later use, in case of the malware attack

Computer users can suffer from data losses due to cyber infections or their own faulty doings. Ransomware can encrypt and hold files hostage, while unforeseen power cuts might cause a loss of important documents. If you have proper up-to-date backups, you can easily recover after such an incident and get back to work. It is also equally important to update backups on a regular basis so that the newest information remains intact – you can set this process to be performed automatically.

When you have the previous version of every important document or project you can avoid frustration and breakdowns. It comes in handy when malware strikes out of nowhere. Use Data Recovery Pro for the data restoration process.

About the author
Lucia Danes
Lucia Danes - Virus researcher

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