CryptoLocker is a virus or ransomware program that will encrypt files on the infected computer. This malware arrives on the computer through another infection. Trojan or other form of malware may explorer target computer for known weaknesses. This will be use as the channel to drop CryptoLocker on the system. Upon execution, the virus will inject code into the system folder as well as in the registry. This action allows CryptoLocker to run on each Windows bootup.
When running on the computer, CryptoLocker always remind computer user that files were locked. It demands payment for the encryption key costing 100 US or Euro, depending on the location of the victim. CryptoLocker also tries to scare computer users stating that any attempt to remove the virus will lead to immediate destruction of the private key. Thus, file will remain encrypted forever.
In the message, CryptoLocker states the following:
“Your personal files are encrypted!
Your important files encryption produced on this computer: photos, videos, document, etc. Here is a complete list of encrypted files, and you can personally verify this…
To obtain the private key for this computer, which will automatically decrypt files, you need to pay 100 USD / 100EUR / similar amount in another currency.”
Here is the scary part:
“Any attempt to remove or damage this software will lead to immediate destruction of the private key server.”
Paying for the ransomware like CryptoLocker is likely supporting the online fraud activity. We highly encourage computer users not to pay the private key. You may duplicate the encrypted file on a separate hard drive and run legitimate decryption tools to find the one the works best with CryptoLocker.
September 15, 2013: Ransom goes up from $100 to $300
New version of CryptoLocker demands a ransom of $300. It actually triples the price of the previous version. Attackers behind this malware are now maximizing the full advantage of its ransomware potential. They know that users now have full view that there is no way out other than pay for the demand. Even MS Security Center, who identified this threat as Trojan:Win32/Crilock.A states that complex method are being used in the encryption process.
Nov 09, 2013: Re-infecting and recovering files
Attackers behind this CryptoLocker malware now devices a method to still allow users to request for private key even if the virus has been deleted from the computer and required registry keys are erased by antivirus program. CryptoLocker Decryption Service was launched on November 1, as number or computer users decided to re-infect their computer with the virus to avail of the $300 private key.
With the CryptoLocker Decryption Service, you will have to submit one infected file in order for the server to search for the matching key pair. Once found, you can now order and pay for the key that is required in recovering encrypted files. Be aware that this service can cost you 10 Bitcoins, that is roughly $2,120 at the current rate.
Ways to recover files encrypted by CryptoLocker.
Below, we have procedures in removing CryptoLocker from the computer. Since public and private key combination is needed to decrypt files, it is impossible to recover affected files at this point. We hope to find a workaround with this trouble in the following days. For the meantime, we will maximize whatever we have on hand.
If your PC is running on Windows Vista and Windows 7, there is a feature called ‘Previous Versions’. Although this function only works if restore point was saved prior to CryptoLocker infection or if System Protection is enabled on the computer. Use Previous Versions to recover files without having to pay for the private key.
How to Remove 'CryptoLocker'
Systematic procedures to get rid of the threat are presented on this section. Make sure to scan the computer with suggested tools and scanners.
Option 1 : Please use this recommended tool to remove the virus.
First thing you should do is reboot the computer in Safe Mode with Networking to avoid CryptoLocker Ransomware from loading at start-up.
NOTE: You will need to PRINT or BOOKMARK this procedure, as we have to restart the computer during the removal process.
To start Windows in Safe Mode with Networking, please do the following:
1. Remove all media such as Memory Card, cd, dvd, and USB devices. Then, restart the computer.
Boot in Safe Mode with Networking on Windows XP, Windows Vista, and Windows 7 system
a) Before Windows begins to load, press F8 on your keyboard.
b) It will display the Advanced Boot Options menu. Select Safe Mode with Networking.
Start computer in Safe Mode with Networking using Windows 8
a) Before Windows begins to load, press Shift and F8 on your keyboard.
b) On Recovery interface, click on 'See advanced repair options'.
c) Next, click on Troubleshoot option.
d) Then, select Advanced options from the list.
e) Lastly, please choose Windows Startup Settings and click on Restart. When Windows restarts, you will be send to a familiar Advanced Boot Options screen.
f) Select Safe Mode with Networking from the selections menu.
2. Once the computer boots into Safe Mode with Networking, download the Removal Tool and save it on your Desktop or any location on your PC.
3. When finished downloading, locate and double-click on the file to install the application. Windows' User Account Control will prompt at this point, please click Yes to continue installing the program.
4. Follow the prompts and install with default configuration.
5. Before the installation completes, check prompts that software will run and update on itself.
6. Click Finish. Program will run automatically and you will be prompted to update the program before doing a scan. Please download needed update.
7. When finished updating, the tool will run. Select Perform full scan on main screen to check your computer thoroughly.
8. Scanning may take a while. When done, click on Show Results.
9. Make sure that all detected threats are checked, click on Remove Selected. This will delete all files and registry entries that belongs to CryptoLocker.
10. Finally, restart your computer.
Note: If CryptoLocker prevents mbam-setup.exe from downloading. Download the software from another computer. Renaming it to something like 'anything.exe' can help elude the malware. You may skip Option 2 and proceed to Additional Scans below if you see that the steps above have totally removed the malware.
Option 2 : Remove CryptoLocker instantly with this Rescue Disk
This procedure requires a tool from Kasperky. Thus, it requires Internet access to download the files. If the virus blocks your Internet access, you have no other choice but to execute this guide from another computer.
Download Kaspersky Rescue Disk
Create A Bootable USB Drive
3. Insert a clean USB flash drive to available slot. To record the ISO file and create a bootable USB drive, double-click on rescue2usb.exe. It will extract the files and create a folder called Kaspersky Rescue2Usb.
4. Kaspersky USB Rescue Disk Maker should run after the extraction. If not browse the Kaspersky Rescue2Usb folder and run the rescue2usb file.
5. From Kaspersky USB Rescue Disk Maker console, click on Browse and locate the file kav_rescue_10.iso.
6. On USB Medium, select the USB drive you wanted to make as bootable Kaspersky USB Rescue Disk. This will become a bootable virus scanner.
7. Click in Start to begin the process.
8. When the process is complete, it will display a notification message. Your tool to remove CryptoLocker is now ready.
Boot The Computer From The USB Kaspersky Rescue Disk 10
9. Since CryptoLocker uses a rootkit Trojan that controls Windows boot functions, we need to reboot the computer and select the newly created Kaspersky USB Rescue Disk as first boot option. On most computers, it will allow you to enter the boot menu and select which device or drives you wanted to start the PC. Refer to your computer manual.
10. If you successfully enters the boot menu, choose the USB flash drive. This will boot the system on Kaspersky Rescue Disk. Press any key to enter the menu.
12. It will display End User License Agreement. You need to accept this term to be able to use Kaspersky Rescue Disk 10. Press 1 to accept.
13. The tool will prompt for various start-up methods. We highly encourage you to choose Kaspersky Rescue Disk Graphic Mode.
Remove CryptoLocker Using Windows Unlocker
14. Once the tool is running, you need to run WindowsUnlocker in order to delete registry that belongs to CryptoLocker. On start menu located at bottom left corner of your screen, select the K icon or select WindowsUnlocker if it is present on the Menu.
15. Select Terminal from the list. A command prompt will open.
16. Type windowsunlocker and press Enter on your keyboard.
17. From the selection, choose 1 - Unlock Windows to remove CryptoLocker. Use up/down arrow on keyboard to select and press Enter.
18. This utility will start removing any components that blocking you from accessing the computer. It will display a log file containing actions performed on the infected computer like deleted infected file and removed registry entries.
19. After removing components of CryptoLocker. You need to scan the system using the same tool. On start menu, select Kaspersky Rescue Disk.
20. Be sure to update the program by going to My Update Center tab. Click on Start update.
21. After the update, go to Object Scan tab and thoroughly scan the computer to locate other files that belong to CryptoLocker.
22. Restart the computer normally when done.
Additional anti-virus and anti-rootkit scans (Optional)
Ensure that no more files of CryptoLocker are left inside the computer
1. Click on the button below to download Norton Power Eraser from official web site. Save it to your desktop or any location of your choice.
4. Once the file is downloaded, navigate its location and double-click on the icon (NPE.exe) to launch the program.
5. Norton Power Eraser will run. If it prompts for End User License Agreement, please click on Accept.
6. On NPE main window, click on Advanced. We will attempt to remove CryptoLocker components without restarting the computer.
9. On next window, select System Scan and click on Scan now to perform standard scan on your computer.
10. NPE will proceed with the scan. It will search for Trojans, viruses, and malware like CryptoLocker. This may take some time, depending on the number of files currently stored on the computer.
11. When scan is complete. All detected risks are listed. Remove them and restart Windows if necessary.
Remove the Rootkit Trojan that installs CryptoLocker
For automatic removal of rootkit Trojan using a free tool, you can refer to this guide. Download the tool and carefully follow the instruction.
1. Click on the button below to download the file FixZeroAccess.exe from official web site. A new window or tab will open containing the download link.
2. Close all running programs and remove any disc drives and USB devices on the computer.
3. Temporarily Disable System Restore if you are running on Windows XP). [how to]
4. Browse for the location of the file FixZeroAccess.exe.
5. Double-click on the file to run it. If User Account Control prompts for a security warning and ask if you want to run the file, please choose Run.
6. It will open a Zero Access Fix Tool End User License Agreement (EULA). You must accept this license agreement in order to proceed with rootkit removal. Please click I Accept.
7. It will display a message and prepares the computer to restart. Please click on Proceed.
8. When it shows a message about 'Restarting System' please click on OK button.
9. After restarting the computer, the tool will display information about the identified threats. Please continue running the tool by following the prompts.
10. When it reaches the final step, the tool will show the scan result containing deleted components of CryptoLocker and other identified virus.
Alternative Removal Procedure for CryptoLocker
Option 1 : Use Windows System Restore to return Windows to previous state
During an infection, CryptoLocker Ransomware drops various files and registry entries. The threat intentionally hides system files by setting options in the registry. With these rigid changes, the best solution is to return Windows to previous working state is through System Restore.
To verify if System Restore is active on your computer, please follow the instructions below to access this feature.
Access System Restore on Windows XP, Windows Vista, and Windows 7
a) Go to Start Menu, then under 'Run' or 'Search Program and Files' field, type rstrui.
b) Then, press Enter on the keyboard to open System Restore Settings.
Open System Restore on Windows 8
a) Hover your mouse cursor to the lower left corner of the screen and wait for the Start icon to appear.
b) Right-click on the icon and select Run from the list. This will open a Run dialog box.
c) Type rstrui on the 'Open' field and click on OK to initiate the command.
If previous restore point is saved, you may proceed with Windows System Restore. Click here to see the full procedure.
Did CryptoLocker blocks your Internet access?
It is usual that rogue program prevents user from downloading removal tools from the Internet. Thus, infected computer may be denied to access the Internet by making changes to computer's proxy, DNS, and Hosts file. To fix Internet connection problem, follow these steps:
1. Download the free program called MiniToolBox. Click the button below to begin. Save the file on your hard drive or preferably in your Desktop.
2. Close all running Internet browser and double-click on the file to run. It opens a window showing a list of features.
3. Make sure that you have a check mark on the following items : Flush DNS, Reset IE Proxy Settings, and Reset FF Proxy Settings.
4. Click on the GO button to start the process. The program automatically closes and displays a text file for your reference.
5. If the above solution does not work, you may try other method like fixing a virus-blocked Internet access. Make sure that your hosts file is free from any malicious entries. View steps in cleaning Windows host file.
Ways to Prevent CryptoLocker Infection
Here are some guidelines to help defend your computer from virus attack and malware activities. Being fully protected does not have to be expensive.
Install protection software to block CryptoLocker and other threats
Having an effective anti-malware program is the best way to guard your computer against malware and threats. Although full version of anti-malware will cost some penny to obtain, it is still worthy to buy one. With real-time scan, it will be safer for you to browse the web, download files, and do more things online.
Keep all programs up to date
It is important to download critical update for installed programs. Software updates includes patches for security flaw that may utilize by an attacker to enter the computer. This flaw may be taken advantage by CryptoLocker, viruses, and malware to attack the computer. Crucial programs to watch for updates are MS Windows, MS Office, Adobe Flash, Adobe Acrobat, and Java Runtime.
Activate security features of your Internet browser
SmartScreen Filter, Phishing and Malware Protection, and Block Attack Sites are the respective security features of Internet Explorer, Google Chrome, and Mozilla Firefox. Although, it may not fully guard your computer from online attack, at least it can lessen the risk. Enabling these features also helps to secure your private data and avoid identity theft.
Be a responsible Internet user
Antivirus programs and security features of Internet browser facilitates real-time protection and monitors harmful activities online. However, it tends to malfunction for some reasons. Thus, you do not have to be fully dependent on these tools. It is always best to practice safety measures when using the Internet.