Apocalypse ransomware removal instructions
What is Apocalypse?
Apocalypse is file-encrypting ransomware. After system infiltration, Apocalyse encrypts victims' files and adds a .encrypted extension to the name of each encrypted file. (Updated variants of this ransomware use .locked and .missing extensions for the encrypted files and presents the ransom demanding message in .README.txt file.) For instance, if the file before encryption was named sample.jpg, it would be renamed to sample.jpg.encrypted. Furthermore, this ransomware creates a text file beside each encrypted file. The text filenames are associated with the encrypted files. For example, sample.jpg.encrypted.How_To_Decrypt.txt
The text files contain an identical message stating that files have been encrypted and that users must make contact using the email address provided (firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com) . Victims will supposedly then receive step-by-step instructions for paying a ransom. Unfortunately, the size of ransom is currently unknown, however, it usually fluctuates between 0.5 and 1.5 Bitcoin (to remain anonymous, cyber criminals demand ransom payments in Bitcoins). At time of research, 1 Bitcoin was equivalent to $689.94, however, research shows that developers of ransomware-type viruses are likely to ignore victims, despite payments made. Therefore, you are strongly advised to ignore all requests to contact these criminals or pay any ransom. Fortunately, Fabian Wosar from Emsisoft has developed a tool capable of decrypting files compromised by Apocalypse (download link). Therefore, you can restore your files without paying the ransom.
Screenshot of a message encouraging users to contact the developers of Apocalypse ransomware to decrypt their compromised data:
This ransomware is very similar to other viruses such as CryptoWall, CTB-Locker, Cerber, Centurion_Legion, and many others. All encrypt victims' files and make ransom demands. The only noticeable differences between ransomware-type viruses are the size of ransom and type of encryption algorithm used. Even the distribution methods are the same. Ransomware-type viruses are usually distributed using fake software updaters, malicious email attachments, peer-to-peer networks, and often trojans. For this reason, keeping your installed software up-to-date and using a legitimate anti-virus/anti-spyware suite is very important. Furthermore, you should never open attachments sent from unrecognized emails or download files/applications from untrusted sources. The key to computer safety is caution.
Update 30 August, 2016 - Cyber criminals who are responsible for creating this ransomware have renamed their project to Fabiansomware. This was done because security researcher Fabian Wosar from Emsisoft has been continually developing a free tool capable of decrypting files compromised by this ransomware for free. Victims of this ransomware should understand that Fabian has no relation to the cyber criminals behind this ransomware.
Update November 29, 2016 - Apocalypse ransomware now uses such filename renaming scheme: *filename*.ID-*8characters+countrycode[firstname.lastname@example.org].access_denied and Decryption Instructions.txt file for ransom demanding instructions (first discovered by security researcher xXToffeeXx).
Text presented within Apocalypse's text files:
IF YOU ARE READING THIS MESSAGE, ALL THE FILES IN THIS COMPUTER HAVE BEEN CRYPTED!!
documents, pictures, videos, audio, backups, etc
IF YOU WANT TO RECOVER YOUR DATA, CONTACT THE EMAIL BELOW.
WE WILL PROVIDE DECRYPTION SOFTWARE TO RECOVER YOU FILES.
IF YOU DONT CONTACT BEFORE 72 HOURS, ALL DATA WILL BE LOST FOREVER
Screenshot of files encrypted by Apocalypse:
Apocalypse ransomware removal:
Instant automatic malware removal:
Manual threat removal might be a lengthy and complicated process that requires advanced computer skills. Malwarebytes is a professional automatic malware removal tool that is recommended to get rid of malware. Download it by clicking the button below:
- What is Apocalypse?
- STEP 1. Apocalypse virus removal using safe mode with networking.
- STEP 2. Apocalypse ransomware removal using System Restore.
Windows XP and Windows 7 users: Start your computer in Safe Mode. Click Start, click Shut Down, click Restart, click OK. During your computer start process, press the F8 key on your keyboard multiple times until you see the Windows Advanced Option menu, and then select Safe Mode with Networking from the list.
Video showing how to start Windows 7 in "Safe Mode with Networking":
Windows 8 users: Start Windows 8 is Safe Mode with Networking - Go to Windows 8 Start Screen, type Advanced, in the search results select Settings. Click Advanced startup options, in the opened "General PC Settings" window, select Advanced startup. Click the "Restart now" button. Your computer will now restart into the "Advanced Startup options menu". Click the "Troubleshoot" button, and then click the "Advanced options" button. In the advanced option screen, click "Startup settings". Click the "Restart" button. Your PC will restart into the Startup Settings screen. Press F5 to boot in Safe Mode with Networking.
Video showing how to start Windows 8 in "Safe Mode with Networking":
Log in to the account infected with the Apocalypse virus. Start your Internet browser and download a legitimate anti-spyware program. Update the anti-spyware software and start a full system scan. Remove all entries detected.
If you cannot start your computer in Safe Mode with Networking, try performing a System Restore.
Video showing how to remove ransomware virus using "Safe Mode with Command Prompt" and "System Restore":
1. During your computer start process, press the F8 key on your keyboard multiple times until the Windows Advanced Options menu appears, and then select Safe Mode with Command Prompt from the list and press ENTER.
2. When Command Prompt mode loads, enter the following line: cd restore and press ENTER.
3. Next, type this line: rstrui.exe and press ENTER.
4. In the opened window, click "Next".
5. Select one of the available Restore Points and click "Next" (this will restore your computer system to an earlier time and date, prior to the Apocalypse ransomware virus infiltrating your PC).
6. In the opened window, click "Yes".
7. After restoring your computer to a previous date, download and scan your PC with recommended malware removal software to eliminate any remaining Apocalypse ransomware files.
To restore individual files encrypted by this ransomware, try using Windows Previous Versions feature. This method is only effective if the System Restore function was enabled on an infected operating system. Note that some variants of Apocalypse are known to remove Shadow Volume Copies of the files, so this method may not work on all computers.
To restore a file, right-click over it, go into Properties, and select the Previous Versions tab. If the relevant file has a Restore Point, select it and click the "Restore" button.
If you cannot start your computer in Safe Mode with Networking (or with Command Prompt), boot your computer using a rescue disk. Some variants of ransomware disable Safe Mode making its removal complicated. For this step, you require access to another computer.
To protect your computer from file encrypting ransomware such as this, use reputable antivirus and anti-spyware programs. As an extra protection method, you can use programs called HitmanPro.Alert and Malwarebytes Anti-Ransomware, which artificially implant group policy objects into the registry to block rogue programs such as Apocalypse ransomware.)
HitmanPro.Alert CryptoGuard - detects encryption of files and neutralises any attempts without need for user intervention:
Malwarebytes Anti-Ransomware Beta uses advanced proactive technology that monitors ransomware activity and terminates it immediately - before reaching users' files:
- The best way to avoid damage from ransomware infections is to maintain regular up-to-date backups. More information on online backup solutions and data recovery software Here.
Other tools known to remove Apocalypse ransomware: