CHIP Ransomware

Also Known As: CHIP virus
Distribution: Low
Damage level: Severe

CHIP ransomware removal instructions

What is CHIP?

CHIP is ransomware-type malware distributed using Rig Exploit Kit. Following infiltration, CHIP encrypts various files and appends filenames with the ".CHIP" or ".DALE" extensions. For example, "sample.jpg" is renamed to "sample.jpg.CHIP". Following successful encryption, CHIP creates a text file ("CHIP_FILES.txt" or "DALE_FILES.TXT") and places it in each folder containing encrypted files.

The text file contains a ransom-demand message informing victims of the encryption and encourages them to visit a Tor website (link provided). This website contains a contact form, which victims must use to contact CHIP's developers, who then supposedly provide detailed instructions how to decrypt files. The DALE variant of this ransomware asks users to contact cyber criminals through these email addresses - grion@protonmail.com, grions@protonmail.com, grion@techie.com, grion@dr.com. CHIP uses asymmetric (RSA) cryptography to encrypt files and, thus, public (encryption) and private (decryption) keys are generated during the process. Decryption without a private key is impossible and, therefore, victims are encouraged to pay a ransom to receive it. The price is currently unknown, however, research shows that developers (cyber criminals) of similar viruses usually demand $500-$1000 Bitcoins. In any case, you should never attempt to contact these people or pay a ransom. Research also reveals that cyber criminals often ignore victims, despite submitted payments and it is highly probable that paying will not deliver any positive result - you will simply be scammed. Paying is equivalent to sending your money to criminals - you will support their malicious businesses. Unfortunately, there are currently no tools capable of restoring files encrypted by CHIP. Thus, you can only restore files/system from a backup.

Screenshot of a message encouraging users to contact cyber criminals to decrypt their compromised data:

CHIP decrypt instructions

CHIP is very similar to hundreds of other ransomware-type viruses such as Crypton, Telecrypt, Cerber3, and many others. These viruses may seem different, however, all have identical behavior - they encrypt files and make ransom demands. There are just two noticeable differences: 1) size of ransom, and; 2) type of encryption algorithm (symmetric/asymmetric) used. Unlike CHIP, ransomware-type viruses are often distributed using third party file/software download sources (torrents, eMule, freeware download websites, free file hosting websites, etc.), malicious files attached to spam emails, fake software update tools, and trojans. Therefore, you should never download any files/applications from unofficial sources or open files received from suspicious email addresses. Furthermore, keep your installed applications up-to-date and use a legitimate anti-virus/anti-spyware suite. The key to computer safety is caution.

What is Rig Exploit Kit?

Rig Exploit Kit is a tool allowing cyber criminals to proliferate various malware. Previously, it was used to distribute CryptFile2 ransomware. Cyber criminals use a JavaScript file to generate a random domain for each victim. Once the domain is generated, victims are automatically redirected to this domain. This method is used to redirect victims to a variety of exploit kits (e.g., Nuclear Exploit Kit, Rig Exploit Kit, etc.) When the page is visited, Rig Exploit Kit scans the system searching for a driver file called "kl1.sys", which is associated with a particular anti-virus suite. If the file exists, the kit does not drop any exploits. A search is then made of vulnerable system add-ons. If detected, Rig Exploit Kit downloads malware onto the computer.

Text presented within the text file:

YOUR ID:91753ee9c8bcb4a47a4af71daa09d5b5
Hello! All Your files are encrypted! For more specific instructions,
please visit a support home page: hxxp://mm6x57ri2coivya6.onion
To see this page follow these steps: 1 - Download and install tor-browser: hxxp://www.torproject.org/projects/torbrowser.html.en
2 - After a successful installation, run the browser
3 - Type in the address bar - hxxp://mm6x57ri2coivya6.onion
4 - Follow the instructions on the site
Attention: DO NOT USE ANY PUBLIC DECRYPTERS! YOU CAN DAMAGE YOUR FILES!
Kind regards,
Support Team.
YOUR ID:91753ee9c8bcb4a47a4af71daa09d5b5

Screenshot of CHIP ransomware Tor website:

CHIP decrypt instructions

Text presented within this website:

Hello!
Your files are encrypted!
If You want to restore Your system, You need to use a contact form below.
Leave Your ID number (ID number is located in the "CHIP_FILES.TXT") and contact email.
Our appointment coordinators will contact you within 24 hours!
Attention: DO NOT USE ANY PUBLIC DECRYPTERS! YOU CAN DAMAGE YOUR FILES!

Screenshot of files encrypted by CHIP (".CHIP" extension):

CHIP decrypt instructions

CHIP 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:
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Quick menu:

Step 1

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.

Safe Mode with Networking

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.

Windows 8 Safe Mode with networking

Video showing how to start Windows 8 in "Safe Mode with Networking":

Windows 10 users: Click the Windows logo and select the Power icon. In the opened menu click "Restart" while holding "Shift" button on your keyboard. In the "choose an option" window click on the "Troubleshoot", next select "Advanced options". In the advanced options menu select "Startup Settings" and click on the "Restart" button. In the following window you should click the "F5" button on your keyboard. This will restart your operating system in safe mode with networking.

windows 10 safe mode with networking

Video showing how to start Windows 10 in "Safe Mode with Networking":

Step 2

Log in to the account infected with the CHIP 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.

Boot your computer in Safe Mode with Command Prompt

2. When Command Prompt mode loads, enter the following line: cd restore and press ENTER.

system restore using command prompt type cd restore

3. Next, type this line: rstrui.exe and press ENTER.

system restore using command prompt rstrui.exe

4. In the opened window, click "Next".

restore system files and settings

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 CHIP ransomware virus infiltrating your PC).

select a restore point

6. In the opened window, click "Yes".

run system restore

7. After restoring your computer to a previous date, download and scan your PC with recommended malware removal software to eliminate any remaining CHIP 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 CHIP 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.

Restoring files encrypted by CryptoDefense

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 regain control of the files encrypted by CHIP, you can also try using a program called Shadow Explorer. More information on how to use this program is available here.

shadow explorer screenshot

To protect your computer from file encryption 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 CHIP ransomware.

HitmanPro.Alert CryptoGuard - detects encryption of files and neutralises any attempts without need for user-intervention:

hitmanproalert ransomware prevention application

Malwarebytes Anti-Ransomware Beta uses advanced proactive technology that monitors ransomware activity and terminates it immediately - before reaching users' files:

malwarebytes anti-ransomware

  • 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 CHIP ransomware:

About the author:

Tomas Meskauskas

Tomas Meskauskas - expert security researcher, professional malware analyst.

I am passionate about computer security and technology. I have an experience of over 10 years working in various companies related to computer technical issue solving and Internet security. I have been working as an author and editor for pcrisk.com since 2010. Follow me on Twitter and LinkedIn to stay informed about the latest online security threats. Contact Tomas Meskauskas.

PCrisk security portal is brought by a company RCS LT. Joined forces of security researchers help educate computer users about the latest online security threats. More information about the company RCS LT.

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Removal Instructions in other languages
Malware activity

Global malware activity level today:

Medium threat activity

Increased attack rate of infections detected within the last 24 hours.

QR Code
CHIP virus QR code
A QR code (Quick Response Code) is a machine-readable code which stores URLs and other information. This code can be read using a camera on a smartphone or a tablet. Scan this QR code to have an easy access removal guide of CHIP virus on your mobile device.
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