Dharma ransomware removal instructions
What is Dharma?
Dharma is a new variant of Crysis - a high-risk ransomware-type virus. Following successful infiltration, Dharma encrypts stored files using asymmetric cryptography. In addition, this file-encoder appends the .[Gladius_Adeptus@aol.com].onion, ".[Satan-Stn@bitmessage.ch].wallet", ".[email@example.com].wallet", ".[firstname.lastname@example.org].wallet", ".[email@example.com].wallet", ".[firstname.lastname@example.org].wallet", ".[email@example.com].wallet", ".[firstname.lastname@example.org].wallet", "[email@example.com].xtbl", ".[firstname.lastname@example.org].dharma", ".[Mkliukang@india.com].wallet" or .[email@example.com].wallet extension to the name of each encrypted file (e.g., "sample.jpg" is renamed to "sample.jpg.[firstname.lastname@example.org].dharma"). Other variants use the ".[email@example.com].dharma" extension. Unlike its previous version, however, Dharma does not change the desktop background, but creates a text file ("README.txt" or "Document.txt.[firstname.lastname@example.org].zzzzz") and places it in each folder containing compromised files.
Dharma's text file contains a very short message stating that the victim's computer is unprotected, and that developers can solve this problem and restore the encrypted files. To receive help, victims must contact Dharma's developers via an email address provided (email@example.com). Further instructions are then provided. As mentioned, Dharma encrypts files using asymmetric algorithm and, therefore, public (encryption) and private (decryption) keys are generated during the process. The private key is stored on a remote server controlled by the developers. Decryption without this key is impossible and a ransom demand is made to receive it. The cost is currently unknown, however, cyber criminals responsible for the development of ransomware usually demand $500-$1000 Bitcoins. Be aware, however, cyber criminals often ignore victims, despite payments made. Therefore, you should never attempt to contact these people or pay any ransom. There is a high probability that you will be scammed. Manually restoring files encrypted by Dharma is currently impossible (there are no tools capable of performing this function). Therefore, the only solution is to restore your files/system from a backup.
Screenshot of a message (README.TXT) encouraging users to contact cyber criminals to decrypt their compromised data:
Research reveals that all ransomware-type viruses are virtually identical. As with Dharma, malware such as Locky, CTB-Locker, .thor, JohnyCryptor, and many others, also encrypt files and demand ransom payments. Most ransomware employs asymmetric cryptography (unlike symmetric cryptography, the encryption and decryption keys are different). Therefore, the only major difference is size of ransom. These viruses are usually distributed using spam emails (infectious attachments), peer-to-peer (P2P) networks and other similar third party download sources (free file hosting websites, freeware download websites, etc.), fake software update tools, and trojans. Therefore, you should never open any files received from suspicious/unrecognizable emails or download files/software from unofficial sources. Furthermore, keep your installed applications up-to-date and use a legitimate anti-virus/anti-spyware suite. The key to computer safety is caution.
To decrypt files compromised by this ransomware for free - download Kaspersky’s Rakhni decryptor HERE:
Ransom demanding message displayed by this ransomware:
Text presented in this message:
hallo, our dear friend!
looks like you have some troubles with your security
all your files are now encrypted
using third-party recovering software will corrupt your data
you have only one way to get them back safety - using our decryption tool
to get original decryption tool contact us with email is subject like write your ID which your can find
in name of every encrypted file, also attach to email 3 crypted files.
It is your interest to respond as soon as possible to ensure the restoration of your files because we won’t keep your decryption keys at our servers more than 72 hours in interest of our security
PS. only in case you don’t receive a response from the first email address within 24 hours, please use this alternative email address firstname.lastname@example.org
Message presented within the (README.TXT) text file:
At the moment, your system is not protected.
We can fix it and restore files.
To restore the system write to this address:
Screenshot of files encrypted by Dharma (".[email@example.com].dharma", ".[firstname.lastname@example.org].dharma" or .[email@example.com] extension):
Update 2017, March 2 - Cyber criminals have updated this ransomware. It now creates a separate file for each encrypted one. Encrypted files now get “.serial firstname.lastname@example.org_worldcza@smail.cz extension”. For example 1.jpg file after encryption would appear as 1.jpg.SNemail@example.com_worldcza@email.cz Below are screenshots of how it looks like.
Dharma ransomware removal:
- What is Dharma?
- STEP 1. Dharma virus removal using safe mode with networking.
- STEP 2. Dharma 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":
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.
Video showing how to start Windows 10 in "Safe Mode with Networking":
Log in to the account infected with the Dharma 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 Dharma 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 Dharma 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 Dharma 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 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 Dharma 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 Dharma ransomware: