Written by Tomas Meskauskas on
*.cryptolocker ransomware removal instructions
What is *.cryptolocker?
*.cryptolocker is ransomware-type malware that claims to be a high-risk virus called CryptoLocker. *.cryptolocker was first discovered by Fabian Wosar. Following infiltration, *.cryptolocker encrypts files using RSA-2048 cryptography. In addition, this malware appends the ".cryptolocker" extension to the name of each file. For instance, "sample.jpg" is renamed to "sample.jpg.cryptolocker". Following successful encryption, *.cryptolocker locks the computer screen and displays a ransom-demand message.
*.cryptolocker's lock screen states that files have been encrypted using asymmetric cryptography (RSA-2048) and that they can only be restored using a unique key. Unfortunately, this information is accurate. Be aware that public (encryption) and private (decryption) keys are generated when encrypting files with asymmetric algorithm. Decryption without a private key is impossible. Cyber criminals store this key on a remote server and generate revenue by blackmailing victims. To receive this key, victims must pay a ransom of .5 Bitcoin (approximately, $455). It is also stated that this payment must be submitted within the given time frame (lock screen contains a date), otherwise the private key is permanently deleted and decryption becomes impossible. Despite these threats, you should never trust cyber criminals - they often ignore, even after payments are submitted. Thus, paying does not guarantee that your files will ever be decrypted and it is highly probable that you will be scammed. There are currently no tools capable of cracking asymmetric cryptography and restoring files encrypted by *.cryptolocker ransomware. Therefore, the only solution is to restore your files/system from a backup.
Screenshot of a message encouraging users to pay a ransom to decrypt their compromised data:
Research revealed dozens of ransomware-type viruses similar to *.cryptolocker. Examples include CTB-Locker, Cerber, .Odin, and HappyLocker. As with *.cryptolocker, other ransomware infections encrypt files, lock computer screens, and make ransom demands. The only differences between these viruses are size of ransom and type of encryption algorithm (symmetric/asymmetric) used. Cyber criminals often proliferate ransomware via malicious files attached to spam emails, peer-to-peer networks and other third party download sources (freeware download websites, free file hosting websites, etc.), fake software update tools, and trojans. Therefore, be cautious when opening files received from suspicious emails, and downloading software from unofficial sources. Furthermore, keeping your installed applications up-to-date and using a legitimate anti-virus/anti-spyware suite is paramount. You should never use any third party updaters - they can infect the system.
Text presented within *.cryptolocker lock screen:
Your Personal files are encrypted!
Your personal files encryption produced in this computer: photos, videos, documents, etc. Encryption was produced using a unique public key RSA-2048 generated for this computer. To decrypt files you need to obtain the private key.
The single copy of the private key, which will allow to decrypt the files, located on a secret server on the Internet, the server will destroy the key after a time specified in this window. After that, nobody and never will be able to restore files…
To obtain the private key for this computer which will automatically decrypt files you need to pay 0.5 bitcoin. You can easily delete this software but know that without it you will never be able to get your original files back. Disable your antivirus to prevent the removal of this software. For more information of how to buy and send bitcoins, click ‘Pay with Bitcoin’ To open a list of encoded files, click ’Show files’.
Screenshot of files encrypted by *.cryptolocker ransomware (".cryptolocker" extension):
*.cryptolocker ransomware removal:
Quick menu: Quick solution to remove .cryptolocker virus
- What is *.cryptolocker?
- STEP 1. *.cryptolocker virus removal using safe mode with networking.
- STEP 2. *.cryptolocker 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 *.cryptolocker 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 *.cryptolocker 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 *.cryptolocker 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 *.cryptolocker 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 *.cryptolocker 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 *.cryptolocker ransomware: