Written by Tomas Meskauskas on
FireCrypt ransomware removal instructions
What is FireCrypt?
FireCrypt is a ransomware-type virus that encrypts files using AES-256 cryptography. The executable used to encrypt files opens a console window that contains various figures drawn using ASCII art. This malware appends the ".firecrypt" extension to the name of each encrypted file. For instance, "sample.jpg" is renamed to "sample.jpg.firecrypt". Following successful encryption, FireCrypt generates a "READ_ME.html" file and places it on the desktop.
The FireCrypt HTML file contains a message informing victims of the encryption and encourages them to pay a ransom to restore the compromised files. It is stated that the files are encrypted using AES-256 cryptography and, therefore, they can only be restored using a unique decryption key. Unfortunately, these claims are accurate. The decryption key is supposedly stored on a remote server controlled by FireCrypt's developers. Therefore, victims must pay a ransom of $500 (in Bitcoins) to receive it. This must be paid within the given time frame (specified within the HTML file), otherwise decryption becomes impossible and files are permanently deleted. Despite these threats, cyber criminals often ignore victims, despite submitted payments - there is a high probability that paying will not deliver any positive result and that you will be scammed. Therefore, ignore all requests to pay or contact these people. In doing so, you will simply support their malicious businesses. Unfortunately, there are no tools capable of cracking AES-256 cryptography and restoring files encrypted by FireCrypt. 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 reveals dozens of ransomware-type viruses similar to FireCrypt. As with FireCrypt, malware such as Erebus, Red Alert, EdgeLocker, and other ransomware-type viruses also encrypt files and make ransom demands. There are just two major differences: 1) type of encryption algorithm (symmetric/asymmetric) used, and; 2) cost of decryption. Cyber criminals often proliferate ransomware via trojans, fake software update tools, peer-to-peer (P2P) networks (eMule, torrents, etc.), third party software download sources (freeware download websites, free file hosting sites, etc.), and malicious files attached to spam emails. Therefore, use a legitimate anti-virus/anti-spyware suite, keep your installed applications up-to-date, and never use any third party updaters. Express caution when downloading software from unofficial sources and opening files received from suspicious emails. Poor knowledge and careless behavior is often the reason for computer infections. The key to computer safety is caution.
Text presented within FireCrypt HTML file:
Your files have been encrypted on this PC: photos, videos, documents, etc. Click “Encrypted Files” link to view a complete list of encrypted files, and you can personally verify this. Encryption was produced using a unique public key AES-256 generated for his computer. To decrypt files you need to obtain the private key. The only copy of the private key, which will allow to decrypt your files, is located on a secret server on the Internet; the server will eliminate the key after a time period specified in this window. Once this has been done, nobody will ever be able to restore files… In order to decrypt the files you will need to send $550 UDS in for of BTC to the following bitcoin address:
After payment contact firstname.lastname@example.org with your transaction details and “User ID”. Once the payment is confirmed you will receive decryption key along with decryption software. Any attempt to remove or corrupt this software will result in immediate elimination of the private key by the server. Beware.
The email and bitcoin addresses are the same as in that Deadly sample...
Screenshot of Deadly ransomware HTML file similar to FireCrypt:
Screenshot of files encrypted by FireCrypt (".firecrypt" extension):
Screenshots of FireCrypt BleedGreen builder:
FireCrypt ransomware removal:
Quick menu: Quick solution to remove .firecrypt virus
- What is FireCrypt?
- STEP 1. FireCrypt virus removal using safe mode with networking.
- STEP 2. FireCrypt 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 FireCrypt 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 FireCrypt 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 FireCrypt 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 FireCrypt 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 FireCrypt 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 FireCrypt ransomware: