Spora Ransomware

Also Known As: Spora virus
Distribution: Moderate
Damage level: <strong>Severe</strong>

Description Removal Prevention

Spora ransomware removal instructions

What is Spora?

Spora is a ransomware-type virus distributed via spam emails (malicious attachments). Each rogue email contains an HTA file which, once executed, extracts a Javascript file ("closed.js"), placing it in the system "%Temp%" folder. The Javascript file extracts an executable with a random name and runs it. The executable then starts to encrypt files using RSA cryptography. Note that, unlike other ransomware-type viruses, Spora does not rename encrypted files. The aforementioned HTA file also extracts a DOCX file. This file is corrupted and, thus, an error will be displayed once opened. This is being performed to trick victims into believing that the download of email attachments has failed. Following successful encryption, Spora generate a .html and .KEY files (both named using random characters), placing them in all folders that contain encrypted files.

One of the main advantages of Spora to the developers is the ability to work offline (without an Internet connection). As mentioned above, the files are encrypted using RSA (an asymmetric encryption algorithm) and, thus, public (encryption) and private (decryption) keys are generated during the encryption process. Decryption without the private key is impossible. In addition, the private key is also encrypted using AES cryptography, making the situation even worse. As well as encrypting files, Spora disables Windows Startup Repair, deletes shadow volume copies, and changes BootStatusPolicy. The HTML file contains a ransom-demand message in Russian, which details the encryption and encourages victims to follow instructions provided on Spora's website. To restore files, victims must supposedly pay a ransom. The size of ransom depends on each individual situation and the victim's requirements. Full decryption (including immunity, removal and file restore) is approximately equivalent to between $79 and $280, however, victims may choose to only to restore files, remove them, or to receive immunity. In these cases, the price is reduced. Victims are also permitted to decrypt two files free of charge. The ransom must be paid in Bitcoins and victims have a limited amount of time (a deadline is given on Spora's website) to make payment, otherwise the decryption keys are permanently deleted. Spora's website is advanced as compared to other viruses of the same type. It provides each victim with an account containing a Bitcoin wallet. It also has features for decryption, transactions, contacting developers, etc. At time of writing, there are no tools capable of restoring files encrypted by Sporransomware. 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:

Spora decrypt instructions

There are dozens of ransomware-type viruses that have similar characteristics to Spora. Examples include CTB-Locker, Cerber, Locky, and many others. All encrypt files and makes ransom demands. There are just two major differences between ransomware-type viruses: 1) cost of decryption (which usually fluctuates between $500 and $1500 in Bitcoins), and; 2) type of encryption algorithm (symmetric/asymmetric) used. Ransomware-type viruses are often distributed via peer-to-peer (P2P) networks (for example, torrents, eMule, etc.), third party download sources (freeware download and free file hosting websites, ftp, etc.), infectious files attached to spam emails, fake software update tools, and trojans. Therefore, be cautious when downloading files/applications from unofficial sources and when opening files received from suspicious/unrecognizable email addresses. In addition, use a legitimate anti-virus/anti-spyware suite and keep your installed applications up-to-date. Cyber criminals are capable of exploiting software bugs/flaws to infect the system and, therefore, software should never be updated via third party tools. The key to computer safety is caution.

We also recommend you to read Emsisoft's article about Spora ransomware.

Ransom-demand message presented within Spora HTML file:

Все Ваши рабочие и личные файлы были зашифрованы
Для восстановления информации, получения гарантий и поддержки,
следуйте инструкции в личном кабинете.
SPORA RANSOMWARE
1. Только мы можем восстановить Ваши файлы.
Ваши файлы были модифицированы при помощи алгоритма RSA-1024. Обратный процесс восстановления называется дешифрование. Для этого необходим Ваш уникальный ключ. Подобрать или "взломать" его невозможно.
2. Не обращайтесь к посредникам!
Все ключи восстановления хранятся только у нас, соответственно, если Вам кто-либо предложит восстановить информацию, в лучшем случае, он сперва купит ключ у нас, затем Вам продаст его с наценкой.
Если Вы не смогли найти Ваш ключ синхронизации
Нажмите здесь

Screenshots of Spora ransomware website:

Spora website Russian variant Spora website English variant Spora website login Spora website Bitcoin wallet

Text presented at the foot of Spora website Bitcoin wallet:

Letter of Guarantee
-----START SIGNING BITCOIN ADDRESS-----
1SporaxoosUPYPEizY46t8yquLfzyABRm
-----END SIGNING BITCOIN ADDRESS-----
-----START LETTER OF GUARANTEE-----
We hereby confirm that we generated the address 1Gz5ocfBJkyBFaxPs16SNYHKXd2Ujb5fv9 in order to transfer all incoming amount to account ID: 2B5ABB84C2B8CC
This service will be only available for all bitcoins received within 30 days starting from January 11, 2017, 11:18 MSK with minimum amount of 0.0001 BTC.
This letter is digitally signed by our main account: 1SporaxoosUPYPEizY46t8yquLfzyABRm
-----END LETTER OF GUARANTEE-----
-----START DIGITAL SIGNATURE-----
HLZtAnk9kAnVcHgAc+Hg/D77YR8rPmAL4uNmGzQtRhvheJCLtuzovfFdCXpIHAG3WUDOyS5aDcC8kefTqxr9/f4=
-----END DIGITAL SIGNATURE-----

This is how the Spora ransomware website appears:

Spora website English variant (GIF)

Screenshot of files encrypted by Spora ransomware (no extension):

Spora decrypt instructions

File types targeted by Spora ransomware:

.xls, .doc, .xlsx, .docx, .rtf, .odt, .pdf, .psd, .dwg, .cdr, .cd, .mdb, .1cd, .dbf, .sqlite, .accdb, .jpg, .jpeg, .tiff, .zip, .rar, .7z, .backup

Spora ransomware removal:

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 Spora 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.


DOWNLOAD
Remover for Spora virus

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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 Spora 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 Spora 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 Spora 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 Spora, 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 Spora 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 Spora ransomware:

About the author:

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

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