Written by Tomas Meskauskas on
Kirk ransomware removal instructions
What is Kirk?
Kirk is a ransomware-type virus that claims to be a network stress tool called "Low Orbital Ion Cannon". This ransomware was first discovered by malware researcher Jakub Kroustek. Following successful infiltration, Kirk encrypts files and appends filenames with the ".kirked" extension (for example, "sample.jpg" is renamed to "sample.jpg.kirked"). A pop-up window is then displayed and a text file ("RANSOM_NOTE.txt") created and placed on the desktop. Both contain identical ransom-demand messages. This virus also creates a file called "pwd", and places it in each folder containing encrypted data. This file contains the victim's password, which is also encrypted.
The message informs victims of the encryption and states that files can only be restored via specific software with an embedded decryption key (password). To receive this tool, victims must pay a ransom. It is currently unknown whether Kirk uses symmetric or asymmetric cryptography. In any case, decryption without a unique key is impossible. Cyber criminals store this key on a remote server and attempt to blackmail victims to receive it. The cost of the decryption tool is currently unconfirmed, however, criminals usually demand $500 - 1500. Kirk's developers request payment in the Monero crypto currency. This is unusual, since cyber criminals tend to request Bitcoins. After submitting payment, victims are encouraged to contact cyber criminals via one of the email addresses ("firstname.lastname@example.org" or "email@example.com") provided. The email must contain a transaction ID and "pwd" file. Victims then supposedly receive a decryption tool. Be aware, however, that criminals often ignore victims, once payments are submitted. Therefore, there is no guarantee that your files will ever decrypted. Furthermore, you will support their malicious businesses. Never trust cyber criminals. Unfortunately, there are no tools capable of restoring files/system from a backup. Therefore, you can only restore files/system from a backup.
Screenshot of a message encouraging users to pay a ransom to decrypt their compromised data:
Kirk is very similar to Revenge, Karmen, FileLocker, VenusLocker, and dozens of other ransomware-type viruses. Note that all of these viruses encrypt files and make ransom demands. There are just two major differences between these viruses: 1) cost of decryption, and; 2) type of encryption algorithm [symmetric/asymmetric] used. Ransomware-type viruses are often distributed using spam email (malicious attachments), peer-to-peer (P2P) networks and other third party software download sources (torrents, eMule, freeware download and free file hosting websites, etc.), fake software update tools, and trojans. Therefore, never open files received from suspicious emails or download 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.
Here's how Kirk ransomware pop-up looks like (GIF):
Screenshot of Kirk text file:
Text presented within Kirk pop-up and text file:
Oh no! The Kirk ransomware has encrypted your files!
! IMPORTANT ! READ CAREFULLY: Your computer has fallen victim to the Kirk malware and important files have been encrypted - locked
up so they don't work. This may have broken some software, including games, office suites etc. Here's a list of some the file extensions that were targetted: .3g2, .rar, .jar, .cgi, .class, .jtd, .potx, .xex, .dds, .3gp, .jpg, .csv, .pl, .cd, .jtt, .potm, .tiger, .ff, .asf, .jpeg, .psd, .com, .java, .hwp, .sda, .lbf, .yrp, .asx, .png, .wav, .wsf, .swift, .602, .sdd, .cab, .pck, .avi, .tiff, .ogg, .bmp, .vb, .pdb, .sdp, .rx3, .t3, .flv, .zip, .wma, .bmp, .ods, .psw, .cgm, .epk, .ltx, .ai, .7z, .aif, .gif, .xlr, .xlw, .wotreplay.vol, .uasset, .m2ts, .dif.z, .mpa, .tif, .xls, .xlt, .rofl, .asset, .bikey, .mkv, .exe .wpl, .tiff, .xlsx, .xlsm, .pak, .forge, .patch, .mov, .tar.gz, .arj, .htm, .dot, .xltx, .big, .lng, .upk, .mp4, .tar, .deb, .js .docm, .xltm, .bik .sii, .uax, .mpg, .mp3, .pkg, .jsp, .dotx, .xlsb, .xtbl, .litemod, .mdl, .mpeg, .sh, .db, .php, .dotm, .wk1, .unity3d, .vef, .lvl, mpeg4, .c, .dbf, .xhtml, .wpd, .wks, .capx, .dat, .qst, .rm, .cpp, .sav, .cfm, .wps, .123, .ttarch, .papa, .ddv, .swf, .h, .xml, .rss, .rtf, .sdc, .iwi, .psark, .pta, .vob, .mov, .html, .key, sdw, .slk, .rgss3a, .ydk, .wmv, .gif, .aiml, .odp, .sgl, .pxl, .gblorb, .mpq, .doc, .txt, .apk, .pps, .vor, .wb2, .xwm, .wtf, .docx, .py, .bat .ppt, .uot, .pot, .j2e, .bsa, .pdf, .pyc, .bin, .pptx, .uof, .pptm, .mpk, .re4 There are an additional 441 file extensions that are targetted. They are mostly to do with games. To get your files back, you need to pay. Now. Payments recieved more than 48 hours after the time of infection will be charged double. Further time penalties are listed below. The time of infection has been logged. Any files with the extensions listed above will now have the extra extension '.kirked', these files are encrypted using military grade encryption. In the place you ran this program from, you should find a note (named RANSOM_NOTE.txt) similar to this one. You will also find a file named 'pwd' - this is your encrypted password file. Although it was generated by your computer, you have no way of ever decrypting it. This is due to the security of both the way it was generated and the way it was encrypted. Your files were encrypted using this password. "Logic, mother******.” ~ Spock.
Decrypting your files is easy. Take a deep breath and follow the steps below.
1 ) Make the proper payment. Payments are made in Monero. This is a crypto-currency, like bitcoin. You can buy Monero, and send it, from the same places you can any other crypto-currency. If you're still unsure, google 'bitcoin exchange'. Sign up at one of these exchange sites and send the payment to the address below. Make note of the payment / transaction ID, or make one up if you have the option. Payment Address (Monero Wallet): 4AqSwfTexbNaHcn8giSJw3KPiWYHGBaCF9bdgPxvHbd5A8Q3Fc7n6FQCReEns8uEg8j... ...Uo4BeB79rwf4XSfQPVL1SKdVp2jz Note: In 31 days your password decryption key gets permanently deleted. You then have no way to ever retrieve your files. So pay now.
2 ) Email us. Send your pwd file as an email attachment to one of the email addresses below. Include the payment ID from step 1. Active email addresses: firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com
3 ) Decrypt your files. You will recieve your decrypted password file and a program called 'Spock'.
Download these both to the same place and run Spock. Spock reads in your decrypted password file and uses it to decrypt all of the
affected files on your computer. > IMPORTANT ! The password is unique to this infection. Using an old password or one from another machine will result in corrupted files. Corrupted files cannot be retrieved.
Don't f*** around.
4 ) Breathe.
Kirk ransomware claiming to be "Low Orbital Ion Cannon" network stress tool:
Screenshot of files encrypted by Kirk (".kirked" extension):
Kirk ransomware removal:
Quick menu: Quick solution to remove .kirked virus
- What is Kirk?
- STEP 1. Kirk virus removal using safe mode with networking.
- STEP 2. Kirk 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 Kirk 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 Kirk 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 Kirk 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 Kirk 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 EasySync CryptoMonitor, which artificially implant group policy objects into the registry to block rogue programs such as Kirk 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 Kirk ransomware: