Written by Tomas Meskauskas on
ZinoCrypt ransomware removal instructions
What is ZinoCrypt?
ZinoCrypt is a ransomware-type virus discovered by malware researcher, MalwareHunterTeam. Once infiltrated, ZinoCrypt encrypts files and appends filenames with the ".ZINO" extension. For example, "sample.jpg" might be renamed to "sample.jpg.ZINO". Following successful encryption, ZinoCrypt creates a text file ("ZINO_NOTE.txt") containing a ransom-demand message, and places it on the desktop.
As compared to other similar viruses, the ransom-demand message is short - it simply states that files are encrypted and that the only way to restore them is to purchase a decryption tool and key from ZinoCrypt's developers. To submit payment, victims are encouraged contact these people via an email address ("ZinoCrypt@protonmail.com") provided. They then supposedly receive further payment instructions. The cost of ZinoCrypt's decrypter is currently unconfirmed, however, criminals usually demand the equivalent of between $500 and 1500 in Bitcoins. It is also unknown whether ZinoCrypt uses symmetric or asymmetric cryptography. In either case, decryption without a unique key is impossible. This key is stored on a remote server and cyber criminals attempt to blackmail victims to purchase it. These people should never be trusted - cyber criminals often ignore victims, once payments are submitted. Paying does not guarantee that your files will ever be decrypted and there is a high probability that you will be scammed. Therefore, never attempt to contact these people or pay any ransom. Unfortunately, there are no tools capable of restoring files compromised by ZinoCrypt ransomware and you can only restore your files/system from a backup.
Screenshot of a message encouraging users to pay a ransom to decrypt their compromised data:
There are dozens of ransomware-type viruses that share similarities with ZinoCrypt including Kirk, Crptxxx, Karmen, and RozaLocker - these are just some examples from many. Note that, as with ZinoCrypt, these malware infections also encrypt files and makes ransom demands. In fact, the only major differences between ransomware-type viruses are size of ransom and type of encryption algorithm (symmetric/asymmetric) used. Distribution methods are also identical. Cyber criminals proliferate ransomware-type viruses by employing spam emails (malicious attachments), peer-to-peer networks (torrents, eMule, etc.), third party software download sources (freeware download websites, 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 bear in mind that cyber criminals often employ fake updaters to proliferate malware. Therefore, never use third party update tools. Using a legitimate anti-virus/anti-spyware suite is also essential. The key to computer safety is caution.
Ransom-demand message presented within ZinoCrypt ransomware text file ("ZINO_NOTE.txt"):
ZINOCRYPT Ransomware - 2017 Edition
Your important files has been encrypted with the new ZinoCrypt Ransomware. (Photos, Videos, etc…)
There are no tools online that will allow you to decode your files for free.
The only way to get your files back is to pay us.
Payment would be done strictly via BTC/Bitcoin.
Do not worry, all your files are safe, but are unavailable at the moment.
To recover the files you need to get special decryption software and personal key.
Your can contact us:
Primary email: ZinoCrypt@protonmail.com
Screenshot of files encrypted by ZinoCrypt (".ZINO" extension):
ZinoCrypt ransomware removal:
Quick menu: Quick solution to remove .ZINO virus
- What is ZinoCrypt?
- STEP 1. ZinoCrypt virus removal using safe mode with networking.
- STEP 2. ZinoCrypt 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 ZinoCrypt 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 ZinoCrypt 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 ZinoCrypt 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 ZinoCrypt 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 ZinoCrypt 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 ZinoCrypt ransomware: