AES-NI ransomware removal instructions
What is AES-NI?
AES-NI (full name "AES-NI Ransomware SPECIAL VERSION: NSA EXPLOIT EDITION", named after the recent NSA exploit kit leak) is a ransomware-type virus that stealthily infiltrates systems and encrypts files using AES-256 and RSA-2048 cryptoraphies. During encryption, AES-NI appends filenames with the ".aes_ni_0day" extension (previous variants of this ransomware appended ".aes_ni"). For example, "sample.jpg" is renamed to "sample.jpg.aes_ni_0day". Following successful encryption, AES-NI creates a text file ("!!! READ THIS - IMPORTANT !!! txt") containing a ransom-demand message, placing it on the desktop.
The messages states that files are encrypted and that the victim must purchase a key to restore them. As mentioned above, AES-NI uses AES-256 and RSA-2048 encryption algorithms and, therefore, decryption without these unique keys is impossible. Cyber criminals store the keys on a remote server and attempt to blackmail victims to receive them - victims are encouraged to contact AES-NI developers (via one of the email addresses provided) and make ransom payments. The cost is currently unconfirmed, however, research shows that cyber criminals usually demand the equivalent of between $500 and 1500 in Bitcoins. These people should never be trusted, since they often ignore victims once payments are submitted. Furthermore, it is highly probable that paying will not deliver any positive result and you will be scammed. We strongly advise you to ignore all requests to pay or contact these people. Unfortunately, there are no tools capable of cracking AES/RSA cryptographies and restoring files encrypted by AES-NI. The problem can only be solved by restoring files/system from a backup.
Screenshot of a message encouraging users to pay a ransom to decrypt their compromised data:
AES-NI is virtually identical to Crysis, PadCrypt, Xorist, and dozens of other ransomware-type viruses. As with AES-NI, these malware infections also encrypt data and makes ransom demands. The only major differences between ransomware-type viruses are size of ransom and type of encryption algorithm (symmetric or asymmetric) used. Ransomware is mostly distributed using fake software update tools, peer-to-peer (P2P) networks (eMule, torrents, etc.), third party software download sources (free file hosting websites, freeware download 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. Note, however, that cyber criminals often proliferate malware via fake software updaters. Therefore, using third party tools to update your installed applications is very risky. Poor knowledge and careless behavior are the main reasons for computer infections. The key to computer safety is caution.
Update 29 May, 2017 - Security researchers from Avast have released a free decrypted for this ransomware. You can download it HERE
Text presented within AES-NI ransomware text file ("!!! READ THIS - IMPORTANT !!! txt"):
The AES-the NI the SPECIAL the VERSION: the NSA EXPLOIT EDITION INTRO: the If you are reading IT, your server WAS Attacked with the NSA exploits. Make World Safe Again. SORRY! Your files are encrypted. File contents are encrypted with random key ( AES- 256 bit; ECB mode). Random key is encrypted with RSA public key ( 2048 bit). We STRONGLY RECOMMEND you NOT to use any "decryption tools". These tools can damage your data, making recover IMPOSSIBLE. Also we recommend you not to contact data recovery companies. They will just contact us, buy the key and sell it to you at a higher price. If you want to decrypt your files, you have to get RSA private key. Order to the get with In the private key, the write found here: firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org IMPORTANT: with In some cases of malware Researchers CAN Our block an e-mails. If you did not receive any answer on e-mail in 48 hours, please do not panic and write to BitMsg (https://bitmsg.me) address: BM-2cVgoJS8HPMkjzgDMVNAGg5TG3bb1TcfhN or create topic on https://www.bleepingcomputer.com / and we will find you there. If someone else offers you files restoring, ask him for test decryption. Only we can successfully decrypt your files; knowing this can protect you from fraud. You will receive instructions of what to do next. To refer the this MUST You ID in your message: RECOVERI2 # - ****** Also you MUST the send all ".key.aes_ni_0day" files is from the C: \ the ProgramData the if there are the any. ===== # aes-ni ransomware # =====
Screenshot of files encrypted by AES-NI (".aes_ni_0day" extension):
AES-NI ransomware removal:
- What is AES-NI?
- STEP 1. AES-NI virus removal using safe mode with networking.
- STEP 2. AES-NI 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 AES-NI 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 AES-NI 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 AES-NI 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 AES-NI 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 AES-NI 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 AES-NI ransomware: