Written by Tomas Meskauskas on
Shifr ransomware removal instructions
What is Shifr?
Shifr is a ransomware-type virus written in the Google Go programming language. This malware was first discovered by MalwareHunterTeam. Once infiltrated, Shifr encrypts various files and appends the ".shifr" extension to the name of each encrypted file (for example, "sample.jpg" is renamed to "sample.jpg.shifr"). After successfully encrypting data, Shifr creates an HTML file ("HOW_TO_DECRYPT_FILES.html"), placing it in each folder containing encrypted files.
Shifr's HTML file contains a short message stating that files are encrypted and that victims must follow instructions within a specific website (link provided). This Tor website contains another message stating that to restore files (receive a decryption tool) victims must pay a ransom of .1 Bitcoin (approximately, $120). They are then able to download the decrypter. It is currently unknown whether Shifr uses symmetric or asymmetric cryptography, however, in both cases, decryption without a unique key is impossible. Cyber criminals store this key on a remote server and victims must pay a ransom to receive it (or in this case, a decryption tool with the key embedded within). Be aware, however, that cyber criminals should never be trusted. Research shows that they often ignore victims, once payments are made. Therefore, it is highly probable that paying will not deliver any positive results you may be scammed. We strongly advise you to ignore all requests to pay or contact these people. Unfortunately, there are no tools capable of decrypting files compromised by Shifr. The only solution is to restore files/system from a backup.
Screenshot of a message encouraging users to visit a rogue website to decrypt their compromised data:
There are hundreds of ransomware-type viruses that share similarities with Shifr including, for instance, AES-NI, ATLAS, Nemesis, and Philadelphia. As with Shifr, these viruses also encrypt files and make ransom demands. The only major differences are size of ransom and type of encryption algorithm (symmetric/asymmetric) used. Distribution methods are also identical. Ransomware-type viruses are often distributed via spam emails (malicious attachments), third party software download sources (freeware download websites, free file hosting websites, torrents, eMule, etc.), fake software updaters, 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. Bear in mind, however, that criminals proliferate malware by employing fake updaters. Therefore, using third party tools to update your installed applications is very risky.
Screenshot of Shifr website:
Text presented within this website:
Your files have been encrypted!
To decrypt your files, send 0.1 Bitcoin to this address: 1EdN1ZaPAAo6hCruBDhkFnNt68QoJATNLa
After your payment is complete, you can decrypt files with decryption program.
Download decryption program here.
Decryption key: Not paid yet.
Question:Where can I get Bitcoin wallet?
Answer:Simple and easy to use wallet.
Question:Where can I buy Bitcoins?
Answer:Guide to various methods of buying Bitcoin.
Screenshot of files encrypted by Shifr ransomware (".shifr" extension):
Shifr ransomware removal:
Quick menu: Quick solution to remove .shifr virus
- What is Shifr?
- STEP 1. Shifr virus removal using safe mode with networking.
- STEP 2. Shifr 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 Shifr 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 Shifr 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 Shifr 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 Shifr 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 Shifr 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 Shifr ransomware: