GruxEx ransomware removal instructions
What is GruxEx?
GruxEx is a copy of an open-source ransomware project called Hidden Tear. Once infiltrated, GruxEx employs AES cryptography to encrypt various files. During encryption, this ransomware appends the ".grux" extension to the name of each encrypted file. For instance, "sample.jpg" is renamed to "sample.jpg.grux". Following successful encryption, GruxEx opens a pop-up window containing a ransom-demand message.
The message informs victims of the encryption and states that a ransom of $250 must be paid in Bitcoins to restore them. The ransom must be paid within 24 hours, otherwise the cost will double. After 48 hours, all files are permanently deleted. Victims are also permitted to decrypt several files free of charge, presumably as proof that file decryption is actually possible. As mentioned above, GruxEx employs the AES encryption algorithm and, therefore, files can only be restored using a unique key. Cyber criminals store this key on a remote server and generate revenue by blackmailing victims. Despite these threats, never attempt to contact these people or pay any ransom. Research shows that cyber criminals often ignore victims once payments are submitted - paying does not guarantee that your files will ever be restored and there is a high probability that you will be scammed. In addition, you will support cyber criminals' malicious businesses. Unfortunately, there are no tools capable of cracking AES cryptography and restoring files compromised by GruxEx ransomware. 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:
GruxEx shares many similarities with UIWIX, vCrypt, Amnesia, and dozens of other ransomware-type viruses. As with GruxEx, these malware infections also encrypt files and makes ransom demands. In fact, the only major differences between these viruses are size of ransom (which usually fluctuates between $500 and $1500) and type of encryption algorithm (symmetric/asymmetric) used. Cyber criminals proliferate ransomware by employing spam emails (malicious attachments), third party software download sources (free file hosting websites, freeware download websites, torrents, 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. Bear in mind, however, that criminals proliferate malware via fake updaters. Therefore, using third party tools to update installed apps is not advisable. Poor knowledge and careless behavior are the main reasons for computer infections. The key to computer safety is caution.
Text presented within GruxEx ransomware pop-up window:
Your files have been encrypted by GruxEx ransomware
What happened to my computer?
Your computer has been infected by GruxEx ransomware, all of your important files have been encrypted. All of your documents, photos, music, and other files
are now encrypted. This encryption is called AES encryption and it is most advanced algorythm yet.
If you want your files back you will need to pay $250 in Bitcoin to the Bitcoin address listed below. If you want a few of your files back for free you can press the
*decrypt my files* button down below. But if you want the rest of your files to be decrypted you will need to make payment in the next 24 hours, if you fail to make this payment in the next 24 hours it will be doubled to $400, and you will have and extra 24 hours to make a payment.
Screenshot of files encrypted by GruxEx (".grux" extension):
GruxEx ransomware removal:
- What is GruxEx?
- STEP 1. GruxEx virus removal using safe mode with networking.
- STEP 2. GruxEx 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 GruxEx 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 GruxEx 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 GruxEx 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 GruxEx 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 GruxEx 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 GruxEx ransomware: