BLACKOUT Ransomware

Also Known As: BLACKOUT virus
Distribution: Moderate
Damage level: Severe

BLACKOUT ransomware removal instructions


Discovered by malware security researcher, S!Ri, BLACKOUT is a ransomware-type virus that stealthily infiltrates systems and encrypts stored data. During encryption, BLACKOUT renames compromised filenames to include a number of random characters. Unlike other ransomware-type viruses, however, BLACKOUT does not append a file extension. Following successful encryption, the virus creates a text file ("README_3797824_81306.txt") containing a ransom-demand message and places it in every existing folder.

The message informs victims of the encryption and encourages them to contact BLACKOUT's developers via email to restore the data. It is currently unknown whether BLACKOUT uses symmetric or asymmetric cryptography. In both cases, decryption requires a unique key. Cyber criminals store this key on a remote server and victims are encouraged to pay a ransom to receive a decryption tool (with an embedded key). The cost is unconfirmed, however, criminals usually demand the equivalent of between $500 and $1500 in Bitcoins. Despite these demands, never trust cyber criminals. These people often ignore victims, once payments are submitted. There is a high probability that paying will not deliver any positive result and you will be scammed. Furthermore, you will you lose your money and support cyber criminals' businesses. Never attempt to contact these people or pay any ransom. Unfortunately, there are no tools capable of restoring files encrypted by BLACKOUT. 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:

BLACKOUT decrypt instructions

There are dozens of ransomware-type viruses similar to BLACKOUT including Ranrans, Striked and and PowerShell. These are just some examples from many. Note that all of these viruses have identical behavior - they encrypt files and make ransom demands. There are just two major differences: 1) size of ransom, and; 2) type of encryption algorithm used. Furthermore, most ransomware uses cryptographies that generate unique decryption keys (for example, AES, RSA). Therefore, file decryption without developer/criminal involvement is mostly impossible.

How did ransomware infect my computer?

To proliferate ransomware, cyber criminals employ spam emails (infectious attachments), peer-to-peer (P2P) networks (for example, eMule, torrents, etc.), unofficial software download sources (free file hosting websites, freeware download websites, etc.), fake software update tools, and trojans. Malicious attachments are usually delivered in the form of JavaScript files or MS Office documents (with macros) designed to download/install malware. P2P networks and other third party software download sources often proliferate malware by presenting it as legitimate software. Fake software updaters exploit outdated software bugs/flaws to infect the system.

How to protect yourself from ransomware infections?

To prevent ransomware infections, be very cautious when downloading and installing software. Do not open files received from suspicious email addresses, never download software from unofficial sources, and keep your installed applications up-to-date. Bear in mind, however, that criminals proliferate malware via fake updaters. Therefore, updating software via third party tools might lead to high-risk computer infections. Using a legitimate anti-virus/anti-spyware suite is also essential.

Message presented within BLACKOUT text file ("README_3797824_81306.txt"):

Hello. All your files have been encrypted!!

Your personal Id: -

Download video decryption:

To decrypt your files, write to email: or
In the letter, send your personal Id and 2 small encrypted files for trial decryption.

If you dont get answer from or in 72 hours,
you need to install tor browser, you can download it here:
After installation, open the tor browser to website: http://6ksho3v2o34lsvi2.onion and follow the instructions.

Do not try restore files without our help, this is useless, and can destroy you data permanetly.
However, the files can be recovered even after the removal of our program and even after
reinstalling the operating system.

Screenshot of files encrypted by BLACKOUT (renamed to random characters):

Files encrypted by BLACKOUT

Screenshot of BlackOut ransomware Tor website:

blackout ransomware tor website

BLACKOUT ransomware removal:

Instant automatic removal of BLACKOUT virus: Manual threat removal might be a lengthy and complicated process that requires advanced computer skills. Spyhunter is a professional automatic malware removal tool that is recommended to get rid of BLACKOUT virus. Download it by clicking the button below:
▼ DOWNLOAD Spyhunter By downloading any software listed on this website you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. Free scanner checks if your computer is infected. To remove malware, you have to purchase the full version of Spyhunter.

Quick menu:

Step 1

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.

Safe Mode with Networking

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.

Windows 8 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.

windows 10 safe mode with networking

Video showing how to start Windows 10 in "Safe Mode with Networking":

Step 2

Log in to the account infected with the BLACKOUT 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.

Boot your computer in Safe Mode with Command Prompt

2. When Command Prompt mode loads, enter the following line: cd restore and press ENTER.

system restore using command prompt type cd restore

3. Next, type this line: rstrui.exe and press ENTER.

system restore using command prompt rstrui.exe

4. In the opened window, click "Next".

restore system files and settings

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 BLACKOUT ransomware virus infiltrating your PC).

select a restore point

6. In the opened window, click "Yes".

run system restore

7. After restoring your computer to a previous date, download and scan your PC with recommended malware removal software to eliminate any remaining BLACKOUT 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 BLACKOUT 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.

Restoring files encrypted by CryptoDefense

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 regain control of the files encrypted by BLACKOUT, you can also try using a program called Shadow Explorer. More information on how to use this program is available here.

shadow explorer screenshot

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 BLACKOUT ransomware.

HitmanPro.Alert CryptoGuard - detects encryption of files and neutralises any attempts without need for user-intervention:

hitmanproalert ransomware prevention application

Malwarebytes Anti-Ransomware Beta uses advanced proactive technology that monitors ransomware activity and terminates it immediately - before reaching users' files:

malwarebytes anti-ransomware

  • 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 BLACKOUT ransomware:

About the author:

Tomas Meskauskas

Tomas Meskauskas - expert security researcher, professional malware analyst.

I am passionate about computer security and technology. I have an experience of over 10 years working in various companies related to computer technical issue solving and Internet security. I have been working as an author and editor for since 2010. Follow me on Twitter and LinkedIn to stay informed about the latest online security threats. Contact Tomas Meskauskas.

PCrisk security portal is brought by a company RCS LT. Joined forces of security researchers help educate computer users about the latest online security threats. More information about the company RCS LT.

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Malware activity

Global virus and spyware activity level today:

Medium threat activity

Increased attack rate of infections detected within the last 24 hours.

QR Code
BLACKOUT virus QR code
A QR code (Quick Response Code) is a machine-readable code which stores URLs and other information. This code can be read using a camera on a smartphone or a tablet. Scan this QR code to have an easy access removal guide of BLACKOUT virus on your mobile device.
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Platform: Windows

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