Relock Ransomware

Also Known As: Relock virus
Distribution: Low
Damage level: Severe

Relock ransomware removal instructions

What is Relock?

First discovered by malware security researcher, Dmitriy Melikov, Relock is a new variant of a ransomware-type virus called Matrix. Once infiltrated, Relock encrypts stored data (from this point files become unusable) and adds the "_[RELOCK001@TUTA.IO].*" extension to each filename. For instance, "sample.jpg" is renamed to "sample.jpg_[RELOCK001@TUTA.IO]" or "sample_[RELOCK001@TUTA.IO].jpg". Immediately after encryption, Relock generates a "!OoopsYourFilesLocked!.rtf" file and places it in each existing folder. It also changes the desktop wallpaper.

The new .rtf file provides detailed information regarding the current situation together with decryption instructions. It states that the files are encrypted using a strong algorithm and that decryption requires a unique key. Unfortunately, this information is accurate. It is currently unknown whether Relock uses symmetric or asymmetric cryptography, however, in any case, a decryption key is generated uniquely for each victim (restoring files without this key is impossible). Criminals store these keys on a remote server. Therefore, the message presented in the .rtf file encourages users to contact Relock's developers (via one of the email addresses provided) and pay a ransom. It is also stated that victims must do this within seven days following encryption, otherwise the keys are permanently deleted and restoring files becomes impossible. Users are also allowed to attach up to three files (max 5 MB in total), which are decrypted and returned as a 'guarantee' that restoring is possible. The cost is currently unconfirmed, since we did not attempt to contact these people, however, this type of scam usually demands $500-1500 in Bitcoins. Despite the threats, never trust cyber criminals, no matter how low the cost. These people often ignore victims after payments are submitted. There is no guarantee that paying will give any positive result and you will probably be scammed. Therefore, never attempt to contact these people or send any money - you will lose your money and support cyber criminals. Unfortunately, there are no tools capable of restoring files encrypted by Relock. The only solution is to restore system/data using a backup file.

Screenshot of a message encouraging users to pay a ransom to decrypt their compromised data:

Relock decrypt instructions

There are dozens of ransomware-type viruses similar to Relock, including Hacking, Decoder, Hermes, SyncCrypt, and Paradise. Research shows that, although these viruses are developed by different cyber criminals, their behavior is identical. All encrypt data and make ransom demands. They have just two major differences: 1) size of ransom, and; 2) type of cryptography used. Unfortunately, most ransomware employs algorithms that generate unique decryption keys (for example, AES, RSA, etc.) Therefore, users are unable to restore files manually (without developers involvement), unless the malware is not fully developed or has certain flaws (e.g., the key is hard-coded or stored in a local file). Relock and other ransomware-type viruses present a strong case for maintaining regular data backups. Bear in mind, however, that backups must be stored on a remote server (such as Cloud) or an external/unplugged hard drive, otherwise they will also be encrypted.

How did ransomware infect my computer?

Ransomware-type viruses are mostly proliferated using third party software download sources (torrents, free file hosting websites, freeware download websites, etc.), spam emails (malicious attachments), trojans, and fake software updaters. Research shows that unofficial software download sources often present malicious executables as legitimate software, thereby tricking users into downloading and installing viruses. Spam emails often contain JavaScript files, MS Office documents (with macros) or other malicious attachments that, once opened, download and install ransomware. Trojans open "gates" for malware to infiltrate the system. Fake software update tools exploit outdated software bugs/flaws to infect the system. Essentially, the main reasons for computer infections are poor knowledge and careless behavior.

Threat Summary:
NameRelock virus
Threat TypeRansomware, Crypto Virus, Files locker
SymptomsCan't open files stored on your computer, previously functional files now have a different extension, for example my.docx.locked. A ransom demanding message is displayed on your desktop. Cyber criminals are asking to pay a ransom (usually in bitcoins) to unlock your files.
Distribution methodsInfected email attachments (macros), torrent websites, malicious ads.
DamageAll files are encrypted and cannot be opened without paying a ransom. Additional password stealing trojans and malware infections can be installed together with a ransomware infection.
Removal

To eliminate Relock virus our malware researchers recommend scanning your computer with Spyhunter.
▼ Download Spyhunter
Free scanner checks if your computer is infected. To remove malware, you have to purchase the full version of Spyhunter.

How to protect yourself from ransomware infections?

This situation can be prevented by paying close attention when browsing the Internet. Never open files received from suspicious email addresses. In fact, these emails should be deleted immediately, without reading. Furthermore, download your apps from official sources only using a direct download link. Note that third party download/installation tools are monetized by promoting malicious programs. Therefore, such tools should never be used. Keeping installed applications updated and using a legitimate anti-virus/anti-spyware suite is also very important. Bear in mind, however, that ransomware is often proliferated using fake updaters, and so we highly recommend you to update software only via official tools or an implemented "Update" feature. The key to computer safety is caution.

Text presented in Relock ransomware .rtf file ("!OoopsYourFilesLocked!.rtf"):

Wаrning! Аll yоur filеs wеrе еnсryрtеd with strоng сrуptо аlgоrithm.
It mеаns thаt yоu will nоt bе аblе tо аccеss thеm аnуmоrе until thеу аrе dесrуptеd with yоur pеrsоnаl dесrуptiоn kеy! Withоut уоur pеrsоnаl kеy аnd sреciаl sоftwаrе dаtа rеcоvеrу is impоssiblе! If yоu will fоllоw оur instruсtiоns, wе guаrаntее thаt yоu cаn dесryрt аll yоur filеs quiсkly аnd sаfеly!
If yоu wаnt tо rеstоrе yоur filеs, plеаsе writе us tо thе е-mаil:
relock001@tuta.io
In subjеct linе оf mеssаgе writе yоur pеrsоnаl ID:
47618194C88B6315
Tо cоnfirm thаt wе cаn dесryрt yоur filеs yоu cаn sеnd us up tо 3 filеs fоr frее dесrурtiоn. Plеаsе nоte thаt filеs fоr frее dесrурtiоn must NОT cоntаin аnу vаluаblе infоrmаtiоn аnd thеir tоtаl sizе must bе lеss thаn 5Mb.
Yоu hаvе tо rеspоnd аs sооn аs pоssiblе tо еnsurе thе rеstрrаtiоn оf yоur filеs, bеcаusе wе wоnt kееp yоur dеcrуptiоn kеys аt оur sеrvеr mоre thаn оne wееk in intеrеst оf оur sеcuritу.
Аnd hurrу uр! Еасh 12 hоurs thе pауmеnt sizе will bе аutоmаticаllу inсrеаsеd!
Nоtе thаt аll thе аttеmpts оf dесryptiоn by yоursеlf оr using third pаrty tооls will rеsult оnly in irrеvосаble lоss оf yоur dаtа.
If yоu did nоt rеcеivе thе аnswеr frоm thе аfоrеcitеd еmаil fоr mоrе then 24 hours, usе thе rеsеrvе е-mаil аddrеss:
relock001@yahoo.com

Screenshot of Relock desktop wallpaper:

Relock wallpaper

Screenshot of files encrypted by Relock ("_[RELOCK001@TUTA.IO]" extension):

Files encrypted by Relock

Relock ransomware removal:

Instant automatic removal of Relock 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 Relock 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 Relock 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 Relock 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 Relock 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 Relock 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 Relock, 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 Relock ransomware.

Note that the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update includes a "Controlled Folder Access" feature that blocks ransomware attempts to encrypt your files. By default, this feature automatically protects files stored in the Documents, Pictures, Videos, Music, Favorites as well as Desktop folders.

Controll Folder Access

Windows 10 users should install this update to protect their data from ransomware attacks. Here is more information on how to get this update and add an additional protection layer from ransomware infections.

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 Relock 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 pcrisk.com 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
Medium

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

QR Code
Relock 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 Relock virus on your mobile device.
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Platform: Windows

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