Zlocker ransomware removal instructions
What is Zlocker?
Zlocker is another ransomware-type virus discovered by S!Ri. Immediately after infiltration, Zlocker encrypts most stored data and adds the "╘" symbol as an extension to the name of each encrypted file. For instance, "sample.jpg" is renamed to "sample.jpg╘". Henceforth, it becomes impossible to use the compromised data. Following successful encryption, Zlocker generates the "ВАШИ ФАЙЛЫ ЗАШИФРОВАНЫ.txt" ("YOUR FILES ARE STRIKED.txt") file and places several copies in each existing folder.
The new text file contains a message informing users of the encryption and makes ransom demands. The message is in Russian and, therefore, it is safe to assume that cyber criminals are from, or target users from, Russia. We currently do not know which encryption algorithm (symmetric or asymmetric) Zlocker uses, however, in any case decryption requires a unique key. Restoring data without the key is impossible. These keys are stored on a remote server controlled by cyber criminals (Zlocker's developers). Therefore, to restore files, users are encouraged to pay a ransom of 5000₽ (approximately $85). Note that the message fails to provide any contact information or decryption instructions - users are simply asked to send money via the address/account on the QIWI payment service provider. Be aware that cyber criminals cannot be trusted. Research shows that these people often ignore victims, once the ransoms are paid. In this case, they do not even provide any information regarding decryption. Thus, paying will not deliver any positive result and you will be scammed. For these reasons, never submit any payments. Unfortunately, there are no tools capable of restoring files encrypted by Zlocker and the only solution is to restore files/system from a backup.
Screenshot of a message encouraging users to pay a ransom to decrypt their compromised data:
The Internet contains hundreds of ransomware-type viruses similar to Zlocker (for example, WORK, Skeleton, File Spider, Halloware, etc.) These viruses are designed by different cyber criminals, and yet, have identical behavior - they encrypt data and make ransom demands. They typically have just two major differences: 1) type of encryption algorithm used, and; 2) size of ransom. Unfortunately, most ransomware employs algorithms (e.g., RSA, AES, etc.) that generate unique decryption keys. If the ransomware is developed properly (does not store keys locally, is not hard-coded, etc.), restoring files manually without involvement of developers (contacting these people is not recommended) is impossible. Therefore, malware such as Zlocker presents a strong case for maintaining regular data backups. Remember that backup files must be stored on a remote server (such as Cloud) or a type of external storage. If not, the malware encrypts them as well.
How did ransomware infect my computer?
How to protect yourself from ransomware infections?
To prevent ransomware infections, be very cautious when browsing the Internet. Attachments sent from suspicious email addresses should never be opened. In fact, such emails should be deleted without reading. Furthermore, download software only from official/certified sources and, preferably, using a direct download link (third party downloaders/installers often include dubious apps). Keep installed applications updated, however, since criminals proliferate malware via fake updaters, we strongly advise you to use implemented "Update" features or at least tools provided by the official developer. Using a legitimate anti-virus/anti-spyware suite is also essential. The key to computer safety is caution.
Ransom-demand message presented in Zlocker ransomware text file ("ВАШИ ФАЙЛЫ ЗАШИФРОВАНЫ.txt") in Russian:
Ваши файлы были зашифрованы. Чтобы расшифровать их, получив ключ дешифровки вы должны оплатить 5000р. на QIWI 79684666319. Иначе ваши файлы будут удалены без возможности восстановления. Оплачивая укажите в комментариях свою почту, на которую будет выслан дешифратор.
Ransom-demand message translated to English:
Your files have been encrypted. To decrypt them, having received the decryption key you must pay 5000r. on QIWI 79684666319. Otherwise your files will be deleted without the possibility of recovery. When paying, indicate in your comments your mail, to which the decoder will be sent.
Screenshot of files encrypted by Zlocker ("╘" extension):
Zlocker ransomware removal:
- What is Zlocker?
- STEP 1. Zlocker virus removal using safe mode with networking.
- STEP 2. Zlocker 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 Zlocker 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.
Download remover for Zlocker virus
1) Download and install 2) Run system scan 3) Enjoy your clean computer!
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 Zlocker 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 Zlocker 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 Zlocker 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 Zlocker 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.
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:
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 Zlocker ransomware: