File-Locker Ransomware

Also Known As: File-Locker virus
Distribution: Low
Damage level: Severe

File-Locker ransomware removal instructions

What is File-Locker?

File-Locker is a ransomware-type virus based on Hidden Tear. Immediately after infiltration, File-Locker encrypts most stored data using the AES encryption algorithm and appends filenames with the ".locked" extension (e.g., "sample.jpg" is renamed to "sample.jpg.locked"). From this point, compromised data becomes unusable. Following successful encryption, File-Locker generates a text file ("Warning!!!!!!.txt") and places it on the desktop.

The created text file contains a ransom-demand message in Korean and English. Thus, it is safe to assume that criminals target users from Korea. The message informs victims of the encryption and encourages them to pay a ransom of ₩50000 (Korean won, currently equivalent to ~$50) in Bitcoins. As mentioned above, File-Locker employs AES - a symmetric encryption algorithm that uses a single key to encrypt and decrypt files. In most cases, ransomware-type viruses generate a key uniquely for each victim. Criminals store these keys on a remote server, allowing them to make ransom demands for their release. In this case, however, File-Locker uses a single key ("dnwls07193147") for all victims. Since the key is hard-coded, file decryption is simple. Although there are currently no tools capable of decryption, the situation might change in future. In any case, there is no reason to pay any ransom. Even if the ransomware generated unique keys, you should not trust cyber criminals. These people often ignore victims, once ransoms are paid. Paying will deliver no positive result and you might be scammed. You will lose your money and support cyber criminals' malicious businesses. Since there are no tools capable of restoring files encrypted by File-Locker (if it uses multiple keys in future), 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:

File-Locker decrypt instructions

There are dozens of ransomware-type viruses similar to File-Locker. For example, RETIS, Cyclone, Napoleon, and LockeR. All of these viruses are developed by different cyber criminals, however, their behavior is identical - all encrypt data and makes ransom demands. These viruses typically have just two major differences: 1) cost of decryption, and; 2) type of encryption algorithm used. Unfortunately, research shows that most of these viruses employ cryptographies (e.g., RSA, AES, etc.) that generate unique decryption keys. Therefore, unless the malware has certain bugs/flaws (e.g., the key is hard-coded, stored locally, or similar) restoring files without involvement of the developers (not recommended) is impossible. For these reasons, ransomware-type viruses such as File-Locker present a strong case for maintaining regular data backups. Note, however, that backup files must be stored on a remote server (e.g., Cloud) or an external storage. If not, backups are encrypted as well.

How did ransomware infect my computer?

Cyber criminals often proliferate ransomware by employing spam emails (infectious attachments), unofficial software download sources (peer-to-peer [P2P] networks, freeware download websites, free file hosting websites, etc.), fake software update tools, and trojans. Malicious attachments typically (but not necessarily) come in the format of JavaScript files or MS Office documents. Once opened, these attachments download and install malware. Third party download sources proliferate viruses by presenting them as legitimate software. Users are often tricked into downloading and installing malware. Fake updaters exploit outdated software bugs/flaws to infect the system. Trojans are the simplest ones - they are designed to open "backdoors" for malware to infiltrate the system. Essentially, the main reasons for computer infections are poor knowledge and careless behavior.

How to protect yourself from ransomware infections?

To prevent ransomware infections, be very cautious when browsing the Internet. Never open files received from suspicious email addresses. These emails should be deleted without reading. Furthermore, download your software from official sources only, preferably using direct download links. Third party downloaders/installers often include rogue software and, therefore, should never be used. Keep installed applications up-to-date and use a legitimate anti-virus/anti-spyware suite, however, since criminals proliferate malware via fake updaters, use an implemented update functionality or at least a tool provided by the official developer. The key to computer safety is caution.

Text presented in File-Locker ransomware text file ("Warning!!!!!!.txt"):

한국어: 경고!!! 모든 문서, 사진, 데이테베이스 및 기타 중요한 파일이 암호화되었습니다!!
당신은 돈을 지불해야 합니다
비트코인 5만원을 fasfry2323@naver.com로 보내십시오 비트코인 지불코드: 1F1tAaz5x1HUXrCNLbtMDqcw6o5GNn4xqX 결제 사이트 hxxp://www.localbitcoins.com/
English: Warning!!! All your documents, photos, databases and other important personal files were encrypted!!
You have to pay for it.
Send fifty thousand won to fasfry2323@naver.com Bitcoin payment code: 1BoatSLRHtKNngkdXEeobR76b53LETtpyT Payment site hxxp://www.localbitcoins.com/

Screenshot of files encrypted by File-Locker (".locked" extension):

Files encrypted by File-Locker

File-Locker ransomware removal:

Instant automatic removal of File-Locker 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 File-Locker 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 File-Locker 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 File-Locker 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 File-Locker 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 File-Locker 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 File-Locker, 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 File-Locker ransomware.

Note that 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 File-Locker ransomware: