SERVER Ransomware

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

SERVER ransomware removal instructions

What is SERVER?

First discovered by malware security researcher, Lawerence Abrams, SERVER is a new variant of high-risk ransomware called CryptoMix. Immediately after infiltration, SERVER encrypts most stored files and renames them using the "[32_random_characters].SERVER" pattern. For instance, "sample.jpg" might be renamed to a filename such as "A83E2FDB97AAEDC67DEA128EDCEA9075.SERVER". From this point, files become unusable and indistinguishable. Following successful encryption, SERVER generates a text file ("_HELP_INSTRUCTION.TXT") and places a copy in each existing folder.

The new text file contains a short message informing victims of the current situation and encouraging them to contact SERVER's developers (via one of five emails provided) to restore their files. Criminals then provide detailed decryption instructions. It is currently unknown which cryptography (symmetric or asymmetric) SERVER ransomware uses - this information is not provided. In any case, decryption requires a unique key. Criminals hide these keys on a remote server, thus allowing them to make demands. Restoring files without the key is impossible and victims are encouraged to pay a ransom for their release. As we did not attempt to contact these people, we cannot confirm the cost, however, in most cases criminals of this kind demand $500-1500 in Bitcoins. Whatever their demands, they should never be trusted. Research shows that cyber criminals often ignore victims, once the ransoms are paid. There is a high probability that paying will not deliver any positive result and you will be scammed. You will also support cyber criminals' malicious businesses. For these reasons, never attempt to contact these people or pay any ransom. Unfortunately, this particular ransomware is currently undecryptable - there are no tools capable of restoring files compromised by SERVER and you can only restore files/system from a backup.

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

SERVER decrypt instructions

There are many ransomware-type viruses similar to SERVER. The list of examples includes (but is not limited to) TripleM, Cryptedx, MadBit, Tastylock, and Dangerous. Note that although these viruses are developed by different cyber criminals, they are virtually identical - all encrypt data and make ransom demands. In most cases, there are just two major differences: 1) size of ransom, and; 2) type of encryption algorithm used. Unfortunately, most employ cryptographies (RSA, AES or other) that generate unique decryption keys. Therefore, file decryption manually without involvement of developers (contacting these people is not recommended) is impossible, unless the malware is not fully developed or has certain bugs/flaws (e.g., stores the key locally, is hard-coded, or similar). Ransomware-type viruses present a strong case for maintaining regular data backups, however, note that backup files must be stored on a remote server (for instance, Cloud) or unplugged external storage, otherwise malware encrypts them as well.

How did ransomware infect my computer?

Criminals proliferate ransomware in various ways, however, the most popular five are: 1) trojans; 2) fake software update tools; 3) spam emails; 4) peer-to-peer [P2P] networks, and; 5) third party software download sources. Trojans work simply - they merely open "backdoors" for malware to infiltrate the system. Fake software updaters exploit outdated software bugs/flaws to infect the system. In some cases, spam emails contain malicious attachments (e.g., MS Office documents, JavaScript files, etc.) Once opened, these files stealthily download and install malware. P2P networks (torrents, eMule, and so on) and other unofficial download sources (free file hosting websites, freeware download websites, etc.) often present malware as legitimate software. Users are tricked into downloading/installing malware. Essentially, the main reasons for computer infections are careless behavior and lack of knowledge.

Threat Summary:
NameSERVER 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.

To eliminate SERVER virus our malware researchers recommend scanning your computer with Spyhunter.
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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?

The key to computer safety is caution. Therefore, to prevent ransomware infections, pay close attention when browsing the Internet. Never open any file received from suspicious email addresses. In fact, such emails should be deleted without reading. Furthermore, carefully observe each step of the download/installation processes and opt-out of all additionally-included programs. Keep installed applications updated and use a legitimate anti-virus/anti-spyware suite. Since criminals proliferate malware via fake updaters, do not use them - use implemented update features or at least tools provided by the official developer.

Text presented in SERVER ransomware text file ("_HELP_INSTRUCTION.TXT"):


Attention! All Your data was encrypted!

For specific informartion, please send us an email with Your ID number:

Please send email to all email addresses! We will help You as soon as possible!


DECRYPT-ID-6d54118e-f852-41c4-866b-6dd6ca13148a number

Screenshot of files encrypted by SERVER ("[32_random_characters].SERVER" filename pattern):

Files encrypted by SERVER

SERVER ransomware removal:

Instant automatic removal of SERVER 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 SERVER 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 SERVER 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 SERVER 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 SERVER 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 SERVER 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 SERVER, 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 SERVER 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 SERVER 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
SERVER 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 SERVER virus on your mobile device.
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Platform: Windows

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