LOCKME Ransomware

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

LOCKME ransomware removal instructions

What is LOCKME?

LOCKME is a ransomware-type virus discovered by Michael Gillespie. Immediately after infiltration, LOCKME encrypts most stored files and appends filenames with the ".lockme" extension (e.g., "sample.jpg" becomes "sample.jpg.lockme"). Henceforth, using files become impossible. Once the files are encrypted, LOCKME generates a text file ("README_FOR_DECRYPT_YOUR_FILES.txt") and places a copy in every existing folder.

The text file contains detailed information regarding the current situation and options for decryption. Note is that everything is translated into 54 languages (e.g., Russian, French, German, etc.) To restore files, victims are encouraged to pay a ransom of .03 Bitcoin (currently equivalent to ~$230). It is currently unknown whether LOCKME uses symmetric or asymmetric cryptography (this information is not provided), however, decryption requires a unique key. These keys are hidden on a remote server controlled by cyber criminals (LOCKME's developers). Therefore, victims are forced to submit payments in exchange for the keys. Furthermore, cyber criminals often ignore victims, once the ransoms are paid. Therefore, paying typically gives no positive results and users are scammed. In addition, they inadvertently support cyber criminals' malicious businesses. For these reasons, we strongly advise you to ignore all requests to contact these people or pay any ransom. Unfortunately, there are no tools capable of decryption (free of charge) for files compromised by LOCKME. Therefore, you can only restore files/system from a backup.

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

LOCKME decrypt instructions

LOCKME is identical to dozens of other ransomware-type viruses, such as (for example) MindLost, InsaneCrypt, GHOST ARMY, Velso, and Krypton. Note that these viruses are developed by different cyber criminals. Despite this, all have identical behavior - they encrypt data and make ransom demands. These viruses typically have just two major differences: 1) size of ransom, and; 2) type of cryptography used. Unfortunately, most employ algorithms that generate unique decryption keys (for instance, RSA, AES, and so on). In these cases, file decryption manually without involvement of developers (contacting these people is not recommended) is impossible, unless the viruses have certain bugs/flaws (e.g., the key is stored locally, hard-coded, or similar) or are not fully developed. Ransomware-type viruses present a strong case for maintaining regular data backups. Be aware, however, that backup files must be stored on unplugged external storage or a remote server (such as Cloud), otherwise they will be encrypted as with any other regular file.

How did ransomware infect my computer?

Cyber criminals proliferate ransomware in various ways. The most popular five are: 1) trojans; 2) fake software update tools; 3) spam emails; 4) unofficial software download sources, and; 5) P2P [peer-to-peer] networks. Trojans work simply - they open "gates" for malware to infiltrate the system. Fake software updaters infect the system by exploiting outdated software bugs/flaws or downloading/installing malware rather than software updates. Spam emails might contain infectious attachments (such as MS Office documents, JavaScript files, and so on). Once opened, these attachments stealthily download and install malware. Research shows that unofficial download sources (freeware download websites, free file hosting sites, etc.) and P2P networks (torrents, eMule, etc.) proliferate ransomware by presenting it as legitimate software. Users are tricked into downloading and installing malware.

How to protect yourself from ransomware infections?

The main reasons for computer infections are poor knowledge and careless behavior. The key to safety is caution. Therefore, to prevent ransomware infections, be extremely cautious during the download/installation processes. Keep installed applications updated and use a legitimate anti-virus/anti-spyware suite, however, since criminals proliferate malware via fake updaters, we advise using implemented update features or tools provided by the developers. Your are also advised to download your applications from official sources only using direct download links, since third party downloaders/installers are used to proliferate rogue programs. Never open files sent from suspicious email addresses. These emails should be deleted without reading.

English segment of text presented in LOCKME ransomware text file ("README_FOR_DECRYPT_YOUR_FILES.txt"):


All of your files have been Encrypted with military grade system and impossible to brute force, cracking, or reverse engineering it !
If you want all of your files back send me 0.03 BTC .

[+] Your Unique ID : [-]
[+] Send BTC To This Address : 1LockMeEPLr4ZRsoht8Wp6idBsT5TuBXtX
[+] Send BTC : 0.03 BTC
[+] Contact Email : LockMecQqL3Ruyi7V0RfZ@tutamail.com | LockMe9hG1F7pbWqThUt9P8@mailfence.com

*) Don't try change the '.lockme' extensions , if you change it , your all files can be broken and can't be restored forever .
*) If you've made a payment contact LockMecQqL3Ruyi7V0RfZ@tutamail.com | LockMe9hG1F7pbWqThUt9P8@mailfence.com .
*) If you not made a payment all of your private files will be leaked on internet (private photos, documents, videos, and more) .

Question : How to buy Bitcoin ?
Answer : You can buy Bitcoin at this Website : bitcoin.com , coinbase.com , cex.io , paxful.com , coinmama.com , etc .

Screenshot of files encrypted by LOCKME (".lockme" extension):

Files encrypted by LOCKME

LOCKME ransomware removal:

Instant automatic removal of LOCKME 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 LOCKME 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 LOCKME 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 LOCKME 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 LOCKME 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 LOCKME 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 LOCKME, 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 LOCKME ransomware.

Note that Windows 10 Fall Creators Update includes "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 LOCKME ransomware: