Zenis Ransomware

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

Zenis ransomware removal instructions

What is Zenis?

Discovered by MalwareHunterTeam, Zenis is another ransomware-type virus that, once infiltrated, encrypts most stored files. During encryption, Zenis renames files using the "Zenis-[2_random_characters].[12_random_characters]" filename pattern. For example, "sample.jpg" might be renamed to a filename such as "Zenis-OX.4XAs5iEEpI8I". Following successful encryption, Zenis creates an HTML file ("Zenis-Instructions.html") placing a copy in every existing folder.

The new HTML file contains a message informing victims of the encryption and instructing them what to do next. To restore files, they must contact cyber criminals via an email address. It is currently unknown whether Zenis uses symmetric or asymmetric cryptography - this information is not provided, however, it is certain that decryption requires a unique key generated individually for each victim. These keys are stored on a remote server controlled by cyber criminals. Therefore, victims are encouraged to pay a ransom (after contacting criminals, users are provided with payment instructions). Victims are also encouraged to attach a single file (up to 2 MB) to an email, which criminals will decrypt and return to the victim as a 'guarantee' that decryption is possible. The cost of these keys is currently unknown, however, cyber criminals typically demand $500-$1500 in Bitcoins (or another cryptocurrency). No matter what the cost, never pay. Research shows that these people often ignore victims, once the ransoms are paid. Therefore, paying typically gives no positive result - ignore all requests to contact these people or submit payments. Unfortunately, there are no tools capable of restoring files encrypted by Zenis and you can only restore everything from a backup.

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

Zenis decrypt instructions

Zenis is virtually identical to GPGQwerty, GANDCRAB2, LockCrypt, BlackRuby, and dozens of other ransomware-type viruses. Although all are developed by different cyber criminals, these viruses have identical behavior. In most cases, ransomware-type viruses have just two major differences: 1) size of ransom, and; 2) type of encryption algorithm used. Unfortunately, most ransomware uses algorithms that generate unique decryption keys (e.g., RSA, AES, and so on). Therefore, unless the malware is not fully developed or has certain bugs/flaws (e.g., the key is stored locally, it is hard-coded or similar), file decryption manually (without developers' help) is mostly impossible. Ransomware-type viruses present a strong case for maintaining regular data backups, however, note that backups can be encrypted just as any other file. Therefore, it is very important to store backups on an unplugged external storage device or remote server (e.g., Cloud).

How did ransomware infect my computer?

Ransomware-type viruses are distributed in various ways, however, the most common five are: 1) spam emails [infectious attachments]; 2) peer-to-peer [P2P] networks; 3) third party software download sources; 4) fake software update tools, and; 5) trojans. Malicious attachments typically come in the format of JavaScript files or MS Office documents. When opened, they execute scripts that stealthily download and install malware. P2P networks (eMule, torrents, etc.) and other unofficial download sources (free file hosting website, freeware download websites, etc.) present malicious executables as legitimate software. In this way, criminals trick users into downloading and installing malware. Fake software updaters infect the system by exploiting outdated software bugs/flaws or installing malware rather than software updates. Trojans are the simplest ones - they open "backdoors" for other high-risk malware to infiltrate the system. Ultimately, the main reasons for computer infections are poor knowledge and careless behavior.

How to protect yourself from ransomware infections?

The key to computer safety is caution. Therefore, to prevent ransomware infections, be very cautious when browsing the Internet. Immediately delete emails received from suspicious addresses and certainly do not open files attached to these emails. Furthermore, download your software from official sources only, using direct download links. Third party downloaders/installers are likely to include rogue programs, and thus these tools should not be used. Keeping installed applications up-to-date and using a legitimate anti-virus/anti-spyware suite is also paramount, however, note that malware is often distributed using fake updaters. Therefore, use implemented updated functions or at least tools provided by the official developer only.

Text presented in Zenis ransomware HTML file ("Zenis-Instructions.html"):

*** All your files has been encrypted ***

I am ZENIS. A mischievous boy who loves cryptography, hardware and programming. My world is full of unanswered questions and puzzles half and half, and I'm coming to discover a new world. A world in digital space that you are supposed to play the role of my toys.

If you want to win in this game, you have to listen carefully to my instructions, otherwise you will be caught up in a one-step game and you will become the main loser of the story.

My instructions are simple and clear. Then follow these steps:

1. Send this file (Zenis-Instructions.html) to my email with one your encrypted file less than 2 MB to trust to the game.
2. I decrypt your file for free and send for you.
3. If you confirm the correctness of the files, verify that the files are correct via email
4. Then receive the price of decrypting files
5. After you have deposited, please send me the payment details
6. After i confirm deposit, i send you the "Zenis Decryptor" along with "Private Key" to recovery all your files.
Now you can finish the game. You won the game. congratulations.

Please submit your request to both emails:

If you did not receive an email after six hours, submit your request to the following emails:
TheZenis@Mail2Tor.com (On the TOR network)

Warning: 3rd party and public programs, It may cause irreversible damage to your files. And your files will be lost forever.

Screenshot of files encrypted by Zenis ("Zenis-[2_random_characters].[12_random_characters]" filename pattern):

Files encrypted by Zenis

Zenis ransomware removal:

Instant automatic removal of Zenis 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 Zenis 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 Zenis 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 Zenis 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 Zenis 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 Zenis 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 Zenis, 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 Zenis 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 Zenis ransomware: