Vurten Ransomware

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

Vurten ransomware removal instructions

What is Vurten?

Vurten is another ransomware-type virus discovered by malware security researcher, S!Ri. Once infiltrated, Vurten encrypts most stored files and appends filenames with the ".improved" extension (e.g., "sample.jpg" is renamed to "sample.jpg.improved"). Encrypted files become unusable. Immediately after encryption, Vurten generates a text file ("UNCRYPT.README.txt") and places it on the desktop.

The new text file contains a message informing victims of the current situation and instructing them what to do next. The message simply states that files are encrypted and that the victim must pay a ransom in exchange for decryption. It is currently not confirmed whether Vurten uses symmetric or asymmetric cryptography, however, decryption will require a unique key generated individually for each victim. Unfortunately, cyber criminals store all keys on a remote server and victims are encouraged to purchase them for a cost of $10000 each (in the Bitcoin cryptocurrency). As compared to other ransomware-type viruses, this cost is extremely high - costs typically fluctuate between $500 and $1500 (since regular users are not likely to pay many thousands of dollars for files such as family pictures, etc.) No matter what the cost, do not pay. Research shows that criminals often ignore victims, once payments are submitted. Paying gives no positive result and you will be scammed. Never attempt to contact these people or pay any ransom. Unfortunately, there are no tools capable of restoring files encrypted by Vurten and you can only restore everything from a backup.

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

Vurten decrypt instructions

There are dozens of ransomware-type viruses similar to Vurten including ScorpionLocker, My Decryptor, GANDCRAB V2.0, MOLE66, and many others. Although these viruses are developed by different cyber criminals, their behavior is identical - all encrypt data and make ransom demands. Research shows that these viruses often have just two major differences: 1) size of ransom, and; 2) type of cryptography used - most use algorithms [e.g., RSA, AES, and so on] that generate unique decryption keys. Therefore, unless the malware is still in development or has certain bugs/flaws (for instance, the key is hardcoded, stored locally or similar), restoring files without involvement of developers (contacting these people is not recommended) is impossible. Ransomware-type viruses are one of the main reasons why you should keep regular data backups, however, store backup files on a remote server (e.g., Cloud) or an unplugged external storage device, otherwise they will be encrypted together with regular data.

How did ransomware infect my computer?

To proliferate ransomware, developers typically employ spam emails (infectious attachments), peer-to-peer (P2P) networks [eMule, torrents, and so on], unofficial software download sources (free file hosting websites, freeware download websites, etc.), fake software updaters, and trojans. Malicious attachments are usually delivered in the format of JavaScript files or MS Office documents. Once opened, these attachments execute scripts that stealthily download and install malware. P2P networks and other third party download sources proliferate malware by presenting it as legitimate software. Users are tricked into downloading and installing viruses. Fake update tools install ransomware by exploiting outdated software bugs/flaws or simply downloading and installing it rather than updates. Trojans are the simplest of all. In most cases, they open backdoors for other high-risk viruses to infiltrate the system.

Threat Summary:
NameVurten 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.
Removal

To eliminate Vurten virus our malware researchers recommend scanning your computer with Spyhunter.
▼ Download Spyhunter
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 main reasons for computer infections are poor knowledge and careless behavior - the key to safety is caution. Therefore, be cautious when browsing the Internet. Think twice before opening email attachments. If files look irrelevant or have been sent from a suspicious/unrecognizable email addresses, never open them and delete the email immediately. Furthermore, download your applications from official sources only, using direct download links. Third party downloaders/installers often include rogue apps and, therefore, these tools should not be used. Keep installed applications updated and use a legitimate anti-virus/anti-spyware suite, but since criminals proliferate malware using fake updaters, your apps should be renewed using implemented functions or tools provided by the official developer only.

Text presented in Vurten ransomware text file ("UNCRYPT.README.txt"):

Your entire network sensitive data was encrypted with our strong algorithm.
To recover your data send $10000 to the bitcoin address: 1Ln9RxSRuDqqFhCTuqBPBKRMeyhVhRaUG4
If you fo not send money within 7 days, payment will be increased double.
After payment you will receive decryption software.
Contact email: vurten_knyert@protonmail.com

Screenshot of files encrypted by Vurten (".improved" extension):

Files encrypted by Vurten

Vurten ransomware removal:

Instant automatic removal of Vurten 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 Vurten 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 Vurten 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 Vurten 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 Vurten 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 Vurten 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 Vurten, 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 Vurten 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 Vurten ransomware: