Iron Ransomware

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

Iron ransomware removal instructions

What is Iron?

First discovered by MalwareHunterTeam, Iron is an updated version of a high-risk ransomware infection called Maktub. Iron is designed to encrypt most stored files using RSA cryptography. It also appends names of encrypted files with the ".encry" extension. Once files are encrypted, using them becomes impossible. After successful encryption, Iron opens a pop-up window and creates an HTML file ("!HELP_YOUR_FILES.HTML"), placing a copy in every existing folder. Both contain a ransom-demand message.

The message states that files are encrypted and encourages victims to visit Iron's website if they wish to restore their compromised data. Users are then encouraged to purchase a decryption key. As mentioned above, Iron uses RSA, an asymmetric encryption algorithm that generates two keys: 1) public [encryption], and; 2) private [decryption]. Cyber criminals (Iron's developers) store all private keys on a remote server. Therefore, victims must submit payments of .2 Bitcoin (currently equivalent to ~$1370) in exchange for release of their keys. The message states that the ransom must be paid within 12 hours, otherwise the key is permanently deleted and restoring files becomes impossible. Despite this, Iron's website states that the cost increases gradually every 72 hours. It is currently unknown which is correct, however, you should never agree to submit payments. Research shows that ransomware developers often ignore victims, once payments are submitted. Paying typically gives no positive result and users are scammed. Therefore, we strongly advise you to ignore all requests to pay ransoms. Unfortunately, there are currently no tools capable of cracking the RSA algorithm and restoring files encrypted by Iron free of charge. The only solution is to restore everything from a backup. 

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

Iron decrypt instructions

Iron is virtually identical to RSA2048Pro, Vurten, GANDCRAB V2.0, My Decryptor, and dozens of other ransomware-type viruses. All are developed by different cyber criminals, however, their behavior is identical - all encrypt data and make ransom demands. In most cases ransomware-type viruses have just two major differences: 1) size of ransom, and; 2) type of encryption algorithm used. Most of these viruses employ algorithms that generate unique decryption keys (e.g., RSA, AES, etc.) Therefore, unless the malware is not fully developed or has certain bugs/flaws, restoring files manually without involvement of developers (contacting these people is not recommended) is impossible. These viruses are one of the main reasons why you should maintain regular data backups, however, keep backup files stored on a remote server (e.g., Cloud) or an unplugged external storage device. If not, backups are encrypted together with regular files.

How did ransomware infect my computer?

Developers proliferate ransomware in various ways, however, the most popular are: 1) spam emails [malicious attachments]; 2) unofficial software download sources [peer-to-peer networks, free file update websites, freeware download websites, and so on]; 3) fake software updaters, and; 4) trojans. Infectious attachments typically come in the format of JavaScript files or MS Office documents. Once opened, these files execute scripts that stealthily download and install malware. Third party software download sources present malware as legitimate software. In doing so, they trick users into downloading and installing malware. Fake software updaters exploit outdated software bugs/flaws or simply download and install viruses rather than updates. Trojans are the simplest of all. They merely open backdoors for other viruses to infiltrate the system.

Threat Summary:
NameIron 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 malware infections our security 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 main reasons for computer infections are poor knowledge and careless behavior. The key to safety is caution. Therefore, be very careful when browsing the Internet. Think twice before opening email attachments. If the file seems irrelevant and has been sent from a suspicious/unrecognizable email address, do not open it - delete the email immediately. Furthermore, download software from official sources only, using direct download links. Third party downloaders/installers often include rogue apps, and thus, these tools should not be used. Keep installed applications up-to-date and use a legitimate anti-virus/anti-spyware suite, however, since criminals proliferate malware using fake updaters, software should be renewed using implemented functions or tools provided by the official developer only.

Screenshot of Iron HTML file:

Iron html file

Text presented in Iron ransomware pop-up window and HTML file ("!HELP_YOUR_FILES.HTML"):

Your personal files are encrypted!
Your documents, photos, databases and other important files have been encrypted with strongest encryption and unique key, generated for this computer. Private decryption key is stored on a secret Internet server and nobody can decrypt your files until you pay and obtain the private key. The server will eliminate the key after a time period specified in this window.
You could also send 0.2 btc and contact below.

Screenshot of Iron website:

Iron website

Text presented within this website:

We’re very sorry that all of your personal files have been encrypted :( But there are good news – they aren’t gone, you still have the opportunity to restore them! Statistically, the lifespan of a hard-drive is anywhere from 3 to 5 years. If you don’t make copies of important information, you could lose everything! Just imagine! In order to receive the program that will decrypt all of your files, you will need to pay a certain amount. But let’s start with something else…

It's easy to delete the program from your personal computer. But not one of the third party programs will be able to do the most important thing – to decrypt your files! In order to do this, you need to have the private master-key that only we have. And only we can restore all of your files.

We hope that you are convinced that we can decrypt all of your files. Now, the most important thing! The faster you transfer the money, the cheaper file decryption will be. At every stage of payment, you get 3 days or 72 hours. You can see the countdown in the right top corner. After the clock shows 00:00:00 you go to the next stage of payment and the price automatically increases. We only accept the electronic currency Bitcoin as a form of payment. Here is a table that shows the date of payment and the price. Your current stage is marked in yellow.
After 15 days of no payment, we do not guarantee that we saved the key. This site can be disconnected at any moment and you will lose your data forever.
Please take this seriously.


The whole process of payment confirmation is automated! As soon as you send the money, it will only take 1 minutes for the system to automatically count them and create the program that will decode your files.
After sending your payment just refresh this site after 1 minutes(or go to homepage input your personal ID).
You must transfer0.2 BTC to the following address: 1cimKyzS64PRNEiG89iFU3qzckVuEQuUj

Screenshot of files encrypted by Iron (".encry" extension):

Files encrypted by Iron

Iron ransomware removal:

Instant automatic malware removal: 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 malware. 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 Iron 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 Iron 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 Iron 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 Iron 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 Iron, 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 Iron 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 Iron 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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Removal Instructions in other languages
Malware activity

Global malware activity level today:

Medium threat activity

Increased attack rate of infections detected within the last 24 hours.

QR Code
Iron 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 Iron virus on your mobile device.
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