Ladon Ransomware

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

Ladon ransomware removal instructions

What is Ladon?

Discovered by MalwareHunterTeam, Ladon is a ransomware-type virus designed to infiltrate systems and encrypt most stored data. During encryption, this malware adds the ".Ladon" extension to the name of each compromised file. For example, "sample.jpg" is renamed to "sample.jpg.Ladon". Encrypted files become unusable. Once encryption is complete, Ladon creates two files ("READ_ME.txt" and "READ_ME.html"), placing them on the computer desktop.

Note that Ladon checks whether a Russian language locale is installed. If so, files are not encrypted and users are prompted with a pop-up window containing a few Russian curse words. Therefore, it is safe to assume that cyber criminals are Russian and attempt to protect their compatriots. The .txt and .html files encourage users to visit Ladon's website to restore their data. The website then asks victims to pay a ransom in exchange for decryption. It is currently unknown whether Ladon uses symmetric or asymmetric cryptography. In any case, decryption requires a unique key generated individually for each victim. These keys are hidden on a remote server controlled by Ladon's developers, thus giving them a significant advantage - they are able to blackmail victims. To retrieve their keys, victims must pay a ransom of $200-$300 (depending on how quickly payment is made) in the Bitcoin cryptocurrency. Despite these threats, never agree to pay. Research shows that these people often ignore victims, once payments are submitted. Paying typically gives no positive result and users are scammed. As well as losing your money, you will support cyber criminals' malicious businesses. Therefore, you are strongly advised to ignore all requests to submit payments. Unfortunately, there are currently no tools capable of restoring files encrypted by Ladon free of charge and 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:

Ladon decrypt instructions

There are dozens of ransomware-type viruses similar to Ladon. The list of examples includes (but is not limited to) Iron, RSA2048Pro, Vurten, and My Decryptor. These viruses are developed by different cyber criminals, but their behavior is identical - all encrypt files and make ransom demands. The only major differences are size of ransom and type of encryption algorithm used. Most employ algorithms that generate unique decryption keys. Therefore, unless the virus is not fully developed or has certain bugs/flaws (e.g., the key is hard-coded, stored locally or similar), restoring files manually without involvement of developers (contacting these people is not recommended) is impossible. Ransomware is one of the main reasons why you should maintain regular data backups. Remember to store backup files on a remote server or unplugged data storage device, otherwise they will be encrypted as with regular files.

How did ransomware infect my computer?

Ransomware-type viruses are proliferated in various ways, however, the most popular five are: 1) spam emails; 2) P2P [peer-to-peer] networks; 3) third party software download sources; 4) fake software updaters, and; 5) trojans. Spam emails are delivered with attachments (e.g., JavaScript files, MS Office documents, etc.) that, once opened, stealthily download and install malware. P2P networks (torrents, eMule, etc.) and other unofficial download sources (freeware download/free file hosting websites, and so on) present malware as legitimate software, thereby tricking users into downloading and installing it. Fake update tools infect the system by exploiting outdated software bugs/flaws or simply downloading and installing viruses rather than updates. Trojans are the simplest - they merely open "gates" for other malware to infiltrate the system.

How to protect yourself from ransomware infections?

Lack of knowledge and careless behavior are the main reasons for computer infections. The key to safety is caution. Therefore, pay close attention when browsing the Internet. Think twice before opening email attachments. If the file has been sent from a suspicious/unrecognizable email address and seems irrelevant, do not open it and delete the email immediately. Furthermore, download your software from official sources only (preferably, using direct download links) rather than third party downloaders/installers, since these tools are monetized by promoting rogue programs. Use a legitimate anti-virus/anti-spyware suite and keep installed applications up-to-date. Bear in mind that criminals proliferate malware using fake updaters. Therefore, you are strongly advised to use implemented update features or tools provided by the official developer only.

Text presented within Ladon ransomware website:

What happened to my files?
Your files are encrypted with strong, military-grade encryption. In order to recover them you must pay a fee. This fee is not very large and can range from 200-300$. Failure to pay the fee will result in the loss of your files. There is no deadline for when you can pay.
How can I trust you?
Your files will be recovered immediately after our service detects that you have paid. In order to allow this, please allow our program to continue running so that it can retrieve your files. We can help and provide assistance in chat to those who need it. (NOTE: We do not respond to requests to lower the fee.)
How can I pay?
We only accept a form of digital currency known as Bitcoin. There are many guides on how to buy this online. which you can find from googling. If you want to buy bitcoin using paypal, giftcard, and other forms of payment; then http://www.paxful_com is a great and easy way.
Where is my CONTACTID?
Your CONTACTID should be written on your background or located in the file: READ ME.txt which can be found on your desktop. Please retrieve it as this is necesary for payment in order to retrieve your files. This may require checking to see if your antivirus has deleted this file. If it has please recover it. Without this file, there is no hope to retriving your files. It is a good idea to store your contactid in a safe spot until your files are retrieved.
I have paid, how long will it take? Once you pay, it depends on how long it takes for the transaction to verify. This can be 1 minute - 1 day. How do I remove this program once I have retrieved my files? The program will remove itself from your computer. You are welcome to try an antivirus or any other program to confirm our claim. Is there any program or any other way to recover my files? There is no possible way to recover your files without paying us. Any attempt to use any decryptorsitools may permanently damage your files!

Pop-up displayed if Russian locale is detected on the system:

Ladon ransomware's pop-up

Screenshot of files encrypted by Ladon (".Ladon" extension):

Files encrypted by Ladon

Ladon ransomware removal:

Instant automatic removal of Ladon 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 Ladon 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 Ladon 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 Ladon 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 Ladon 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 Ladon 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 Ladon, 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 Ladon 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 Ladon ransomware: