Embrace Ransomware

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

Embrace ransomware removal instructions

What is Embrace?

Discovered by Jakub Kroustek, Embrace is an updated variant of a ransomware-type virus called Everbe. Once infiltrated, Embrace encrypts most stored files and adds the ".[embrace@airmail.cc].embrace" appendix to the name of each compromised file. For instance, "sample.jpg" is renamed to "sample.jpg.[embrace@airmail.cc].embrace". Encrypted data immediately becomes unusable. Once encryption is complete, Embrace generates a text file ("!=How_recover_files=!.txt") and places a copy in every existing folder.

As with most ransomware, Embrace's text file contains a short message encouraging users to contact developers if they with to restore their data. There is no additional information provided and, thus, it is currently unknown whether Embrace uses symmetric or asymmetric cryptography. In any case, decryption requires a unique key generated individually for each victim. Unfortunately, cyber criminals store these keys on a remote server and, when victims make contact, are encouraged to pay a ransom for their release. The cost is also unconfirmed - these details are provided via email, however, in most cases criminals demand $500-1500 in a type of cryptocurrency (typically, Bitcoins). No matter what the cost, do not pay. Research shows that ransomware developers often ignore victims, once payments are submitted. Paying typically gives no positive result and users are scammed. Unfortunately, there are no tools capable of cracking Embrace encryption and restoring compromised data free of charge. Therefore, you can only try to restore your files/system from a backup.

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

Embrace decrypt instructions

Embrace is virtually identical to Dont_Worry, JosepCrypt, PGPSnippet, Mr.Dec, and many other ransomware-type viruses. Although these viruses are developed by different cyber criminals, their behavior is identical - all encrypt data and make ransom demands. There are typically just two major differences: 1) type of encryption algorithm used, and; 2) size of ransom. Unfortunately, most of these viruses employ algorithms that generate unique decryption keys (e.g., RSA, AES, and similar). Therefore, unless the virus is not fully developed or has certain bugs/flaws (e.g., the key is stored locally, it is hard-coded 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, however, remember that backups must be stored on a remote server (e.g., Cloud) or unplugged storage device (e.g., external hard drive, Flash drive or similar), otherwise they will be encrypted together 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 [infectious attachments]; 2) peer-to-peer [P2P] networks [eMule, torrents, and other]; 3) unofficial software download sources [freeware download websites, free file hosting sites, etc.]; 4) fake software update tools, and; 5) trojans. Malicious attachments are usually delivered in the format of JavaScript files or MS Office documents. Once opened, these files execute scripts that stealthily download and install malware. P2P networks and other third party download sources present malicious executables as legitimate software. In this way, users are tricked into downloading and installing malware. Fake update tools infect the system by exploiting outdated software bugs/flaws or simply downloading and installing viruses rather than updates. Trojans are probably the simplest of all - they merely open "backdoors" for other viruses to infiltrate the system. In summary, the main reasons for computer infections are poor knowledge and careless behavior.

Threat Summary:
NameEmbrace 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 Embrace virus our malware 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 key to computer safety is caution. Therefore, to prevent ransomware infections, be very cautious when browsing the Internet. Never open email attachments that seem irrelevant or have been received from suspicious/unrecognizable email addresses. These emails should be deleted immediately, without reading. You are advised to download software from official sources only (via direct download links) rather than using third party downloaders/installers. These tools usually include third party programs, and thus should never be used. The same applies to software updates. Installed applications must be kept up-to-date. To achieve this, however, use implemented update functions or tools provided by the official developer only. Having a reputable anti-virus/anti-spyware suite installed and running is also paramount.

Text presented in Embrace ransomware text file :

Hi!
If you want restore your files wrote on email - embrace@airmail.cc
In the subject write - id -

Do not try to recover data, it's waiting you time.
Every 7 days the price doubles.

Screenshot of files encrypted by Embrace (".[embrace@airmail.cc].embrace" extension):

Files encrypted by Embrace

Embrace ransomware removal:

Instant automatic removal of Embrace 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 Embrace 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 Embrace 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 Embrace 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 Embrace 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 Embrace 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 Embrace, 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 Embrace 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 Embrace ransomware: