Donut Ransomware

Also Known As: Donut virus
Distribution: Moderate
Damage level: Severe

Donut ransomware removal instructions

What is Donut?

Discovered by malware security researcher, S!Ri, Donut is a ransomware-type virus designed to stealthily infiltrate the system and encrypt most stored files. In doing so, Donut adds the ".donut" extension to the name of each encrypted file. For example, "sample.jpg" is renamed to "sample.jpg.donut". Compromised data immediately becomes unusable. After successfully encrypting data, Donut changes the desktop wallpaper, opens a pop-up window, and generates a text file ("decrypt.txt"), placing a copy in every existing folder.

The desktop wallpaper, pop-up window, and text file contain an identical ransom-demand message. As usual, the message states that files are encrypted and that the victim must purchase a decryption tool to restore them. It is currently unknown whether Donut uses symmetric or asymmetric cryptography - this information is not provided, however, decryption certainly requires a unique key generated individually for each victim. Developers hide all keys on a remote server. Therefore, victims are encouraged to pay a ransom in exchange for a 'decryption tool' with the key embedded within. The cost is $100 and must be paid using the Bitcoin cryptocurrency. Despite these threats and demands, cyber criminals can never be trusted. Research shows that they often ignore victims, once payments are submitted. Therefore, paying typically gives no positive result and victims are scammed. Therefore, you are strongly advised to ignore all requests to submit payments or contact these people. Unfortunately, there are no tools capable of cracking Donut's encryption and restoring data 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:

Donut decrypt instructions

Donut is virtually identical to RedEye, BI_D, CRYBrazil, Pedcont, and dozens of other ransomware-type viruses. Note that, although these viruses are developed by different cyber criminals, their behavior is identical - all encrypt data and make ransom demands. These viruses typically have just two major differences: 1) size of ransom, and; 2) type of encryption algorithm used. Unfortunately, most employ algorithms that generate unique decryption keys (e.g., RSA, AES, and similar). Therefore, unless the malware is not fully developed or has certain flaws/bugs (the key is stored locally, hard-coded or similar), restoring data manually without involvement of developers (contacting these people is not recommended) is impossible. Ransomware presents a strong case for maintaining regular data backups, however, store them on a remote server (e.g., Cloud) or an unplugged storage device (Flash drive, external hard drive or similar), otherwise backups are encrypted together with regular data.

How did ransomware infect my computer?

To proliferate ransomware, developers typically use spam emails (malicious attachments), third party software download sources (freeware download websites, free file hosting sites, peer-to-peer [P2P] networks, etc.), fake software updaters, and trojans. Malicious attachments typically come in the format of JavaScript files or MS Office documents. Once opened, they execute scripts designed to download and install malware. Unofficial download sources proliferate malicious executables by presenting them as legitimate software. Users are tricked into downloading and installing malware. Fake updaters infect the system by exploiting outdated software bugs/flaws or simply downloading and installing malware rather than updates. Trojans are probably the simplest of all - most open "backdoors" for other viruses 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, pay close attention when browsing the Internet and downloading/installing/updating software. Think twice before opening email attachments. If the file seems irrelevant or has been received from a suspicious/unrecognizable email address, do not open it and delete the email immediately. Download your applications from official sources only, using direct download links. Third party downloaders/installers often include rogue apps, and thus should never be used. The same applies to software updating. Keep installed applications up-to-date, however, this should be achieved using implemented functions or tools provided by the official developer only. Having a legitimate anti-virus/anti-spyware suite installed and running is also paramount.

The appearance of Donut ransomware pop-up (GIF):

Donut pop-up gif

Screenshot of Donut pop-up window:

Donut pop-up window

Screenshot of Donut desktop wallpaper:

Donut wallpaper

Text presented in Donut ransomware pop-up window, wallpaper, and text file ("decrypt.txt"):

Hi.
All your files have been ENCRYPTED by DONUT Ransomware.
Do you want to restore your files?
Your should buy DonutDecryptor.
Current Price $100.
For payment your need cryptocurrency BitCoin.
Write to our email - donutmmm @tutanota.com
and tell us your unique ID and BitCoin transaction.
Your Uniq ID is: v0I7l8WfkDzaCz2rW3bJt6TbMqNZDpKz
BitCoin wallet is: 1MVB7wbeF1yLGRCUmVdgiDWMD7yRspJX8C

Screenshot of files encrypted by Donut (".donut" extension):

Files encrypted by Donut

Donut ransomware removal:

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 Donut 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.


Download recommended remover for
Donut virus

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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 Reimage.

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 Donut 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 Donut 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 Donut 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 Donut, 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 Donut 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 Donut ransomware: