Leen Ransomware

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

Leen ransomware removal instructions

What is Leen?

First discovered by malware security researcher, Michael Gillespie, Leen is a ransomware-type virus that originates from the Scarab malware family. Once infiltrated, Leen encrypts most stored files and adds the ".leen" extension to the name of each encrypted file (e.g., "sample.jpg" is renamed to "sample.jpg.leen"). Following successful encryption, Leen generates a text file (".leen") and places a copy in every existing folder.

As usual, the new text file contains a message stating that data is encrypted and that the victim must purchase a decryption key to restore it. No additional details are provided. Therefore, it is currently unknown whether Leen uses symmetric or asymmetric cryptography. In any case, a unique decryption key (generated individually for each victim) is necessary to restore data. All keys are stored on a remote server controlled by cyber criminals and users are encouraged to pay a ransom for their release. The cost is not specified, but supposedly depends on how quickly the victim decides to contact Leen's developers. Note, however, that in most cases, criminals demand $500-1500 in Bitcoins or another cryptocurrency. Leen's victims are also permitted to attach up to three selected files (up to 10Mb, non-archived). These files are then restored and returned to the victim as a 'guarantee' that data can be restored. In fact, cyber criminals can never be trusted. Research shows that these people often ignore victims, once payments are submitted. Therefore, paying typically gives no positive result and users are simply scammed. Ignore all requests to contact or submit payment to these people. Unfortunately, there are no tools capable of cracking Leen'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:

Leen decrypt instructions

Leen is virtually identical to DBGer, Gw3w, Excuses, BI_D, and dozens of other ransomware-type viruses. All encrypt data and make ransom demands. There are typically only two major differences: 1) size of ransom and; 2) type of encryption algorithm. Unfortunately, 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 data 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, it is very important to store them on a remote server (e.g., Cloud) or unplugged storage device (such as Flash drive, external hard drive or similar). If not, backups are encrypted together with regular data.

How did ransomware infect my computer?

To proliferate ransomware such as Leen, developers typically use spam emails (malicious attachments), peer-to-peer (P2P) networks (torrents, eMule, and so on), unofficial software download sources (free file hosting websites, freeware download websites, etc.), fake software update tools, and 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. P2P networks and other third party download sources present malware as legitimate software. Therefore, users are often tricked into downloading and installing viruses. Trojans are probably the simplest of all - most open "backdoors" for other viruses to infiltrate the system.

How to protect yourself from ransomware infections?

Be aware that the main reasons for computer infections are poor knowledge and careless behavior. The key to safety is caution. Therefore, pay close attention when browsing the Internet and downloading/installing/updating software. Analyze received email attachments. If files seem irrelevant or have been received from a suspicious/unrecognizable email address, delete the email immediately and certainly do not open any file. Avoid using third party download/installation tools, since they often include rogue software. Download your apps from official sources only, using direct download links. The same applies to software updates. Installed software should be kept up-to-date 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.

Text presented in Leen ransomware text file :

Your files are now encrypted!

Your personal identifier: -

All your files have been encrypted due to a security problem with your PC.

Now you should send us email with your personal identifier.
This email will be as confirmation you are ready to pay for decryption key.
You have to pay for decryption in Bitcoins. The price depends on how fast you write to us.
After payment we will send you the decryption tool that will decrypt all your files.

Contact us using this email address: mr.leen@protonmail.com

Free decryption as guarantee!
Before paying you can send us up to 3 files for free decryption.
The total size of files must be less than 10Mb (non archived), and files should not contain
valuable information (databases, backups, large excel sheets, etc.).

How to obtain Bitcoins?
* The easiest way to buy bitcoins is LocalBitcoins site. You have to register, click
'Buy bitcoins', and select the seller by payment method and price:
hxxps://localbitcoins.com/buy_bitcoins
* Also you can find other places to buy Bitcoins and beginners guide here:
hxxp://www.coindesk.com/information/how-can-i-buy-bitcoins

Attention!
* Do not rename encrypted files.
* Do not try to decrypt your data using third party software, it may cause permanent data loss.
* Decryption of your files with the help of third parties may cause increased price
(they add their fee to our) or you can become a victim of a scam.

Screenshot of files encrypted by Leen (".leen" extension):

Files encrypted by Leen

Leen ransomware removal:

Instant automatic removal of leen 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 leen 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 Leen 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 Leen 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 Leen 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 Leen 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 Leen, 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 Leen 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 Leen ransomware: