Qnbqw Ransomware

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

Qnbqw ransomware removal instructions

What is Qnbqw?

Qnbqw is a ransomware-type virus recently discovered by Michael Gillespie. Once infiltrated, the virus encrypts most stored files using AES-256 cryptography and appends filenames with the ".qnbqw" extension. For instance, "sample.jpg" is renamed to "sample.jpg.qnbqw". Immediately after encryption, data becomes unusable and Qnbqw generates a text file ("Notice.txt"), placing a copy in every existing folder.

The new text file informs victims of the encryption and encourages them to immediately contact Qnbqw's developers via an email address provided. Victims then supposedly receive file decryption instructions together with the key. As mentioned above, Qnbqw uses AES-256 - a symmetric encryption algorithm that uses an identical key (generated individually for each victim) to encrypt and decrypt data. All keys are stored on a remote server controlled by Qnbqw's developers. Therefore, after contacting these people, victims are asked to pay a ransom in exchange for their keys. The cost is not specified (as mentioned above, criminals provide all information via email), however, in most cases, it fluctuates between $500 and $1500. Note that paying typically gives no positive result. Research shows that cyber criminals often ignore victims, once payments are submitted. Users are simply scammed. Therefore, we advise you to ignore all requests to contact these people or pay any ransom. There are currently no tools capable of cracking Qnbqw 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:

Qnbqw decrypt instructions

Qnbqw is a regular ransomware and thus shares many similarities with Gw3w, RedEye, CRYBrazil, and dozens of others. Note that all of these viruses are developed by different cyber criminals, and yet their behavior is identical - all encrypt data and make ransom demands. The only major differences are size of ransom and type of encryption algorithm used. Unfortunately, these viruses often use algorithms designed to generate unique decryption keys. Therefore, unless the malware is not fully developed or has certain bugs/flaws (i.e., 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 presents a strong case for maintaining regular data backups, however, it is very important to store them on an unplugged storage device (e.g., Flash drive, hard drive, etc.) or remote server (such as Cloud), otherwise backups are encrypted together with regular data.

How did ransomware infect my computer?

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

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, 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 email address - do not open it and delete the email immediately. You should never use third party download/installation tools, since developers monetize them by promoting rogue software. Your apps should be downloaded from official sources only, using direct download links. The same applies to updating software. Keep installed applications up-to-date using implemented 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 Qnbqw ransomware text file :

Your files was encrypted using AES-256 algorithm. Write me to e-mail: qnbqwqe@protonmail.com to get your decryption key.
Your USERKEY: -

Screenshot of files encrypted by Qnbqw (".qnbqw" extension):

Files encrypted by Qnbqw

Qnbqw ransomware removal:

Instant automatic removal of Qnbqw virus: Manual threat removal might be a lengthy and complicated process that requires advanced computer skills. Reimage Repair is a professional automatic malware removal tool that is recommended to get rid of Qnbqw virus. Download it by clicking the button below:
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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 Qnbqw 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 Qnbqw 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 Qnbqw 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 Qnbqw 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 Qnbqw, 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 Qnbqw 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 Qnbqw ransomware: