Vanss Ransomware

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

Vanss ransomware removal instructions

What is Vanss?

Vanss (a variant of Dharma) is a high-risk virus, categorized as ransomware. This particular virus was discovered by Jakub Kroustek. Like many other viruses of this type, it infects systems and encrypts most stored data. It is not known whether Vanss developers use symmetric or asymmetric cryptography, however, once files are encrypted, they become unusable. Vanss also adds the ".vanss" appendix to the name of each encrypted file. For example, "sample.jpg", is renamed to "sample.jpg.vanss" after encryption. The same applies to all encrypted files. It also places the "Info.hta" and "FILES ENCRYPTED.txt" files on the desktop.

The "FILES ENCRYPTED.txt" text file contains a note from cyber criminals (Vanss developers) stating that all data has been locked (encrypted), and if you wish to retrieve your files, you are encouraged to send an email to the blacklist@cock.li email address. This ransomware also displays a pop-up window that contains more information. As explained in this pop-up, files have been encrypted due to 'security problems' with your computer. If you want to retrieve encrypted files, you need to pay in Bitcoins. According to cyber criminals, once the ransom is paid, they will send a decryption tool that is able to decrypt the files. They also offer free decryption of one file (no larger than 1MB) as 'proof' that they can be trusted. They urge you not to try to decrypt files using the help of any third parties, since this might cause permanent data loss, or the cost of decryption might be increased. Note that cyber criminals should never be trusted, even if they decrypt one file free of charge. Generally, cyber criminals ignore victims. Thus, even if you meet their demands, they will not decrypt your files or release a decryption key/tool. Unfortunately, there are no tools capable of decrypting your files free of charge and you can only restore everything from a backup.

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

Vanss decrypt instructions

Vanss ransomware is very similar to other ransomware-type viruses such as Betta, SOLO, Charm, and many more. They are usually developed by different cyber criminals, but serve an identical purpose: to encrypt files and make ransom demands. The most common differences are the size of ransom and encryption algorithm used. In any case, the cryptographies are used to generate a unique decryption key. Unfortunately, manual decryption is impossible, unless the virus is not fully developed or has certain bugs/flaws (e.g., the key is hard-coded, stored locally, or similar). Therefore, we recommend that you maintain regular backups and store them on a remote server or unplugged storage device, otherwise cyber criminals might encrypt these backups with regular data.

How did ransomware infect my computer?

The method used to distribute the Vanss ransomware is unknown, however, this is commonly achieved using spam campaigns, fake software updaters and untrustworthy software download sources, and trojans. Typically, spam campaigns contain malicious attachments, usually Microsoft Office documents (.doc, .xls, and other formats) that, once opened, download and install malware. Fake software updaters usually infect systems by exploiting flaws/bugs of outdated software. Rather than providing updates, they download and install malware. Unofficial download sources are often used to promote malicious software. Examples of dubious sources are torrents, P2P (peer-to-peer) networks, free file hosting websites, freeware download websites, and so on. Trojans are viruses that cause chain infections - they proliferate other malware.

Threat Summary:
NameVanss 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 Vanss virus our malware researchers recommend scanning your computer with Spyhunter.
▼ Download Spyhunter
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?

Do not open attachments included in emails that are sent from unknown or suspicious addresses. Use official and trustworthy sources/channels to download software, and not third party tools/software (they are often monetized by promoting rogue applications). Keep your operating system and software updated using tools (or implemented functions) that are provided by official developers. Having a reputable anti-virus and/or anti-spyware software installed is also very important. If your computer is already infected with Vanss, we recommend running a scan with Spyhunter for Windows to automatically eliminate this ransomware.

Text presented in Vanss ransomware "FILES ENCRYPTED.txt" text file:

all your data has been locked us
You want to return?
write email Blacklist@cock.li

Text presented in Vanss ransomware "All your files have been encrypted!" pop-up window:

All your files have been encrypted!
All your files have been encrypted due to a security problem with your PC. If you want to restore them, write us to the e-mail Blacklist@cock.li
Write this ID in the title of your message 1E857D00
In case of no answer in 24 hours write us to theese e-mails:Blacklist@cock.li
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.
Free decryption as guarantee
Before paying you can send us up to 1 file for free decryption. The total size of files must be less than 1Mb (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.
https://localbitcoins.com/buy_bitcoins
Also you can find other places to buy Bitcoins and beginners guide here:
http://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 Vanss ransomware "All your files have been encrypted!" pop-up window:

vanss-popup 

Screenshot of files encrypted by Vanss (".vanss" extension):

Files encrypted by Vanss

Vanss ransomware removal:

Instant automatic removal of Vanss 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 Vanss 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 Vanss 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 Vanss 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 Vanss 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 Vanss 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 Vanss, 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 Vanss 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 Vanss ransomware: