AUDIT Ransomware

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

AUDIT ransomware removal instructions

What is AUDIT?

Discovered by Jakub Kroustek, AUDIT is a high-risk virus that belongs to the CrySiS ransomware family. Once a system is infected, this virus encrypts files and adds an ".AUDIT" extension (that contains an ID and email address) to each encrypted file. For example, "1.jpg", might be renamed to "1.jpg.id-1E857D00.[payransom@qq.com].AUDIT" by AUDIT after encryption. It also creates a ransom-demand "FILES ENCRYPTED.txt" text file and displays a pop-up window.

The "FILES ENCRYPTED.txt" file contains an email address (payransom@qq.com) that AUDIT victims are encouraged to use to begin the decryption procedure. The pop-up window states that all files have been encrypted due to a 'security problem' with the PC. It contains a unique ID number that should be used when contacting AUDIT developers - this enables them to identify the victim. The size of a ransom is not mentioned, however, as stated in the pop-up window, this depends on how quickly users get in touch with the cyber criminals. The ransom must be paid in Bitcoins. AUDIT developers offer free decryption of one file as a 'guarantee' that they can be trusted, however, the remaining files are decrypted only when the ransom is paid. They also urge victims not to attempt to decrypt files using third party software. According to the criminals, such actions might lead to permanent data loss or increased decryption cost. Despite these threats and demands, cyber criminals should not be trusted, since they often ignore victims even if the ransom is paid with the required cryptocurrency (or other currency). It is not known whether AUDIT developers use a symmetric or asymmetric cryptography algorithm to encrypt files. In any case, there are currently no tools capable of restoring AUDIT encrypted files free of charge. The only way to retrieve locked files is to use an existing backup and restore them from there.

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

AUDIT decrypt instructions

Many ransomware-type viruses have similar behavior. Some examples are Supportfiless24, Ox4444, and Dharma-tron. Generally, these viruses serve an identical purpose: to encrypt files and demand a ransom payment for their release. Common differences between ransomware-type viruses are cost of decryption and cryptography algorithm used for file encryption. Ransomware viruses can be impossible (or difficult) to crack. It is virtually impossible to decrypt files manually and free of charge, unless the virus is still in development, or contains bugs or flaws that are not fixed. Since there are many ransomware-type viruses available, we recommend that you maintain regular backups and store them on an unplugged storage device or remote server.

How did ransomware infect my computer?

It is difficult to determine which method cyber criminals use to proliferate the AUDIT virus, however, there are some common ways. Typically, cyber criminals use spam email campaigns, trojans, third party software download sources and fake software updaters. Spam campaigns are used to proliferate malware (or other viruses) by sending out emails that contain malicious attachments. Generally, cyber criminals behind these emails claim to be legitimate companies, individual employees, and so on. The purpose of these emails is to trick people into opening attachments - usually executable files, PDF files, archive files (like RAR), Microsoft Office documents, etc. Once opened, these attachments infect computers with viruses. Trojans are viruses that cause chain infections. Therefore, if a trojan has infected a computer, it will proliferate other viruses. Torrents, free file hosting websites, freeware download websites, eMule, P2P (peer-to-peer) networks and other third party software download sources often present malicious executables as legitimate files. Cyber criminals use these sources to trick people into downloading and installing malware. Fake software updaters are also used to proliferate viruses - these infect systems by downloading malware rather than updates or by exploiting outdated software bugs/flaws.

Threat Summary:
NameAUDIT 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 AUDIT 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?

Be very cautious when browsing the internet and downloading, installing, and updating software. Take precautions when opening attachments/links presented in emails. If the email is irrelevant or the sender seems suspicious, do not open these links or attachments. Download software from official sources, using a direct download links only. Bear in mind that third party downloaders/installers often include rogue applications, and thus these tools should not be used. Keep installed programs and operating system updated, however, use implemented functions or tools provided by the official developer only. Finally, have a reputable anti-virus/anti-spyware suite installed and running - these tools can detect malware before it does any damage. If your computer is already infected with AUDIT, we recommend running a scan with Spyhunter for Windows to automatically eliminate this ransomware.

Text presented in AUDIT ransomware 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 payransom@qq.com
Write this ID in the title of your message 1E857D00
In case of no answer in 24 hours write us to theese e-mails:payransom@qq.com
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 AUDIT text file:

AUDIT text file

Text presented in AUDIT text file ("FILES ENCRYPTED.txt"):

all your data has been locked us
You want to return?
write email payransom@qq.com

 Screenshot of files encrypted by AUDIT (".AUDIT" extension):

Files encrypted by AUDIT

AUDIT ransomware removal:

Instant automatic removal of AUDIT 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 AUDIT 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 AUDIT 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 AUDIT 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 AUDIT 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 AUDIT 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 AUDIT, 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 AUDIT 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 AUDIT ransomware:

The "FILES ENCRYPTED.txt" file contains an email address (payransom@qq.com) that AUDIT victims should use to begin a decryption procedure. As stated in the pop-up window cyber criminals who designed the AUDIT ransomware have encrypted all it's victims files due to some security problem with the PC. It contains a unique ID number that should be used when contacting AUDIT developers in order for them to be able to identify the victim. The size of a ransom is not mentioned, however, as stated in the pop-up window, it depends on how fast user gets in touch with the cyber criminals and it must be paid in Bitcoins. AUDIT developers offer their victims a free decryption of one file as a guarantee that they can be trusted, however, the rest of the files are decrypted only when the ransom is paid. They also urge their victims to do not try to decrypt files by , using some third party software. According to cyber criminals, such actions might lead to permanent data loss or increased cost of decryption. One way or another, cyber criminals should not be trusted, ever. most cyber criminals ignore their victims even if they pay them the required amount of cryptocurrency (or other currency). It is unknown whether AUDIT developers