Impect Ransomware

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

Impect ransomware removal instructions

What is Impect?

Discovered by Michael Gillespie, Impect is a ransomware-type virus developed by cyber criminals who use it to encrypt users' files (rendering them unusable). Once a computer is infected, it encrypts all (or most) data and adds the ".impect" extension to each affected file. For instance, "sample.jpg", becomes "sample.jpg.impect" after encryption. Furthermore, this virus places a "how to get back you files.txt" text file in every folder that contains encrypted files and displays a pop-up window with a ransom demand message.

The "how to get back you files.txt" text file and pop-up window contain identical messages stating that all files have been encrypted (documents, photos, and other data). To use them again, users need to purchase software that will generate a decryption key. Furthermore, cyber criminals urge victims to purchase their software immediately (within six hours). The cost of this software (effectively the ransom sum) is $300 in Bitcoins. According to cyber criminals, if the ransom demands are not met within six hours, they will delete all encrypted files. It is not known whether Impect developers use a symmetric or asymmetric cryptography algorithm, however, manual and free decryption of encrypted files is impossible. Do not trust any cyber criminals - in most cases, they ignore victims even if the ransom is paid. For this reason, do not contact Impect developers. If you have a backup created prior to infection by this ransomware, we recommend that you use it to restore your files (this is the only solution).

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

Impect decrypt instructions

The number of ransomware-type viruses is growing daily. Here are some examples of other similar ransomware viruses: AUDIT, Supportfiless24, Ox4444, and Dharma-tron. Generally, most ransomware viruses are created for one purpose: to encrypt users' files and make ransom demands. The only differences are cost of decryption and algorithm used to encrypt. Frequently, ransomware viruses are impossible to crack, except perhaps in cases where a virus is not fully developed or contains bugs/flaws. To prevent data loss in the future, maintain regular backups and store them on remote servers or unplugged storage devices.

How did ransomware infect my computer?

It is not known exactly how Impect developers proliferate this virus, however, there are some commonly used methods such as spam email campaigns, trojans, fake software updaters, and various third party download sources. When using spam campaigns, cyber criminals send emails that contain malicious attachments and attempt to trick people into opening them. These attachments are usually documents (Microsoft Office documents), PDF files, archive files, executables, and so on. Once opened, they infect computers with viruses. Trojan viruses proliferate other malware. Therefore, when a trojan is installed, it causes chain infections. Fake software updaters are used to proliferate malware rather than installing the promised updates. Fake updaters can also be used to exploit outdated software flaws or bugs. Third party download sources such as torrents, free file hosting websites, freeware download websites, peer-to-peer networks and other similar channels can be used to proliferate viruses. Cyber criminals use them to present malicious files as legitimate, thus tricking people into installing viruses.

Threat Summary:
NameImpect 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.

To eliminate Impect 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?

The key to safety is caution. Be careful when downloading, installing or updating software or opening email attachments. Avoid opening attachments that are received from unknown/suspicious senders. Analyze these emails carefully and think twice before opening links or attachments presented in them. Use official and trustworthy sources when downloading software, and avoid using torrents and other third party downloaders or installers. Update software using implemented functions or tools provided by the official developers. Having a reputable anti-virus or/and anti-spyware software installed is also paramount. If your computer is already infected with Impect, we recommend running a scan with Spyhunter for Windows to automatically eliminate this ransomware.

Screenshot of Impect text file ("how to get back your files.txt"):

Impect text file

Text presented in Impect ransomware text file and pop-up window:

All your main files were encrypted!
Your personal files (documents, databases, jpeg, docx, doc,
etc.) were encrypted, their further using impossible.
You have only 6 hours from the moment when an encryption was done to buy our software at $300, in bitcoin
You all files will get deleted after the lapse of 6 hours.
Any attempts to remove this encryption will be unsuccessful. You cannot do this without our software with your key.
Do not send any emails with threats and rudeness to us. Example of email format: Hi, I need a decryption of my files.

Bitcoin address = 1GstvLM6SumX3TMMgN9PvXQsEy3FR9ZqWX

Contact us by email only:

Screenshot of files encrypted by Impect (".impect" extension):

Files encrypted by Impect

Impect ransomware removal:

Instant automatic removal of Impect 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 Impect 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 Impect 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 Impect 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 Impect 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 Impect 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 Impect, 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 Impect 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 Impect ransomware:

About the author:

Tomas Meskauskas

Tomas Meskauskas - expert security researcher, professional malware analyst.

I am passionate about computer security and technology. I have an experience of over 10 years working in various companies related to computer technical issue solving and Internet security. I have been working as an author and editor for since 2010. Follow me on Twitter and LinkedIn to stay informed about the latest online security threats. Contact Tomas Meskauskas.

PCrisk security portal is brought by a company RCS LT. Joined forces of security researchers help educate computer users about the latest online security threats. More information about the company RCS LT.

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Malware activity

Global virus and spyware activity level today:

Medium threat activity

Increased attack rate of infections detected within the last 24 hours.

QR Code
Impect virus QR code
A QR code (Quick Response Code) is a machine-readable code which stores URLs and other information. This code can be read using a camera on a smartphone or a tablet. Scan this QR code to have an easy access removal guide of Impect virus on your mobile device.
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Platform: Windows

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