Ghost Ransomware

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

Ghost ransomware removal instructions

What is Ghost?

Cyber criminals use the Ghost ransomware-type virus to infect systems and encrypt data, thereby making it unusable until the ransom demands are met. Ghost was discovered by MalwareHunterTeam. Once a computer is infected, this virus renames all encrypted files by adding the ".Ghost" extension. For example, "1.jpg" becomes "1.jpg.Ghost", and so on. Ghost is designed to display a ransom note in a pop-up window.

According to the cyber criminals behind the Ghost virus, they have encrypted all files and demand payment of 0.08116 of Bitcoin (currently equivalent to ~$425) if victims wish to retrieve their files via a decryption key (or tool). They also urge victims to contact them via an email address and ID provided. Ghost developers provide a Gmail email address (paymemen@gmail.com) as a means of contact. This is unusual, since cyber criminals generally do not use public email services to make ransom demands as it greatly increases the risk of being caught. Note that ransomware developers often ignore victims even if they are contacted and the ransom demands are met. In this way, people are scammed. It is not known which cryptography algorithm (symmetric or asymmetric) Ghost developers use to encrypt files. In any case, there is no tool capable of cracking Ghost ransomware encryption free of charge. Generally, if a system is infected by a virus of this type, the best (free) solution is to restore files using an existing backup.

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

Ghost decrypt instructions

Cyber criminals use many different ransomware viruses. Other examples of similar infections are BlackHat, .pptx, and DataWait (and many more). Most ransomware-type viruses of this type lock/encrypt files and make ransom demands. Size of ransom and cryptography algorithm used to encrypt the files are usually the only differences. A unique decryption key is generated for each victim and stored on a remote server controlled by cyber criminals. Ransomware viruses cannot easily be cracked, and thus decryption without involvement of cyber criminals is generally impossible. To prevent data loss, we recommend that you maintain regular backups and store them on a remote server or unplugged device.

How did ransomware infect my computer?

It is not clear exactly how Ghost developers proliferate their ransomware, however, some common methods include spam email campaigns, untrustworthy third party software download sources, fake software updating tools and trojans. Cyber criminals employ spam campaigns to spread viruses through malicious email attachments (or links). They send emails containing malicious Microsoft Office documents, archive files, PDF files, executable files hoping that people will open them. Once opened, these attachments (or links) download and install viruses. Untrustworthy third party software download sources such as peer-to-peer networks (torrent clients, eMule, etc.), free file hosting, freeware download websites and other similar sources are used by criminals to trick people into installing viruses. They achieve this by presenting malicious executables (.exe) or other files as legitimate. In some cases, they use fake software updaters - these tools are used to do download and install viruses rather than the promised updates or to exploit outdated software bugs and flaws.

Threat Summary:
NameGhost 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 Ghost 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?

To prevent computer infection by ransomware-type viruses, browse the Internet, and install/download and update software carefully. Do not open email attachments (or links) received from unknown, untrustworthy or suspicious addresses. Avoid opening files that are attached to irrelevant emails. When updating software, use implemented functions or tools provided by official developers only. Do not use third party tools. Never download software from untrustworthy/unofficial websites or using third party downloaders. It is possible that these third party download or installation set-ups will contain rogue applications that might cause high-risk computer infections. Having a reputable anti-spyware or anti-virus software installed is also paramount. These tools can prevent computers from being harmed by various infections. If your computer is already infected with Ghost, we recommend running a scan with Spyhunter for Windows to automatically eliminate this ransomware.

Text presented in Ghost ransomware text file :

All your files have been encrypted

All your files have been encrypted, but don't worry, I have not deleted them yet.
To desencrypt them, you have to pay 0.08116 bitcoin to following address:

-

Them, send a mail to paymemen@gmail.com with your CODE ID.

I'm sorry for the inconvenience caused.

Code ID -

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

Files encrypted by Ghost

Ghost ransomware removal:

Instant automatic removal of Ghost 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 Ghost 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 Ghost 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 Ghost 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 Ghost 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 Ghost 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 Ghost, 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 Ghost 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 Ghost 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 pcrisk.com 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
Medium

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

QR Code
Ghost 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 Ghost virus on your mobile device.
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Platform: Windows

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