INFOWAIT Ransomware

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

INFOWAIT ransomware removal instructions

What is INFOWAIT?

INFOWAIT is a virus, a high-risk ransomware-type computer infection that was discovered by Emmanuel_ADC-Soft. It belongs to the DATASTOP ransomware family (a new variant). INFOWAIT is designed to encrypt (lock) files and rename them by adding the ".INFOWAIT" extension. For example, once encrypted, it renames "1.jpg" to "1.jpg.INFOWAIT", and so on. It also creates a ransom note, a text file called "!readme.txt". During encryption, this virus also displays a fake Windows update pop-up window.

The new text file contains a message informing victims of the encryption and stating that files can only be restored using a unique decryption key. Unfortunately, this information is accurate. It is currently not known which type of cryptography (symmetric or asymmetric) INFOWAIT uses. In any case, decryption requires unique key generated individually for each victim. All keys are stored on a remote server controlled by cyber criminals (INFOWAIT's developers). Therefore, to receive a decryption key and software, users are encouraged to pay $290 in Bitcoins. It is stated that this cost will only apply if the victim contacts developers within 72 hours following encryption. It is not specified exactly what will then happen. The text file also states that victims can send up to three selected files (that are "not very big"). Criminals then decrypt these files and return them as a 'guarantee' that decryption is possible. These people should never be trusted. Research shows that cyber criminals often ignore victims, once payments are submitted. Therefore, paying typically gives no positive result and users are scammed. Do not contact these people or send any money. Unfortunately, there are no tools capable of cracking INFOWAIT's 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:

INFOWAIT decrypt instructions

The number of ransomware viruses is growing daily, however, most infections of this type are very similar. ARGUS, Ghost, and Vapor are just some examples. Although most are designed by different cyber criminals, all share an identical goal: to encrypt data and make ransom demands. Generally, the major differences are size of ransom and type of encryption used. Cyber criminals mostly use algorithms that generate unique decryption keys. This makes it impossible to decrypt data without the involvement of cyber criminals, unless the ransomware virus is in development or has unfixed bugs/flaws. Malware such as INFOWAIT presents a strong case for maintaining regular data backups, however, it is very important to store them on a remote server (e.g., Cloud) or unplugged storage device. If not, malware encrypts backups with regular files.

How did ransomware infect my computer?

Computers are infected by ransomware-type viruses in a number of ways. These infections are usually proliferated through spam campaigns, fake software updaters, P2P (peer-to-peer) networks and untrustworthy third party software download sources, and trojans. Cyber criminals use spam campaigns to proliferate malicious attachments (usually Microsoft Office documents, PDF files, archive files or executables). Once opened, these attachments download and install viruses. Fake software updaters infect systems by exploiting outdated software flaws/bugs or downloading and installing viruses rather than the promised updates, fixes, etc. Peer-to-peer networks (such as torrents, eMule and so on) and other unofficial download sources are used to present malicious executables as legitimate files. By executing these files, users are tricked into installing viruses manually. Trojans are malicious programs that proliferate other infections, thereby causing chain-infections.

How to protect yourself from ransomware infections?

To avoid ransomware-type (and other infections), take precautions when browsing the web, installing/downloading, and updating software. If you receive an email that contains an attachment and it is sent from unknown/untrustworthy email address, do not open the attachment without carefully studying it first. Avoid opening attachments presented in irrelevant emails. It is important to keep software updated, however, this should be achieved using implemented functions or tools provided by official developers only. Do not download software from untrustworthy and unofficial websites or using third party downloaders. Third party download/installation set-ups often contain rogue applications that might cause infections, including ransomware. Finally, keep your computer protected by having a reputable anti-spyware or anti-virus software installed. These tools can prevent many computer infections. If your computer is already infected with INFOWAIT, we recommend running a scan with Spyhunter for Windows to automatically eliminate this ransomware.

Text presented in INFOWAIT ransomware text file ("!readme.txt"):

================!ATTENTION PLEASE!====================

Your databases, files, photos, documents and other important files are encrypted and have the extension: .INFOWAIT
The only method of recovering files is to purchase an decrypt software and unique private key.
After purchase you will start decrypt software, enter your unique private key and it will decrypt all your data.
Only we can give you this key and only we can recover your files.
You need to contact us by e-mail BM-2cXonzj9ovn5qdX2MrwMK4j3qCquXBKo4h@bitmessage.ch send us your personal ID and wait for further instructions.
For you to be sure, that we can decrypt your files - you can send us a 1-3 any not very big encrypted files and we will send you back it in a original form FREE.
Price for decryption $290 if you contact us first 72 hours.

=======================================================

E-mail address to contact us:
BM-2cXonzj9ovn5qdX2MrwMK4j3qCquXBKo4h@bitmessage.ch

Reserve e-mail address to contact us:
savefiles@india.com

Your personal id:
0048qpq3ylnE16aHSgo4Sg0XH3ODhi9ddXBObJMGjZI

INFOWAIT ransomware displaying fake Windows update during encryption:

INFOWAIT fake Windows Update

INFOWAIT ransomware process in Windows Task Manager ("updatewin.exe (32 bit)"):

INFOWAIT in Windows Task Manager

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

Files encrypted by INFOWAIT

INFOWAIT ransomware removal:

Instant automatic removal of INFOWAIT 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 INFOWAIT 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 INFOWAIT 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 INFOWAIT 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 INFOWAIT 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 INFOWAIT 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 INFOWAIT, 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 INFOWAIT 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 INFOWAIT ransomware: