.shadow Ransomware

Also Known As: .shadow virus
Distribution: Low
Damage level: Severe

.shadow ransomware removal instructions

What is .shadow?

.shadow is a computer infection categorized as ransomware and a new variant of the STOP ransomware virus. Like many other ransomware-type infections, .shadow is designed to encrypt data stored on victims computers and demand ransom payments. All locked files are renamed by adding the ".shadow" extension. For example, "1.jpg" becomes "1.jpg.shadow". A ransom demand message is presented in a text file named "!readme.txt".

According to the ransom demand message in "!readme.txt", all files are encrypted, and to unlock them, victims are encouraged to contact cyber criminals via the helpshadow@india.com or helpshadow@firemail.cc email address. Ransomware developers will then provide the cost of a decryption tool supplied to victims when the ransom is paid. They also offer free decryption of one file (that does not contain valuable information) as 'proof' that they can be trusted and are capable of file decryption. Furthermore, .shadow developers offer a discount of 50% for victims who make contact within 72 hours. They urge people not to use any tools other than theirs for data decryption, since, according to them, this will cause permanent data loss. Unfortunately, .shadow developers are probably the only people who can provide victims with a decryption tool. Generally, these criminals use algorithms that generate unique decryption keys that are stored on remote servers (controlled only by them). This makes data decryption without involvement of cyber criminals (ransomware developers) impossible. Note, however, that these people usually ignore victims even if their ransom demands are met. Therefore, we recommend that you do not contact them or pay any ransoms. The best (and only) solution in these cases is to use an existing data backup and restore everything from there.

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

.shadow decrypt instructions

.shadow is similar to many other viruses of this type. Other examples are Bkpx, Dablio, and GandCrab 5.0.9. Most ransomware-type infections encrypt data and keep it in that state until a ransom is paid, or decryption tool or key is purchased. The most common differences are cost of decryption and cryptography algorithm used to lock/encrypt files. These infections are usually impossible to crack, unless they are not fully developed or have bugs/flaws. Therefore, maintain regular backups and store them on unplugged storage devices or remote servers (this will prevent cyber criminals encrypting them with other regular data).

How did ransomware infect my computer?

It is difficult to ascertain exact which method cyber criminals use to proliferate this ransomware, however, most use similar or identical tactics: spam email campaigns, trojans, fake software updating tools, or untrustworthy software download sources. Spam campaigns distribute emails that contain malicious attachments that, once opened (executed), infect computers with a specific virus. Trojans are malicious programs used to infect computers by causing chain infections. In summary, the presence of an installed trojan will probably cause other infections. Fake software update tools exploit outdated software bugs, flaws, etc. or download and install high-risk viruses rather than the updates. Untrustworthy software download sources are include peer-to-peer networks, third party downloaders, freeware download, and file hosting websites. Cyber criminals use these sources to present their viruses as legitimate executables (or other) files. By downloading and installing them, many users are tricked into causing computer infections.

Threat Summary:
Name.shadow 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 .shadow 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?

Download software using  official and trustworthy websites, rather than peer-to-peer networks, third party downloaders, and other untrustworthy sources. Note that rogue set-ups (downloaded using untrustworthy sources) are used to proliferate unwanted apps or spread infections. Avoid downloading and opening attachments (and web links) in emails received from unknown, suspicious email addresses, or if the emails are irrelevant. Update your software using implemented functions or tools provided by official software developers only. Have a reputable anti-virus or anti-spyware software installed on your computer and keep it enabled. These tools can prevent systems infection by viruses. If your computer is already infected with .shadow, we recommend running a scan with Spyhunter for Windows to automatically eliminate this ransomware.

Text presented in .shadow ransomware text file :

------------------ALL YOUR FILES ARE ENCRYPTED----------------

Don't worry, you can return all your files!
All your files documents, photos, databases and other important are encrypted with strongest encryption and unique key.
The only method of recovering files is to purchase decrypt tool and unique key for you.
This software will decrypt all your encrypted files.
What guarantees do we give to you?
You can send one of your encrypted file from your PC and we decrypt it for free.
But we can decrypt only 1 file for free. File must not contain valuable information
Don't try to use third-party decrypt tools because it will destroy your files.
Discount 50% available if you contact us first 72 hours.


To get this software you need write on our e-mail:

Reserve e-mail address to contact us:

Your personal ID:

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

Files encrypted by .shadow

.shadow ransomware removal:

Instant automatic removal of .shadow 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 .shadow 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 .shadow 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 .shadow 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 .shadow 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 .shadow 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 .shadow, 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 .shadow 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 .shadow 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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Removal Instructions in other languages
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
.shadow 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 .shadow virus on your mobile device.
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Platform: Windows

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