XARCryptor ransomware removal instructions
What is XARCryptor?
Discovered by S!Ri, XARCryptor is categorized as a ransomware-type malicious program and is a new variant of Garrantydecrypt. This computer infection is designed to block access to data by encryption. To decrypt their files, XARCryptor's victims are encouraged to pay a ransom (in effect, by purchasing a decryption tool/key). XARCryptor renames each encrypted file by adding the ".odin" extension. For example, "1.jpg" becomes "1.jpg.odin". It also creates a ransom message within a text file called "#RECOVERY_FILES#.txt", which can be found in each folder that contains encrypted data.
The "#RECOVERY_FILES#.txt" file contains a ransom message informing XARCryptor victims that all files have been encrypted, and to restore them, they must contact the developers via the email@example.com email address. The email should contain a unique ID. The ransom note also contains a warning urging people not to use any other decryption tool, since this might cause permanent data loss. Therefore, victims are encouraged to use a decryption tool provided by XARCryptor's developers only. It is very likely that any further instructions are given once cyber criminals are contacted via the email address provided. Despite this, we do not recommend that you contact them (or any other cyber criminals/ransomware developers). Victims are commonly scammed - most cyber criminals ignore them once ransom payments are transferred. Ransomware developers provide none of the promised decryption tools or keys. Unfortunately, decryption of the data without involvement of ransomware developers is often impossible. Malicious programs of this type usually encrypt data using cryptography algorithms (symmetric or asymmetric) that are impossible to 'crack' - they generate unique decryption keys. Furthermore, cyber criminals usually store the tools/keys required for decryption on remote servers and only they have access. There are currently no tools capable of free decryption. If a computer is infected with a ransomware-type virus such as XARCryptor, the best (free) option to retrieve files is to use an existing data backup and restore files from there.
Screenshot of a message encouraging users to pay a ransom to decrypt their compromised data:
XARCryptor is very similar to other viruses of this type, such as INDRIK, BlackRouter, and Boom. These infections usually have two main purposes: to encrypt data and keep it in that state until a ransom is paid (decryption tool is purchased). The main differences between these ransomware-type infections are cryptography algorithm used to encrypt data and cost of the tool required for a decryption (ransom sum). Decryption without involvement of cyber criminals (ransomware developers) is impossible unless the virus is still in development or contains bugs/flaws. Therefore, create regular backups and retain them on remote servers or unplugged storage devices. If not, the ransomware infection can encrypt data backups together with other files.
How did ransomware infect my computer?
It is difficult to determine the exact method (or methods) XARCryptor developers use to proliferate this ransomware-type infection, however, some techniques include spam (email) campaigns, third party software download sources, trojans, and fake software updaters. Spam campaigns are efficient when people open attachments included in emails received from cyber criminals such as XARCryptor developers. These attachments are usually various files such as Microsoft Office documents, PDF documents, archive files such as RAR, ZIP, executable files (.exe), and others. If opened, they allow computer infections such as ransomware-type viruses to be downloaded and installed. Dubious software download sources such as P2P (Peer-to-Peer) networks (torrents, eMule, etc.), third party downloaders, installers, unofficial websites, etc. are used to trick people into downloading malicious software rather than legitimate files. Using these channels, cyber criminals often successfully trick people into downloading and installing computer infections. Trojans are malicious programs that, if installed, proliferate other viruses. These programs cause chain infections and might be the reason behind the presence of ransomware-type viruses. Fake software updaters exploit bugs and flaws of outdated software, or download and install high-risk infections rather than the expected legitimate updates or fixes.
|Threat Type||Ransomware, Crypto Virus, Files locker|
|Symptoms||Can'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 methods||Infected email attachments (macros), torrent websites, malicious ads.|
|Damage||All 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 XARCryptor virus our malware researchers recommend scanning your computer with Spyhunter.
How to protect yourself from ransomware infections?
Be careful with emails that seem irrelevant or received from unknown, suspicious email addresses, especially if they contain attachments or web links. Do not open any attachments or websites without making sure that they are safe. Otherwise, simply ignore them. Download software using official and trustworthy sources, and avoid using the aforementioned channels. Keep your operating system and installed software updated, however, use implemented tools or functions provided by the official developers only. Have reputable anti-virus/anti-spyware software installed and enabled - these tools can detect and eliminate various threats (computer infections) before they can do any damage. If your computer is already infected with XARCryptor, we recommend running a scan with Spyhunter for Windows to automatically eliminate this ransomware.
Text presented in XARCryptor ransomware text file ("#RECOVERY_FILES#.txt"):
All personal files on your computer are encrypted.
We STRONGLY RECOMMEND you NOT to use any decryption tools.
These tools can damage your data, making recover IMPOSSIBLE.
If you really want to restore your files?
Write to our email - firstname.lastname@example.org
And tell us your unique ID
Screenshot of files encrypted by XARCryptor (".odin" extension):
XARCryptor ransomware removal:
Instant automatic removal of XARCryptor 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 XARCryptor virus. Download it by clicking the button below:
- What is XARCryptor?
- STEP 1. XARCryptor virus removal using safe mode with networking.
- STEP 2. XARCryptor ransomware removal using System Restore.
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.
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.
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.
Video showing how to start Windows 10 in "Safe Mode with Networking":
Log in to the account infected with the XARCryptor 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.
2. When Command Prompt mode loads, enter the following line: cd restore and press ENTER.
3. Next, type this line: rstrui.exe and press ENTER.
4. In the opened window, click "Next".
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 XARCryptor ransomware virus infiltrating your PC).
6. In the opened window, click "Yes".
7. After restoring your computer to a previous date, download and scan your PC with recommended malware removal software to eliminate any remaining XARCryptor 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 XARCryptor 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.
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 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 XARCryptor 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.
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:
Malwarebytes Anti-Ransomware Beta uses advanced proactive technology that monitors ransomware activity and terminates it immediately - before reaching users' files:
- 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 XARCryptor ransomware: