Obfuscated ransomware removal instructions
What is Obfuscated?
First discovered by Michael Gillespie, Obfuscated is a malicious program classified as ransomware. Like most computer infections of this type, it is designed to lock users' files by encryption and encourage victims to pay a ransom for a decryption tool. Obfuscated renames the filenames of each encrypted file by adding the ".obfuscated" extension. For example, "1.jpg" becomes "1.jpg.obfuscated". It also generates a ransom message within a "Read Me.txt" file and changes the desktop wallpaper. Once installed, Obfuscated runs a process under a random name in Task Manager.
The wallpaper and "Read Me.txt" file contain an identical ransom demand message stating that all files have been encrypted (not damaged, simply modified). To use them again, Obfuscated's victims are encouraged to use a specific decryption tool. The ransom message states that this is the only way to decrypt the data. To purchase this tool, users must contact cyber criminals by sending an email to the firstname.lastname@example.org address and the message must include the assigned unique ID. Once contacted, Obfuscated's developers should provide details such as cost of decryption tool and where to transfer the money (in a cryptocurrency). They also offer victims free decryption of one file no larger than 1MB as 'proof' that they can be trusted and have a valid decryption tool. It is not known which cryptography algorithm (symmetric or asymmetric) these cyber criminals use to encrypt data, however, most design their ransomware infections to be 'uncrackable'. They use cryptographies that generate unique/individual keys and store them on remote servers that are accessible only by them. Therefore, most people who have computers infected with ransomware are forced to contact the developers. No one else can provide the tools/keys required for decryption, however, cyber criminals often ignore victims once ransoms are paid. They cannot be trusted and we recommend that you do not contact Obfuscated's developers. The best, free solution in these cases is to use a previously created backup (if you have one) and restore files from there.
Screenshot of a message encouraging users to pay a ransom to decrypt their compromised data:
Ppam, Crypt0r, and Tro ransomware are just some examples of other ransomware-type programs similar to Obfuscated. There are many others with the same purpose: to encrypt data and blackmail victims by making ransom demands. The main differences are usually size of ransom and encryption algorithm deployed to make files unusable. Unfortunately, it is generally impossible to decrypt data without the involvement of ransomware developers. Only in some rare cases, when the program is not fully developed or contains bugsflaws, can files be recovered. To avoid data or financial loss, we recommend that you maintain regular backups held on unplugged storage devices or remote servers (otherwise, backup files are encrypted together with other data stored on the computer).
How did ransomware infect my computer?
Typically, cyber criminals infect computers with ransomware-type programs through spam email campaigns, fake software updaters, untrustworthy software download sources and trojans. Ransomware developers use spam campaigns to proliferate malicious attachments (usually Microsoft Office documents, PDF files, archive files or executables) that, once opened, download and install ransomware or other infections. Fake software updaters infect systems by exploiting outdated software flaws/bugs or downloading and installing malicious programs or other infections rather than the promised/expected software updates or fixes. Dubious software download sources such as peer-to-peer networks (torrents, eMule and so on), freeware download websites, third party downloaders/installers are used to present malicious executables (or other files) as legitimate. By executing/running these files, people are often tricked into installing infections. Trojans are malicious programs designed to proliferate other infections - if installed, they cause chain infections.
|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 malware infections our security researchers recommend scanning your computer with Spyhunter.
How to protect yourself from ransomware infections?
To avoid ransomware-type (and other) computer infections, take precautions while browsing the web, installing, downloading or updating software. If you have received an email containing an attachment sent from an unknown/untrustworthy or suspicious email address, do not open the attachment (or website link) without making sure that it is safe. These emails are often irrelevant but presented as important. Keep installed software updated using implemented functions or tools provided by official developers. Do not download software from untrustworthy or unofficial websites, using third party downloaders, or other dubious sources. The best way to download software is using official websites. Keep your computer protected and have reputable anti-spyware or anti-virus software installed. These programs can remove infections before any damage is done. If your computer is already infected with Obfuscated, we recommend running a scan with Spyhunter for Windows to automatically eliminate this ransomware.
Text presented in Obfuscated ransomware wallpaper and text file ("Read Me.txt"):
Hello, dear friend!
1- [All your files have been ENCRYPTED!]
Your files are NOT damaged! Your files are modified only.
The only way to decrypt your files is to receive the decryption program.
your files can not be decrypted without the special program we made it for your computer.
2- [ HOW TO RETURN FILES? ]
To receive the decryption program Write to our email "BigBobRoss@protonmail.com";
and tell us your unique ID
3- [ FREE DECRYPTION! ]
Free decryption as guarantee.
We guarantee the receipt of the decryption program after payment.
To believe, you can give us 1 file that must be less than 1MB and we decrypt it for free.
File should not be important to you! databases, backups, large excel sheets, etc.
4- [ Instruction ]
the easiest way to buy bitcoins is LocalBitcoins site. you have to register, click "buy bitcoins"
and select the seller by payment method and price.
please do not change the name of files or file extension if your files are important to you![victim's_ID]
Screenshot of Obfuscated desktop wallpaper:
Screenshot of files encrypted by Obfuscated (".obfuscated" extension):
Malicious Obfuscated ransomware process running in Task Manager (a string comprising random numbers and characters):
Update March 12, 2019 - Avast cyber security company has recently released a decryption tool capable of restoring data compromised by Obfuscated ransomware for free. Hence, there's absolutely no need to submit any payments. Click here to download the decryption tool.
Screenshot of Obfuscated ransomware decrypter by Avast:
Obfuscated ransomware removal:
Instant automatic malware removal:
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 malware. Download it by clicking the button below:
- What is Obfuscated?
- STEP 1. Obfuscated virus removal using safe mode with networking.
- STEP 2. Obfuscated 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 Obfuscated 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 Obfuscated 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 Obfuscated 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 Obfuscated 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 Obfuscated 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 Obfuscated ransomware: