AUF Ransomware

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

AUF ransomware removal instructions

What is AUF?

Discovered by Jakub Kroustek, AUF is a ransomware-type program and a new variant of Dharma ransomware. Like most other computer infections of this type, AUF encrypts data and delivers a ransom message. In this case, it generates a "FILES ENCRYPTED.txt" file and opens a ransom demand pop-up window. It also changes all filename extensions of encrypted files by adding ".AUF" plus a unique victim ID and the ransomware developer's email address. For example, "1.jpg" might become "1.jpg.id-1E857D00.[Decisivekey@tutanota.com].AUF".

The message within the "FILES ENCRYPTED.txt" text file states that AUF ransomware has encrypted (locked) all data. To recover compromised files, victims are required to contact AUF's developers by sending an email to decisivekey@tutanota.com or decisivekey@cock.li. The pop-up window informs ransomware victims that their computers are infected due to a 'security problem'. The ransom message contains a unique ID for use when contacting cyber criminals via one of the emails. When contacted, they will state the cost of the decryption tool, which must be paid in Bitcoins. The cost apparently depends on how quickly AUF's developers are contacted. They urge victims to contact them as soon as possible. As 'proof' that they can be trusted (are able to provide the decryption tool), they offer victims decryption one file free of charge. They also urge them not to use any other tools/third party software, since, according to them, this might cause permanent data loss. They also state that none of the files should be renamed. We advise that you do not contact these cyber criminals or transfer any sums of cryptocurrency. Most cyber criminals ignore victims even if they receive payments. They should never be trusted. Unfortunately, only they can provide a decryption tool, since most ransomware developers use cryptography algorithms (symmetric or asymmetric) that generate unique decryption keys. Therefore, no other tools are capable of decryption. Furthermore, cyber criminals store these keys on remote servers accessible only by them. If your computer is infected with AUF, the only free option (at least, at time of writing) is to use a data backup and restore lost files from there.

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

AUF decrypt instructions

Most ransomware-type programs are very similar and serve the same purpose: to encrypt files and keep them in that state unless ransom demands are met. Some examples of other infections similar to AUF include PC-FunHACKED!, Paradise .xyz, and Rumba. The main differences are usually cryptography algorithm used for encryption and cost of the tool required for decryption. Cyber criminals often design these ransomware-type programs to be 'uncrackable'. Therefore, decryption without the involvement of cyber criminals is impossible. This might only be possible if the program is still in development or contains unfixed bugs/flaws. Therefore, maintain regular backups and keep them stored on remote servers or unplugged storage devices.

How did ransomware infect my computer?

It is not known exactly how cyber criminals proliferate AUF ransomware, however, these programs are usually distributed through spam (email) campaigns, trojans, Windows software cracks (and others), fake software updaters, and untrustworthy (dubious) software download sources. Spam campaigns are used to proliferate computer infections by sending emails that include malicious attachments. These attachments might be Microsoft Office documents, PDF documents, archive files, executables, and so on. When opened, they infect computers by downloading and installing malicious programs. Trojans, on the other hand, are programs (malicious) used to proliferate infections such as ransomware-type programs. If installed, they cause chain infections. Untrustworthy software download sources such as P2P (peer-to-peer) networks (eMule, torrents clients and so on), freeware download websites, free file hosting site, third party software downloaders and so on, present malicious software as legitimate. Using these channels, people are often tricked into downloading and installing infections rather than the expected software. Another way to proliferate ransomware and other threats are via fake software updaters. They are used to exploit bugs/flaws of outdated software or to download and install malicious programs rather than the promised software updates and fixes.

Threat Summary:
NameAUF 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 AUF 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 keep computers safe from various infections (including ransomware), be cautious while browsing the internet, downloading, installing and updating software. Various web links or attachments presented in emails received from unknown, suspicious or untrustworthy addresses should not be opened or clicked. At least, ensure they are safe first. All software should be downloaded using official and trustworthy sources, and not third party downloaders, installers, or other channels of this type. These tools proliferate rogue applications that might cause computer infections or other unwanted installations. Keep software updated, however, use implemented functions or tools provided by official developers, and not third party tools. Finally, have reputable anti-virus/anti-spyware software installed. These tools can eliminate malware before any damage is done. If your computer is already infected with AUF, we recommend running a scan with Spyhunter for Windows to automatically eliminate this ransomware.

Text presented in AUF ransomware pop-up window:

All your files have been encrypted!
All your files have been encrypted due to a security problem with your PC. If you want to restore them, write us to the e-mail Decisivekey@tutanota.com
Write this ID in the title of your message 1E857D00
In case of no answer in 24 hours write us to theese e-mails:Decisivekey@cock.li
You have to pay for decryption in Bitcoins. The price depends on how fast you write to us. After payment we will send you the decryption tool that will decrypt all your files.
Free decryption as guarantee
Before paying you can send us up to 1 file for free decryption. The total size of files must be less than 1Mb (non archived), and files should not contain valuable information. (databases,backups, large excel sheets, etc.)
How to obtain Bitcoins
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.
https://localbitcoins.com/buy_bitcoins
Also you can find other places to buy Bitcoins and beginners guide here:
http://www.coindesk.com/information/how-can-i-buy-bitcoins/
Attention!
Do not rename encrypted files.
Do not try to decrypt your data using third party software, it may cause permanent data loss.
Decryption of your files with the help of third parties may cause increased price (they add their fee to our) or you can become a victim of a scam.

The appearance of AUF ransomware pop-up (GIF):

Screenshot of AUF text file:

AUF text file

Text presented in AUF ransomware text file:

all your data has been locked us
You want to return?
write email Decisivekey@tutanota.com or Decisivekey@cock.li

Screenshot of files encrypted by AUF (".AUF" extension, which also contains a unique ID and the developer's email address):

Files encrypted by AUF

AUF ransomware removal:

Instant automatic removal of AUF 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 AUF 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 AUF 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 AUF 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 AUF 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 AUF 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 AUF, 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 AUF 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 AUF 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
AUF 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 AUF virus on your mobile device.
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Platform: Windows

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