UNIT09 Ransomware

Also Known As: UNIT09 virus
Distribution: Low
Damage level: Severe

UNIT09 ransomware removal instructions

What is UNIT09?

UNIT09 is a high-risk malicious program categorized as ransomware. The main purpose of UNIT09 is to encrypt data stored on a computer and allow developers to blackmail victims by demanding purchase of a decryption tool. This program generates a ransom message in the form of a .txt file called "$!READ ME.txt". It is very likely that this ransom message will be found in each folder that contains encrypted files. Files encrypted by UNIT09 are renamed by adding the ".UNIT09" extension. For example, "1.jpg" becomes "1.jpg.UNIT09".

In this case, the ransom message is short and thanks victims "for being a part of UNIT-109". To decrypt files, UNIT09 ransomware developers urge victims to pay $10 in Bitcoins using a Bitcoin wallet address provided, however, they state that this transaction must be performed within 72 hours, otherwise encrypted data will be lost (unrecoverable). Most cyber criminals demand higher ransom sums in cryptocurrencies, however, this does not indicate that UNIT09's developers can be trusted in any way. Cyber criminals often ignore victims even if when their ransom demands are met. Therefore, paying these people delivers no positive outcome - cyber criminals provide none of the promised decryption tools. Unfortunately, some people are tempted to contact these criminals, since  the cryptography algorithms (symmetric or asymmetric) that they use to encrypt data are impossible to decrypt without using a specific decryption tool. Generally, only cyber criminals can provide these tools. They use cryptographies that generate unique keys and no other tools are capable of decryption. Although the cost of the tool is low in this case, any cryptocurrency transfers to these criminals will end up in users being scammed. If a data backup was created before encryption, we recommend that you restore files from there.

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

UNIT09 decrypt instructions

There are many similar ransomware-type programs on the internet, such as CottleAkela, ITLOCK, Gorgon, and so on. In all cases, developers use them to encrypt data and make ransom demands. The main differences are usually cost of decryption tool and cryptography algorithm used to encrypt data. Encrypted data cannot generally be decrypted without the involvement of cyber criminals. The encryptions are 'uncrackable', unless the ransomware is still in development or contains unresolved bugs/flaws. To prevent data loss, create data backups and store them on remote servers or unplugged storage devices. Do not store backups on a computer, since this enables ransomware-type programs to encrypt them together with other data.

How did ransomware infect my computer?

There are various ways that systems become infected with ransomware-type programs. To proliferate these infections, cyber criminals use spam campaigns (emails), Trojans, dubious software download tools/sources, fake software updaters and software cracking tools. When using spam campaigns, cyber criminals send emails that contain attached files (such as Microsoft Office documents, Java Script files, PDF documents, executable or archive files such as ZIP, RAR, and others). If opened, these malicious files execute scripts that download and install malicious software/computer infections. Another way to proliferate malicious program is through various third party software downloaders, free file hosting websites, peer-to-peer (P2P) networks (torrents, eMule and so on), freeware download sites and other similar channels. Cyber criminals use these channels to present their infections as legitimate files. Once downloaded and executed, however, they install malicious programs rather than the expected software. Trojans are malicious programs that cause chain infections - one program proliferates other of this type. Systems can sometimes become infected by ransomware and other infections through fake software updaters that install malware rather than updating software or fixing any bugs. These tools are also capable of exploiting bugs/flaws of outdated software. Software cracking tools can lead to infections. People use these tools to activate software free of charge, however, cyber criminals infect these tools, leading to installation of malicious programs rather than activating software or operating systems.

Threat Summary:
NameUNIT09 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 UNIT09 virus our malware researchers recommend scanning your computer with Spyhunter.
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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?

We strongly recommend that you download software using official and trustworthy sources (websites) and direct links. Do not use third party software downloaders, installers, dubious websites, and so on. These often download rogue applications together with (or instead of) the expected software. Carefully study each received email and do not open attachments that are presented in emails sent from unknown or suspicious email addresses. Update software using official/implemented tools that are provided by official developers, and not other tools. Do not use software cracking tools, since this is a cyber crime. Furthermore, they often install malicious programs rather than providing users with the expected software. Have reputable anti-virus or anti-spyware software installed and enabled. If your computer is already infected with UNIT09, we recommend running a scan with Spyhunter for Windows to automatically eliminate this ransomware.

Text presented in UNIT09 ransomware text file :

Dear tomas, Thanks for being a part of UNIT-109
But sadly its time to go. Send $10 in BTC to 1P9NNpNtbhsKaxr2oGkSaqUQb1kB4trS5U
Your files will be unrecoverable after 72 hours. Be quick ;)

Screenshot of files encrypted by UNIT09 (".UNIT09" extension):

Files encrypted by UNIT09

UNIT09 ransomware removal:

Instant automatic removal of UNIT09 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 UNIT09 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 UNIT09 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 UNIT09 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 UNIT09 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 UNIT09 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 UNIT09, 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 UNIT09 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 UNIT09 ransomware: