Air ransomware removal instructions
What is Air?
Air is high-risk ransomware discovered by malware security researcher, Jakub Kroustek. It is a new variant of ransomware called Dharma. Air is designed to encrypt most stored files and, in doing so, adds the ".air" extension together with the user's unique ID and developers' email address. E.g., "sample.jpg" might be renamed to something like "sample.jpg.jpg.id-1E857D00.[email@example.com].air". Furthermore, Air opens a pop-up window and creates a text file ("FILES ENCRYPTED.txt"), placing it on the desktop.
The pop-up window and text file messages claim that data is encrypted and that the victim must contact Air's developers to restore it. The text file contains a short message, whilst the pop-up delivers a little more information. It is stated that, to decrypt data, victims must purchase decryption tools/keys, which are necessary to decrypt data. Unfortunately, this information is accurate. Although it is currently not known whether Air uses symmetric or asymmetric cryptography, in any case, each victim receives a unique key, which is necessary to restore data. Cyber criminals hide these keys on a remote server and, therefore, they are able to blackmail victims for their release. After contacting these people, victims are provided with further payment information. The messages within the pop-up and text file do not state the cost - this supposedly depends on how quickly victims contact Air's developers. Note, however, that criminals usually demand $500-1500, and ransoms must be paid using cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, Ethereum, DASH, or others. Furthermore, these people can never be trusted. Most ransomware developers ignore victims, once payments are submitted. Therefore, victims send money and receive nothing in return. We advise you to ignore requests to submit payments or even contact these people. Unfortunately, there are currently no tools capable of cracking Air encryption and restoring data free of charge. You can only restore everything from a backup.
Screenshot of a message encouraging users to pay a ransom to decrypt their compromised data:
There are hundreds of ransomware-type viruses that share similarities with Air. The list of examples includes (but is not limited to) ITLOCK, CottleAkela, Healforyou, LockerGoga, and XCry. As with Air, these also encrypt data and demand payments. In most cases, ransomware-type viruses have just two major differences: 1) size of ransom, and; 2) type of encryption algorithm used. Unfortunately, ransomware developers usually employ RSA, AES and other similar cryptographies that generate unique keys. Therefore, unless the virus is not fully developed or has certain bugs/flaws, restoring data manually without involvement of developers (contacting these people is not recommended) is impossible. Therefore, to prevent data loss, we strongly advise you to maintain regular data backups and store them on remote servers or unplugged storage devices. Backups that are stored locally will probably be encrypted with regular data.
How did ransomware infect my computer?
Ransomware developers usually proliferate their products using spam email campaigns, third party software download sources, fake updaters, cracks and trojans. Spam emails are delivered with deceptive messages encouraging users to open attached links/files that are usually presented as bills, invoices or other important documents, however, opening them simply allows malware to enter the system. Unofficial download sources are used to present malicious executables as legitimate. User are tricked into downloading and installing malware. Fake updaters infect computers in two ways: by misusing outdated program bugs/flaws or downloading and installing malware rather than the expected/promised updates. Software cracks bypass paid software activation, however, criminals often use them to proliferate viruses - rather than activating software, users infect their computers. Finally, trojans are malicious apps that cause "chain infections" - they stealthily infiltrate computers and continually inject additional malware.
|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 Air virus our malware researchers recommend scanning your computer with Spyhunter.
How to protect yourself from ransomware infections?
To prevent malware infections, be extremely cautious when browsing the internet and downloading/installing/updating software. Carefully analyze each email attachment received. If the sender seems suspicious or the attached link/file is irrelevant, do not open anything. Furthermore, download apps from official sources only, using a direct download links. Third party downloaders/installers often include rogue apps, and thus these tools should not be used. The same rule applies to software updates. It is important to keep installed programs and operating systems up-to-date, however, use only implemented functions or tools provided by the official developer. Bear in mind that you should never use software 'cracks', since by doing so you break the law (using pirated software is considered a cyber crime) and risk computer infection. We also strongly recommend that you have a reputable anti-virus/anti-spyware suite installed and running, since these tools can detect and eliminate malware before it does any harm. If your computer is already infected with Air, we recommend running a scan with Spyhunter for Windows to automatically eliminate this ransomware.
Text presented in Air 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 firstname.lastname@example.org
Write this ID in the title of your message 1E857D00
In case of no answer in 24 hours write us to theese e-mails:satco@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.
Also you can find other places to buy Bitcoins and beginners guide here:
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.
Screenshot of Air text file ("FILES ENCRYPTED.txt"):
Text presented within this file:
all your data has been locked us
You want to return?
write email email@example.com or satco@Cock.li
Screenshot of files encrypted by Air (".air" extension):
Air ransomware removal:
Instant automatic removal of Air 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 Air virus. Download it by clicking the button below:
- What is Air?
- STEP 1. Air virus removal using safe mode with networking.
- STEP 2. Air 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 Air 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 Air 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 Air 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 Air 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 Air 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 Air ransomware: