Cryptotes Ransomware

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

Cryptotes ransomware removal instructions

What is Cryptotes?

Discovered by Michael Gillespie, Cryptotes is a malicious, ransomware-type program and a new variant of RotorRansomware. Cyber criminals use computer infections of this type to encrypt data stored on victims' computers and to extract money from affected people by making ransom demands. Cryptotes is designed to add a new extension (".cryptotes") to each encrypted file, which also includes an email address. For example, "1.jpg" becomes "1.jpg.!". It also creates a "readme.txt" file.

Generally, the text files are ransom messages that contain information on how to decrypt the data, email addresses for contacting the ransomware developers, and so on. In this case, however, it contains just a few lines of text stating "ROTO Readme". It is very unlikely that these cyber criminals can be contacted via the email address, which is included in the extension added to each encrypted file. Notably, this is a Yahoo email address, indicating that Cryptotes's developers are probably not professional ransomware developers - cyber criminals who use legitimate, publicly accessible email service providers such as Yahoo can be tracked by authorities. In any case, we do not recommend that you contact any ransomware developers, including  developer of Cryptotes. Most cyber criminals demand ransom payments (in effect to purchase decryption tools). Once they receive the money, however, they ignore the victims. Therefore, most people are scammed. Unfortunately, most ransomware developers employ cryptography algorithms (symmetric or asymmetric) that make these encryptions 'uncrackable'. Therefore, encrypted files can be decrypted using a specific decryption tool. Only the developers of the ransomware can provide this tool. This allows them to blackmail victims who believe they have not option other than to pay the ransom. The best option in these cases is to use an existing backup and restore files from there.

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

Cryptotes decrypt instructions

All ransomware-type infections are very similar. Examples of the many other malicious programs similar to Cryptotes include Maoloa, .blower, and CryptoID. These programs encrypt data and allow their developers to blackmail users who have computers infected by their ransomware. Main differences are usually size of ransom (cost of a decryption tool) and cryptography algorithm used to encrypt files. Unfortunately, most encryptions cannot be decrypted without the involvement of ransomware developers, unless the program contains flaws/bugs or is not fully developed. We recommend that you maintain data backups and keep them stored on remote server or unplugged storage device. Otherwise, backups are encrypted together with other data stored on the computer.

How did ransomware infect my computer?

It is difficult to determine exactly how Cryptotes's developers proliferate this malware (malicious program), but they often use spam (email) campaigns, fake software updaters, Trojans, untrustworthy software download sources, or software cracking tools. When using spam campaigns, cyber criminals send emails that include malicious attachments such as MS Office documents, archive files (ZIP, RAR), PDF files, executable files (.exe), and so on. The main purpose of these emails is to trick people into opening these attachments. Generally, sent emails are presented as important and legitimate. Once the attachment is opened, it downloads and installs a malicious program. Fake software updaters usually infect systems by downloading and installing computer infections rather than the promised/expected updates, or fixes. Alternatively, they cause infections by exploiting bugs/flaws of outdated software. Trojans are malicious programs that cause chain infections. If a is Trojan installed, it is likely that it will install ransomware or some other computer infection. Third party software download sources such as freeware download websites, free file hosting websites, peer-to-peer (P2P) networks (such as eMule, torrent clients), and so on, often are used by cyber criminals who present malicious files (usually executables) as legitimate. People who download and execute them cause infections on their systems. Software cracking tools supposedly bypass software or operating system activation free of charge, however, many cyber criminals employ these tools to proliferate malicious programs such as ransomware.

Threat Summary:
NameCryptotes 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 Cryptotes 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?

Avoid opening email attachments or web links in emails received from unknown, suspicious addresses. If you believe that the received email is irrelevant (or contains an attachment or web link), simply ignore it and do not open included links or files. Download software using official, trustworthy sources and directs links only. Do not use any third party channels, since they could be used to proliferate unwanted applications and computer infections. Keep installed software updated, however, this should be done using tools or functions that are provided by official software developers only. Avoid software cracking tools, since using them is committing a cyber crime. Furthermore, they often infect computers rather than allowing use of software free of charge. Finally, have reputable anti-virus or anti-spyware software installed. These tools protect computers from various infections. If your computer is already infected with Cryptotes, we recommend running a scan with Spyhunter for Windows to automatically eliminate this ransomware.

Text presented in Cryptotes ransomware text file "readme.txt":

ROTO Readme file ROTO Readme file ROTO Readme file ROTO Readme file ROTO Readme file ROTO Readme file ROTO Readme file ROTO Readme file ROTO Readme file

Screenshot of files encrypted by Cryptotes (".cryptotes" extension):

Files encrypted by Cryptotes

Cryptotes ransomware removal:

Instant automatic removal of Cryptotes 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 Cryptotes 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 Cryptotes 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 Cryptotes 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 Cryptotes 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 Cryptotes 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 Cryptotes, 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 Cryptotes 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 Cryptotes 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 since 2010. Follow me on Twitter and LinkedIn to stay informed about the latest online security threats. Contact Tomas Meskauskas.

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Malware activity

Global virus and spyware activity level today:

Medium threat activity

Increased attack rate of infections detected within the last 24 hours.

QR Code
Cryptotes 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 Cryptotes virus on your mobile device.
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Platform: Windows

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