Frend ransomware removal instructions
What is Frend?
Discovered by Jakub Kroustek, Frend is a new variant of high-risk ransomware called Dharma. Once infiltrated, Frend encrypts most stored files and appends filenames with the ".frend" extension plus the victim's ID and developer's email address. For instance, "sample.jpg" is renamed to "sample.jpg.id-1E857D00.[firstname.lastname@example.org].frend". Once data is encrypted, Frend places the "FILES ENCRYPTED.txt" text file on the victim's desktop and opens a pop-up window.
The new text file contains a short message informing victims that data is encrypted and that they must contact cyber criminals if they wish to restore it. The pop-up window provides a little more information. It is stated that the only way to restore data is to purchase a decryption tool from Frend's developers, since only they are capable of decrypting data. Unfortunately, this information is accurate. It is currently not known whether Frend uses symmetric or asymmetric cryptography, however, each victim receives a unique decryption key necessary to restore data. Cyber criminals hide all keys on remote servers. Therefore, to receive a decryption key (or tool with the key embedded within), users are encouraged to pay a ransom. The cost is not specified (these details are provided via email), however, it is stated that the cost depends on how quickly victims contact these people. Payment must be paid in the Bitcoin cryptocurrency. Regardless of the cost, do not pay. Research shows that many cyber criminals ignore victims, once payments are submitted. Therefore, people send money and receive nothing in return - they simply support cyber criminals' malicious businesses. We strongly advise you to ignore all requests to contact these people or pay any ransoms. Unfortunately, there are no tools capable of cracking Frend 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:
The internet is full of ransomware-type viruses that all have very similar characteristics. For example, Cryptotes, Maoloa, CryptoID, Cosanostra, _Write_To_Emails_, and many others. As with Frend, these viruses encrypt data and make ransom demands. In most cases, they have just two major differences: type of encryption algorithm used and size of ransom. Unfortunately, most use AES, RSA, or other similar algorithms that generate unique decryption keys. Therefore, in most cases, it is impossible to restore data without developers' involvement. The only possible scenarios are ransomware not being fully developed or having certain bugs/flaws (e.g., the key is hard-coded, stored locally, or similar). To prevent data loss, we strongly advise you to maintain regular backups, however, store them on remote servers or unplugged storage devices, otherwise these infections will encrypt backups together with regular data.
How did ransomware infect my computer?
Although it is currently not known exactly how developers proliferate Frend, there are several methods that are popular among cyber criminals: spam email campaigns, third party software download sources, fake software update tools, cracks, and trojans. Spam campaigns are used to send deceptive emails with malicious attachments. Criminals send messages encouraging users to open attached links/files. By opening them, users inadvertently trigger a computer infection. Unofficial download sources are used to proliferate viruses by presenting them as legitimate software. Users are simply tricked into downloading and installing malware. Fake updaters infect computers by exploiting outdated software bugs/flaws or simply downloading/installing malware rather than the updates. Cracking tools bypass software activation, however, rather than gaining access to paid features, users infect their computers with high-risk viruses. Finally, trojans are malicious applications designed to cause so-called "chain infections" - after infiltrating computers, they 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 Frend virus our malware researchers recommend scanning your computer with Spyhunter.
How to protect yourself from ransomware infections?
Lack of knowledge and careless behavior are the main reasons for computer infections. The key to safety is caution. Therefore, pay attention when browsing the internet and downloading/installing/updating software. We strongly recommend that you carefully analyze each email received. If the sender seems suspicious/unrecognizable and the attachment is irrelevant, do not open anything and delete the email immediately. Furthermore, download your programs from official sources only, preferably using direct download links. Third party download/installation tools are often used to proliferate viruses, and thus you should avoid them. The same rule applies to software updates. Keep installed apps/operating system up-to-date, however, this should be achieved through implemented functions or tools provided by the official developer. We strongly recommend that you never use software cracking tools, since software piracy is considered a cyber crime (you are stealing from software developers) and it increases the chances of computer infection. Have a reputable anti-virus/anti-spyware suite installed and running - these tools commonly detect and eliminate malware before it harms the system. If your computer is already infected with Frend, we recommend running a scan with Spyhunter for Windows to automatically eliminate this ransomware.
Text presented in Frend 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 email@example.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:FobosAmerika@protonmail.ch
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 Frend text file ("FILES ENCRYPTED.txt"):
Text presented within this file:
all your data has been locked us
You want to return?
write email firstname.lastname@example.org or FobosAmerika@protonmail.ch
Screenshot of files encrypted by Frend (".frend" extension):
Frend ransomware removal:
Instant automatic removal of Frend 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 Frend virus. Download it by clicking the button below:
- What is Frend?
- STEP 1. Frend virus removal using safe mode with networking.
- STEP 2. Frend 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 Frend 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 Frend 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 Frend 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 Frend 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 Frend 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 Frend ransomware: