AYE Ransomware

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

AYE ransomware removal instructions

What is AYE?

Discovered by Jakub Kroustek, AYE is another variant of high-risk ransomware called Dharma. AYE stealthily infiltrates the system and encrypts most stored files. In doing so, it adds the ".AYE" extension together with the victim's unique ID and developer's email address to the name of each encrypted file. For instance, "sample.jpg" is renamed to "sample.jpg.id-1E857D00.[sebekgrime@tutanota.com].AYE". Once data is encrypted, AYE opens a pop-up window and generates a text file ("FILES ENCRYPTED.txt"), placing it on the desktop.

The new text file contains a short message informing victims of the encryption and encouraging them to contact AYE's developers immediately. The pop-up window provides a little more information. It states that data is encrypted and can only be restored using a unique decryption tool. To receive this tool, victims must contact cyber criminals and pay a ransom. The cost is not specified and supposedly depends on how quickly victims decide to make contact. Note, however, that in most cases, the cost fluctuates between $500 and $1500. In any case, users must pay using the Bitcoin cryptocurrency. When making contact, victims are able to attach one selected file (up to 1 MB, non-archived). This file is then restored and returned to the victim as a 'guarantee' that decryption is possible and that cyber criminals can be trusted. Although it is currently unconfirmed whether AYE uses symmetric or asymmetric cryptography, each victim receives a unique decryption key necessary to restore data. Furthermore, cyber criminals hide these keys on a remote server. Since restoring data without the key is impossible, these people blackmail victims to acquire them. Regardless of the cost, do not pay. Research shows that these people often ignore victims after ransoms are paid. Users often submit payments and are simply scammed. Therefore, ignore all requests to contact these people or pay any ransom. There are no tools capable of cracking AYE encrypt and restoring data free of charge. The only solution is to restore everything from a backup.

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

AYE decrypt instructions

The internet is full of ransomware-type viruses that share similarities with AYE including BlackPink, Snatch, Cekisan, Bin, and Cammora. These just some examples from many. Although the developers might be different, ransomware-type viruses typically have identical behavior - they encrypt data and make ransom demands. In most cases, these infections have just two major differences: type of encryption algorithm used and size of ransom. Unfortunately, ransomware infections typically employ AES, RSA, and other complex algorithms designed to generate unique decryption keys. Therefore, unless the infection is not fully developed or has bugs/flaws, manual decryption (without developers involvement) is impossible. Viruses such as AYE present a strong case for maintaining regular data backups, however, store them on unplugged storage devices or remote servers, since locally stored backups will be encrypted with regular data.

How did ransomware infect my computer?

To proliferate ransomware, developers typically use trojans, fake software updaters and cracks, spam email campaigns, and third party software download sources. Trojans are infectious applications that stealthily infiltrate computers and inject additional malware. Fake update tools infect systems by exploiting outdated software bugs/flaws or simply downloading and installing malware rather than updates. Cracks activate paid software free of charge, however, cyber criminals often employ them to proliferate infections. Rather than gaining access to paid features, users often end up infecting their computers. Spam email campaigns are used to proliferate malicious attachments together with deceptive messages encouraging people to open them. Opening these files/links often results in various system infections. Finally, unofficial download sources are used by criminals to proliferate malware by presenting it as legitimate software. In this way, users are tricked into downloading and installing malware manually.

Threat Summary:
NameAYE 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 AYE 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?

The key to computer safety is caution. The main reasons for computer infections are poor knowledge of these threats and careless behavior. Therefore, pay close attention when downloading/installing/updating software. We strongly recommend that you download apps from official sources only, using direct download links. Third party downloaders/installers often include rogue applications, and thus using these tools is risky. Keep installed applications and operating systems up-to-date, however, use implemented functions or tools provided by the official developer only. Never use software cracking tools, since software piracy is considered a cyber crime (you literally steal from the developers) and the risk of infection is extremely high. Think twice before opening email attachments. Attachments (links/files) that are irrelevant and those sent by suspicious/unrecognizable email addresses should never be open. Finally, use a reputable anti-virus/anti-spyware suite. These tools can detect and eliminate viruses before the system is harmed. If your computer is already infected with AYE, we recommend running a scan with Spyhunter for Windows to automatically eliminate this ransomware.

Text presented in AYE 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 sebekgrime@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:sebekgrime@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 AYE text file ("FILES ENCRYPTED.txt"):

AYE text file

Text presented within this site:

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

Screenshot of files encrypted by AYE (".aye" extension):

Files encrypted by AYE

AYE ransomware removal:

Instant automatic removal of AYE 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 AYE 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 AYE 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 AYE 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 AYE 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 AYE 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 AYE, 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 AYE 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 AYE ransomware: