Charck Ransomware

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

Charck ransomware removal instructions

What is Charck?

Charck is a malicious program that cyber criminals use to encrypt data and blackmail victims (by making ransom demands). Programs of this type are categorized as ransomware. Charck is a part of the Djvu suite of ransomware-type programs and was first discovered by Michael Gillespie. When a computer is infected by this program, Charck adds the ".charck" extension to each encrypted file. For example, "1.jpg" becomes "1.jpg.charck". It also creates a ransom note in a text file called "_readme.txt", which can be found in each folder that contains encrypted data. Other variants of this ransomware use the ".charcl" extension for encrypted files.

The "_readme.txt" file is used to inform people of the cost of the decryption tool/key, how to pay, and how to obtain it. The message states that all files were encrypted but are not lost and can be restored. To decrypt data, purchase of a decryption tool and unique key (at a cost of $980) are necessary. Charck's developers offer a 50% discount for people who contact them within 72 hours of encryption (decryption will then cost $490). To receive details about how to make payment, victims are required to contact them via the or email address. The email message should contain a personal ID that is appointed to each victim individually. Before paying, Charck's victims are permitted to send one file, which will be decrypted free of charge. Cyber criminals use this offer as a way to 'prove' that they have a working decryption tool and key. Typically, cyber criminals (developers of ransomware-type programs) use cryptography algorithms (symmetric or asymmetric) that generate unique decryption keys. They store them on remote servers that can be accessed only by them. Therefore, people with computers infected by Charck cannot decrypt data without using a specific decryption tool/key. Ransomware developers commonly use "uncrackable" cryptography algorithms that are impossible to decrypt without using the correct tool. Furthermore, most cyber criminals cannot be trusted. They do not send decryption tools to victims, even if their ransom demands are met. People who trust them and send money (usually, in a cryptocurrency) are scammed. The only free way to retrieve files in such cases is to use a data backup that was created before encryption and restore them from there. There is currently no free tool available or capable of successful decryption.

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

Charck decrypt instructions

Most ransomware-type programs have similar behavior - they encrypt data and display ransom demand messages. The main differences are usually cost of decryption tool/key and cryptography algorithm used to encrypt data. The encryptions are impossible to decrypt without using tools held by the developers. Decryption without the involvement of ransomware developers, is usually only possible only if the program is not fully developed or contains bugs/flaws. To avoid data loss caused by ransomware, create regular backups and store them on remote servers or unplugged storage devices. Some examples of other similar programs are Kroput, GILETTE, and a800.

How did ransomware infect my computer?

Typically, cyber criminals proliferate ransomware-type programs using email campaigns, Trojans, untrustworthy software download channels, software "cracking" tools, and fake software updaters. Spam campaigns cause infections through attachments that are presented in emails sent by cyber criminals. They attach malicious files such as Microsoft Office documents, archives (such as ZIP, RAR), executables (.exe files), PDF documents, JavaScript, and others. The main purpose of these emails is to trick recipients into opening attachments included in them. Once opened, they download and install various computer infections (such as ransomware). Another way to spread computer infections is through Trojans. These are malicious programs that, once installed, open backdoors for other viruses (they cause chain infections). Untrustworthy software (or other files) download sources such as free file hosting, freeware download websites, Peer-to-Peer (P2P) networks (and other similar channels) can be used by cyber criminals who present malicious files as legitimate. By downloading and opening/installing them, people cause computer infections inadvertently. Software "cracking" tools are programs that people use to avoid paying for activations of licensed software, however, they often install viruses rather than providing access to any software. Fake software updaters are used to infect computers with ransomware-type programs and other viruses. These tools cause computer infections rather than updating software or operating systems. They might also cause infections by exploiting outdated software flaws and bugs.

Threat Summary:
NameCharck 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 Charck 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?

Carefully study emails that contain attachments or website links. If an attachment or link is presented in email that is received from an unknown, suspicious address (and the email is irrelevant), do not to open its contents (at least not without being sure that it is safe). Download software using official, trustworthy sources/websites and direct links. Avoid using third party downloaders, Peer-to-Peer networks (torrent clients, eMule and other similar software), dubious, unofficial websites (and other similar sources). Update installed software and operating systems using tools or implemented functions provided by official developers. Third party updaters should not be used or trusted. The same applies to various tools that activate paid software free of charge - these cause computer infections and are illegal. Finally, have a reputable anti-virus/anti-spyware suite installed and keep it enabled at all times. These tools detect and eliminate viruses before any damage is done. If your computer is already infected with Charck, we recommend running a scan with Spyhunter for Windows to automatically eliminate this ransomware.

Text presented in Charck ransomware text file ("_readme.txt"):

Don't worry my friend, you can return all your files!
All your files like photos, databases, documents and other important are encrypted with
strongest encryption and unique key.
The only method of recovering files is to purchase decrypt tool and unique key for you.
This software will decrypt all your encrypted files.
What guarantees you have?
You can send one of your encrypted file from your PC and we decrypt it for free.
But we can decrypt only 1 file for free. File must not contain valuable information.
You can get and look video overview decrypt tool:
Price of private key and decrypt software is $980.
Discount 50% available if you contact us first 72 hours, that's price for you is $490.
Please note that you'll never restore your data without payment.
Check your e-mail "Spam" folder if you don't get answer more than 6 hours.
To get this software you need write on our e-mail:
Reserve e-mail address to contact us:
Your personal ID:

Screenshot of files encrypted by Charck (".chark" extension):

Files encrypted by Charck

As with most ransomware from the Djvu family, Charck also displays a fake Windows update pop-up during encryption:

Djvu ransomware family fake update

IMPORTANT NOTE! - Ransomware-type infections from the Djvu malware family are designed to add a number of entries to the Windows hosts file. The entries contain URLs of various websites, most of which are related to malware removal. This done to prevent users from accessing malware security websites and seeking help. Our website ( is also on the list. Removing these entries, however, is simple - you can find detailed instructions in this article (note that, although the steps are shown in the Windows 10 environment, the process is virtually identical on all versions of the Microsoft Windows operating system).

Screenshot of websites added to the Windows hosts file:

Tro Ransomware adding websites to Windows Hosts file

Charck ransomware removal:

Instant automatic removal of Charck 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 Charck 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 Charck 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 Charck 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 Charck 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 Charck 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 Charck, 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 Charck 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 Charck ransomware: