Etols Ransomware

Also Known As: Etols virus
Distribution: Moderate
Damage level: Severe

Etols ransomware removal instructions

What is Etols?

Etols is a malicious program, ransomware-type virus that encrypts files stored on a computer and allows its developers to ask/demand for a ransom. It belongs to Djvu ransomware family. Etols adds the ".etols" extension to every encrypted file, in other words, it renames them. For example, it changes "1.jpg" file to "1.jpg.etols" and so on. It also creates a ransom note, it can be found in all folders that contain encrypted files as a text file named "_readme.txt".

As stated in the ransom note, all files were encrypted and can be decrypted using only decryption tool that has to be purchased from people/cyber criminals who developed Etols. They offer a free decryption of one file that can be sent to them via merosa@india.com. However, to decrypt other files victims must pay $980. According to Etols's developers, victims who will contact them in 72 hours after decryption will get 50% discount. In other words, decryption tool will cost $490. They also make it clear that this is the only way to decrypt files. To buy a decryption tool, victims must contact cyber criminals via the aforementioned email address. However, we do not recommend to contact or pay them. It is very likely that they will not send the decryption tool (or key) even if the ransom is paid. Unfortunately, most cyber criminals do not lie when they say that they are the only ones who have tools capable of decrypting locked files. Most of the times they use cryptography algorithms (symmetric or asymmetric) that generate unique decryption keys. It means that only a particular tool/key can decrypt a particular encryption. In most cases the only free way to restore files is to use data backup.

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

Etols decrypt instructions

Couple examples of other ransomware-type infections are Spyhunter, Raldug, Carcn. Typically, these viruses are quite similar. They are used to encrypt data and to demand to pay a ransom. Main differences are the price of a decryption (decryption key or tool) and the cryptography algorithm that is used to encrypt victim's data. Unfortunately, encryptions caused by ransomware usually are impossible to decrypt without interference of cyber criminals. It becomes possible only if it is not fully developed and has some bugs, flaws. That is why we recommend to create data backups regularly and to keep them stored in unplugged storage devices or/and remote servers such as Cloud and so on.

How did ransomware infect my computer?

There are various ways to spread ransomware-type and other infections. Usually cyber criminals use spam campaigns, Trojans, fake software updating tools, software 'cracking' programs and untrustworthy software download sources for that. Spam campaigns are used to spread computer infections through email attachments. Attached files could be Microsoft Office documents, archives such as ZIP, RAR, PDF documents, executables, JavaScript files or some other files. Once opened, these attachments download and install malicious programs. Trojans, in order to cause infections, must be already installed. When installed, start to proliferate other malicious programs. Fake (unofficial) software updaters infect systems by downloading and installing malware instead of the updates/fixes, or exploiting bugs or flaws of some outdated software. Programs that supposed to activate software for free often download and install malicious programs instead of allowing their users to bypass paid activations. Free file hosting and freeware download websites, Peer-to-Peer networks, third party software downloaders, unofficial pages and other similar software download sources can be used to spread viruses too. Cuber criminals use them to present infected files as legitimate, harmless files. When people download and open them, they install high-risk viruses.

Threat Summary:
Name Etols virus
Threat Type Ransomware, Crypto Virus, Files locker
Encrypted Files Extension .etols
Ransom Demanding Message _readme.txt text file
Ransom Amount $980/$490
Cyber Criminal Contact merosa@india.com, merosa@firemail.cc
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.
Additional Information Displays a fake Windows update pop-up, modifies Windows Host file, injects AZORult trojan into the system.
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.
Removal

To eliminate Etols 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?

Avoid opening attachments or web links added to emails that are received from unknown/suspicious addresses. These emails usually are irrelevant but presented as important and official. They should not be trusted/their attachments opened. Furthermore, download software using direct links and official websites only. Update installed software using tools or implemented functions that are provided by official software developers, third party tools should not be used for that. Software should be activated properly. Usage of various 'cracking' tools is a cyber crime and often leads to computer infections. One more important thing is to have a reputable anti-virus or anti-spyware installed and to keep it enabled at all times. If your computer is already infected with Etols, we recommend running a scan with Spyhunter for Windows to automatically eliminate this ransomware.

Text presented in Etols ransomware's text file :

ATTENTION!

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:
hxxps://we.tl/t-1LFQOfI0Se
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:
merosa@india.com

Reserve e-mail address to contact us:
merosa@firemail.cc

Your personal ID:

-

Screenshot of files encrypted by Etols (".etols" extension):

Files encrypted by Etols

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

Djvu ransomware family fake update

IMPORTANT NOTE! - Aside from encrypting data, ransomware-type infections from Djvu malware family also installs a trojan-type virus called AZORult, which is designed to steal various account credentials. Moreover, this malware family is 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 is carried out with the intention of making users unable to access malware security websites and seek help. Our website (PCrisk.com) 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 Windows hosts file:

Tro Ransomware adding websites to Windows Hosts file

Etols ransomware removal:

Instant automatic removal of Etols 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 Etols 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 Etols 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 Etols 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 Etols 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 Etols 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 Etols, 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 Etols ransomware.

Note that Windows 10 Fall Creators Update includes "Controlled Folder Access" feature that blocks ransomware attempts to encrypt your files. By default this feature automatically protects files stored in 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's more information on how to get this update and add 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 Etols ransomware: