ATAWARE Ransomware

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

ATAWARE ransomware removal instructions

What is ATAWARE?

Discovered by Securityinbits, ATAWARE is a high-risk virus, a ransomware-type program designed to encrypt files stored on victims' computers and keep them unusable until a ransom is paid. The program adds the ".ATANUR" extension to each encrypted file. For example, "1.jpg" becomes "1.jpg.ATANUR". Once a computer is infected and files are encrypted, ATAWARE displays a ransom message in a pop-up window. It also creates the "Decryptor.exe" file and places it on the Desktop.

The pop-up window states that all data was encrypted and can no longer be accessed. Cyber criminals behind this ransomware target random users of ATAWARE to encrypt their files. They state that the cost of decryption is "500 points" (of an unknown currency), however, they provide no details about how to contact the developers or pay. Therefore, it is likely that this ransomware is still in development. Clicking the "Decrypt" button in the pop-up window opens another pop-up window suggesting that the user waits until the decryptor finishes its job. This, however, does not seem to be working. This is the same situation with the "Decryptor.exe" file placed on the Desktop - it does not work. Ransomware-type programs that are unfinished are sometimes possible to 'crack' without having to contact cyber criminals or pay any ransom, however, there is no tool capable of file decryption encrypted by ATAWARE (at least not at the moment). Frequently, only cyber criminals have the correct decryption tools. In this case, we recommend that you use a data backup and restore all files from there.

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

ATAWARE decrypt instructions

Ransomware-type programs generally perform similar operations. They encrypt data and display ransom messages. Some other examples include MegaLocker, Langolier, and Etols. Main differences between these programs are usually cost of decryption and cryptography algorithm (symmetric or asymmetric) used for encryption. Unfortunately, most encryptions are impossible to decrypt without using specific decryption tools. Typically, these can only be provided by cyber criminals. Free decryption is possible only if the ransomware is not complete, has bugs/flaws, and so on (these cases are rare). Therefore, maintain regular backups and keep them stored on remote servers or unplugged/disconnected storage devices.

How did ransomware infect my computer?

Most common ways to proliferate ransomware (and other viruses) are though spam campaigns (emails), fake software updaters, untrustworthy software download sources, Trojans, and software 'cracking' tools. Cyber criminals often attempt to infect people's computers through malicious email attachments. They send emails that contain Microsoft Office documents, PDFs, executables (.exe files), JavaScript files, and archives (ZIP, RAR and others). If opened, they download and install ransomware or other malicious programs. Fake software updaters cause damage by exploiting outdated software flaws/bugs or by downloading and installing viruses rather than updates or fixes. P2P (Peer-to-Peer) networks such as eMule, torrent clients and so on, third party downloaders, unofficial pages, freeware and free file hosting websites, and other sources of this kind are often used to present infected files as legitimate. If users download and open them, however, they install malware. Most Trojans cause chain infections by proliferating other malicious programs, however, to cause any damage a Trojan must be already installed. Software cracking tools are programs that supposedly activate paid software free of charge, however, some cyber criminals use them to proliferate computer infections. Therefore, they often install malicious programs rather than activating any software or operating systems.

Threat Summary:
Name ATAWARE virus
Threat Type Ransomware, Crypto Virus, Files locker.
Encrypted Files Extension .ATANUR
Ransom Demanding Message Pop-up window.
Ransom Amount 500 points (currency is unknown).
Detection Names (ATAPIUpdtr.bin) Avast (Win64:Trojan-gen), BitDefender (Trojan.GenericKD.31881027), ESET-NOD32 (a variant of Win64/Filecoder.ATAWARE.A), Kaspersky (Trojan.Win32.Khalesi.oty), Full List Of Detections (VirusTotal)
Symptoms Cannot open files stored on your computer, previously functional files now have a different extension (for example, my.docx.locked). A ransom demand message is displayed on your desktop. Cyber criminals demand payment of a ransom (usually in Bitcoins) to unlock your files.
Additional Information At time of research, ATAWARE was not fully developed, since it did not provide any payment information and its decrypt function was not working.
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 ATAWARE 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?

Do not open attachments that are presented in emails received from unknown, suspicious addresses. Files that are attached to irrelevant emails (even if they are presented as 'important' or 'official') should not be opened. Update installed software (or operating systems) using implemented functions or tools provided by official developers only. Any other (third party) tools cannot be trusted. Furthermore, download all software from official websites and using direct links. Do not use other, dubious sources. Use of software cracking tools is illegal and often leads to serious computer infections. Having reputable anti-spyware or anti-virus software installed and keeping it enabled is important. If your computer is already infected with ATAWARE, we recommend running a scan with Spyhunter for Windows to automatically eliminate this ransomware.

Text presented in ATAWARE ransomware pop-up window:

---FAQ---

--What happened?--

Your data were encrypted and you don't have an access to your assets anymore.
You may attempt to decrypt your files, however,it may be just waste of your time.

--Who are you?--

We are just random people.

--How can I contact you?--

Unfortunately you can't contact us.We do not provide customer service.

--How can I restore my files?--

You may kindly ask for a decryption key,but it will cost you 500 points.

--If I pay, do you guarantee to send me the decryption key?--

We always guarantee high quality services.

Screenshot of ATAWARE pop-up window after clicking the "Decrypt" button:

ataware pop-up window after clicking decrypt button

Screenshot of files encrypted by ATAWARE (".ATANUR" extension):

Files encrypted by ATAWARE

ATAWARE ransomware removal:

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

PCrisk security portal is brought by a company RCS LT. Joined forces of security researchers help educate computer users about the latest online security threats. More information about the company RCS LT.

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Malware activity

Global virus and spyware activity level today:

Medium threat activity
Medium

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

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

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