French101 Ransomware

Also Known As: French101 virus
Distribution: Low
Damage level: Severe

French101 ransomware removal instructions

What is French101?

Discovered by security researcher Petrovic, French101 is malicious software categorized as ransomware. Developers use it to block access to users' files by encryption. To regain access to their data, victims are encouraged to pay a ransom. Like most ransomware-type programs, it renames encrypted files by adding its own extension. In this case, it changes the name of the file to a random string and adds the ".french101" extension. For example, "1.jpg" might be renamed to a filename such as "bvMqp5yz0AL98A.french101". French101 also creates a ransom message within the "HOW TO RECOVER ENCRYPTED FILES.TXT" text file.

French101 victims are encouraged to send their personal IDs to cyber criminals as confirmation that they are ready to pay a ransom. Furthermore, they are urged to do this immediately, since the faster they do this, the lower the cost of decryption (decryption tool/key). To contact cyber criminals, victims are provided with three email addresses: french101@protonmail.ch, french101@cock.li, and french101@india.com. The criminals will then send instructions on how to make payment. The ransom message states that payment must be made using Bitcoins. Before paying, French101 victims are permitted to send developers up to three files, which will be decrypted free of charge. Typically, cyber criminals offer free decryption of some files as 'proof' that they have the tool required to decrypt the files. Additionally, French101 developers urge victims not to rename any encrypted files or try to decrypt them using other, third party software. They state that this might cause permanent data loss or increase the cost of the decryption tool. Typically, only the people who develop these programs can provide tools required for successful decryption. They use cryptography algorithms (symmetric or asymmetric) that are impossible to 'crack'. Note that cyber criminals cannot be trusted. In many cases, victims pay via a cryptocurrency but receive nothing in return. Unfortunately, there is no free tool able to decrypt files encrypted by French101. The only option to recover files free of charge is to use a backup and restore all data from there.

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

French101 decrypt instructions

Most ransomware-type viruses are very similar. They have two main purposes: to encrypt data and encourage victims to purchase a decryption key or tool. Generally, the main differences between these programs are cost of decryption and cryptography algorithm used to encrypt data. Unfortunately, most victims are forced to contact cyber criminals, since decryption without using their tools is impossible. This is possible only if the ransomware is not fully developed, has bugs/flaws etc. Therefore, we recommend that you maintain regular backups and store them on remote servers or unplugged storage devices. Other computer infections similar to French101 include MegaLocker, Langolier, and Tellyouthepass.

How did ransomware infect my computer?

To proliferate ransomware and other infections, cyber criminals use spam campaigns, untrustworthy software download sources, software 'cracking' tools, Trojans and fake software updaters. They use spam email campaigns to cause infections through attachments. Cyber criminals attach malicious documents (such as Microsoft Office, archive, executable, PDF, and other files) and hope that recipients open them. Once opened, infected attachments download and install viruses. Untrustworthy software download sources such as free file hosting, freeware download websites, Peer-to-Peer (P2P) networks, unofficial pages and other sources of this kind can be used to present malicious (infected) files as legitimate. When people download and open them, they install viruses. Software 'cracking' tools often download and install ransomware and cause other computer infections rather than activating software or operating systems without payment. Trojans also proliferate computer infections. If installed, these malicious programs proliferate other computer infections. In this way, they open 'backdoors' for other viruses. Fake software updaters can be used to download and install infections rather than updates/fixes or to exploit outdated software bugs/flaws.

Threat Summary:
Name French101 virus
Threat Type Ransomware, Crypto Virus, Files locker.
Encrypted Files Extension .french101 (this ransomware also renames encrypted files to random strings)
Ransom Demanding Message HOW TO RECOVER ENCRYPTED FILES.TXT text file.
Cyber Criminal Contact french101@protonmail.ch, french101@cock.li, french101@india.com
Detection Names (singleupdate.exe) Avast (Win32:Trojan-gen), BitDefender (Trojan.GenericKD.41199186), ESET-NOD32 (Win32/Filecoder.FS), Kaspersky (Trojan.Win32.Zenpak.eoq), Full List Of Detections (VirusTotal)
Rogue Process Name Reset Handled Affordances.
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 a ransom payment (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.
Removal

To eliminate French101 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?

Study emails that contain attachments or web links. If an attached file or link is presented in an irrelevant email, or received from an unknown, suspicious address, do not open it. Download software using official, trustworthy sources and direct links only. Third party downloaders and other sources mentioned above should not be used. Update software properly, using tools or implemented functions that are provided by official developers only. If software is not free, it should be activated properly. Using third party 'cracking' tools is a cyber crime. Furthermore, these programs often cause computer infections. Keep your computer safe from infections by having a reputable anti-virus or anti-spyware suite installed and keeping it enabled at all times. If your computer is already infected with French101, we recommend running a scan with Spyhunter for Windows to automatically eliminate this ransomware.

Text presented in French101 ransomware text file "HOW TO RECOVER ENCRYPTED FILES.TXT":

Your files are now encrypted!

Your personal identifier:
-

All your files have been encrypted due to a security problem with your PC.

Now you should send us email with your personal identifier.
This email will be as confirmation you are ready to pay for decryption key.
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.

Contact us using this email address: french101@protonmail.ch (french101@cock.li, french101@india.com)


Free decryption as guarantee!
Before paying you can send us up to 3 files for free decryption.
The total size of files must be less than 10Mb (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:
   hxxps://localbitcoins.com/buy_bitcoins
 * Also you can find other places to buy Bitcoins and beginners guide here:   
   hxxp://www.coindesk.com/information/how-can-i-buy-bitcoins
 
Attention!   
 * 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 files encrypted by French101 (".french101" extension):

Files encrypted by French101

Screenshot of French101 malicious process running in Task Manager as "Reset Handled Affordances":

french101 process running in task manager as reset handled affordances

French101 ransomware removal:

Instant automatic removal of French101 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 French101 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 French101 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 French101 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 French101 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 French101 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 French101, 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 French101 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 French101 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
French101 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 French101 virus on your mobile device.
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Platform: Windows

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