LOVE Ransomware

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

LOVE ransomware removal instructions

What is LOVE?

Discovered by Jakub Kroustek and Belonging to the Dharma malware family, LOVE is a malicious program that cyber criminals (developers) use to block access to data. This ransomware-type program is used to encrypt files and prevent access to them unless a ransom is paid. This ransomware renames encrypted files by adding an extension which contains the victim's ID, an email address for contacting cyber criminals, and the name of the ransomware. For example, "1.jpg" might be renamed to a filename such as "[].LOVE". It also creates a short ransom message with the "FILES ENCRYPTED.txt" text file and displays an extended version of this in a pop-up window.

To recover their files/data, victims are encouraged to contact LOVE developers via the or email address. To receive a decryption tool at a cheaper rate, victims are encouraged to email these people immediately. The email must contain the appointed ID. The criminals should then provide a cryptocurrency wallet address and state the cost of decryption. Once their demands are met/the ransom is paid, they promise to provide a decryption tool. Before paying, victims are permitted to send them one file that they will decrypt free of charge. They offer this free decryption as a 'guarantee' that they have a tool capable of decrypting the victim's data. Victims are warned that renaming locked files or trying to decrypt them using other tools might cause permanent data loss. The developers of LOVE inform victims that the only way to decrypt their files is to purchase a decryption tool from them. Most cyber criminals use cryptography algorithms (symmetric or asymmetric) that cause strong encryptions. Generally, these are impossible to decrypt without using a specific decryption tool or key. Therefore, victims are forced to contact cyber criminals and make payments for decryption tools. Despite this, do not contact LOVE (or other ransomware) developers. There is a high probability that they will not send any decryption tool even if their victims meet their demands/pay a ransom. The best free way to recover encrypted files is to restore them from a data backup.

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

LOVE decrypt instructions

There are many ransomware-type viruses that are very similar to LOVE including, for example, MegaLocker, Langolier, and Etols. Most programs of this type encrypt files and keep them locked unless a ransom is paid. Main differences are usually cost of decryption and cryptography algorithm used to encrypt files. Typically, it impossible to recover/decrypt these files manually, unless the program contains bugs/flaws or is not fully developed. For these reasons, maintain regular backups and store them on disconnected/unplugged storage devices or remote servers such as Cloud.

How did ransomware infect my computer?

Ransomware-type (and other) infections are usually proliferated through spam campaigns (emails), Trojan viruses, third party, dubious software download sources, fake software updaters, and programs that allow users to bypass paid software activation. Cyber criminals send emails that contain attached files such as MS Office documents, Java Script files, ZIP, RAR and other archives, executables (.exe files), PDFs, and so on. If opened, these attachments download and install malicious software such as ransomware. Peer-to-Peer networks, free file hosting websites, free software download sites, unofficial pages and other similar sources can be used to proliferate viruses. Cyber criminals use them to present infected files as legitimate. By downloading and opening them, unsuspecting users cause installation of malicious programs. Trojans cause chain infections. If a Trojan is installed, it starts proliferating other viruses. Fake software updaters can also cause infections. These tools usually download and install malicious software rather than updates and fixes, or they exploit bugs/flaws of installed, outdated software. Software 'cracking' tools work in a similar manner. People use them to bypass paid software activation, however, these tools often download and install computer infections.

Threat Summary:
Name LOVE virus
Threat Type Ransomware, Crypto Virus, Files locker.
Encrypted Files Extension .[victim's_ID].[developer's_email].LOVE (e.g., .id-1E857D00.[].LOVE)
Ransom Demanding Message Pop-up window, FILES ENCRYPTED.txt text file.
Cyber Criminal Contact,
Detection Names (11.exe) Avast (Win32:Trojan-gen), BitDefender (Gen:Variant.Ransom.Troldesh.177), ESET-NOD32 (a variant of Win32/Packed.Themida.BHF), Kaspersky (Trojan-Ransom.Win32.Crusis.dhh), 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.
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.

To eliminate LOVE 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?

Download software from official websites and use direct download links only. Do not open attachments or web links that are included in emails received from unknown, suspicious addresses. These are often presented as official and important, however, they are generally irrelevant. Update installed software using official/implemented tools that are provided by official software developers. Any other (third party) tools cannot be trusted. The same applies to software 'cracking' tools - software should be activated properly. Besides, using programs of this type is a cyber crime. Have reputable anti-virus or anti-spyware software installed and enabled. If your computer is already infected with LOVE, we recommend running a scan with Spyhunter for Windows to automatically eliminate this ransomware.

Text presented in LOVE 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
Write this ID in the title of your message 1E857D00
In case of no answer in 24 hours write us to theese
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 LOVE text file ("FILES ENCRYPTED.txt"):

LOVE text file

Text presented in LOVE ransomware text file:

all your data has been locked us
You want to return?
write email or

Screenshot of files encrypted by LOVE (".LOVE" extension):

Files encrypted by LOVE

LOVE ransomware removal:

Instant automatic removal of LOVE 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 LOVE 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 LOVE 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 LOVE 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 LOVE 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 LOVE 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 LOVE, 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 LOVE 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 LOVE 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 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

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

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

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