Verasto Ransomware

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

Verasto ransomware removal instructions

What is Verasto?

Verasto is high-risk ransomware discovered by Michael Gillespie. This malware belongs to yet another variant of a ransomware virus called Djvu. As with its predecessor, Verasto encrypts stored data and renames each compromised file by adding the ".verasto" extension (e.g., "sample.jpg" is renamed to "sample.jpg.verasto"). Encrypted data instantly becomes unusable. Additionally, Verasto stores a text file called "READ_ME.txt" in every existing folder.

The new text file contains a message identical to those provided by other ransomware from the Djvu family. It essentially states that data is encrypted and can only be restored using a unique decryption tool/key. Unfortunately, this information is accurate. It is currently unconfirmed whether Verasto uses symmetric or asymmetric cryptography, however, each victim receives a unique decryption key, which is necessary to restore data. All keys are stored on a remote server controlled cyber criminals. Therefore, to receive a key (together with a decryption tool) and recover data, each victim must pay a ransom of $980. To receive all payment details and decryption instructions, victims must contact cyber criminals via an email address provided or telegram. It is also stated that victims who contact these people within 72 hours after encryption will receive a 50% discount (the cost will drop to $490). In any case, you should never agree to pay. Cyber criminals usually ignore victims, once payments are submitted. Therefore, ignore all requests to submit payments or even contact these people. Unfortunately, Verasto is undecryptable ransomware - there are no tools capable of cracking its decryption and restoring data free of charge. The only solution is to restore everything from a backup, if one has been created.

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

Verasto decrypt instructions

The internet is full of ransomware-type infections, all of which are very similar. For example, Phoenix-Phobos, Exploit, and Cube. Most ransomware infections compromise data (typically, by encryption) and make ransom demands. Unfortunately, ransomware infections typically employ cryptographies such as RSA, AES, and similar that generate unique decryption keys. Therefore, unless the virus is still in development or has certain bugs/flaws (e.g., the key is hard-coded, it is stored locally or similar), manual recovery without the help of developers is impossible. Ransomware is one of the main reasons why you should maintain regular backups, however, store them on a remote server/unplugged storage device (e.g., Cloud, Flash drive, external hard drive, etc.), since locally stored backups are encrypted with regular data.

How did ransomware infect my computer?

The way in which cyber criminals proliferate Verasto is currently unknown, however, ransomware is usually spread using trojans, fake software updaters/cracks, third party software download sources, and spam email campaigns. Trojans are simple - they are malicious applications that stealthily infiltrate computers and inject them with additional malware. Fake software updaters infect computers by exploiting outdated software bugs/flaws or simply downloading and installing malware rather than the promised updates. Cracks bypass paid software activation, however, since criminals often use them to proliferate malware, users are much more likely to infect their computers than gain access to paid features. Unofficial software download sources are used to proliferate malware by presenting it as legitimate software. In doing so, cyber criminals trick users into downloading and installing malware manually. Cyber criminals use spam email campaigns to send hundreds of thousands of emails consisting of malicious attachments and deceptive messages encouraging users to open them. The attachments are typically presented as receipts, invoices, bills, or other important documents - this to give the impression of legitimacy. In fact, the result is identical: infiltration of malware. In summary, the main reasons for computer infections are poor knowledge of these threats and careless behavior.

Threat Summary:
Name Verasto virus
Threat Type Ransomware, Crypto Virus, Files locker.
Encrypted Files Extension .verasto
Ransom Demanding Message READ_ME.txt text file
Ransom Amount $980/$490
Cyber Criminal Contact vengisto@firemail.cc, vengisto@india.com, @datarestore telegram
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 request payment of a ransom (usually in Bitcoins) to unlock your files.
Additional Information This malware is designed to show fake Windows Update window, modify Windows "hosts" file (to prevent users from accessing cyber security websites) and inject 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 Verasto virus our malware researchers recommend scanning your computer with Spyhunter.
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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?

To prevent computer infections, be very cautious when browsing the internet and downloading, installing, and updating software. Never use third party downloaders/installers, since these tools often include rogue apps. Software should be downloaded from official sources only, using direct download links. Similar rules apply to software updates. Keep installed applications and operating systems updated, however, this should be achieved only through implemented functions or tools provided by the official developer. Software piracy is a cyber crime. Furthermore, the risk of computer infections is extremely high. Therefore, you should never attempt to crack known installed applications. Finally, have a reputable anti-virus/anti-spyware suite installed and running, since these tools can detect and eliminate most computer infections before they do any harm. If your computer is already infected with Verasto, we recommend running a scan with Spyhunter for Windows to automatically eliminate this ransomware.

Text presented in Verasto ransomware text file ("READ_ME.txt"):

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-aSdhfTOs1G
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" or "Junk" folder if you don't get answer more than 6 hours.

To get this software you need write on our e-mail:
vengisto@firemail.cc
 
Reserve e-mail address to contact us:
vengisto@india.com
 
Support Telegram account:
@datarestore
 
Your personal ID:
-

Screenshot of files encrypted by Verasto (".verasto" extension):

Files encrypted by Verasto

Malware researcher Michael Gillespie has developed a decryption tool that might restore your data if it was encrypted using an "offline key". As we mentioned, each victim receives a unique decryption key, all of which are stored on remote servers controlled by cyber criminals. These are categorized as "online keys", however, there are cases when the infected machine has no internet connection or the server is timing out/not responding. If this is the case, Verasto will use an "offline encryption key", which is hard-coded. Note that cyber criminals change offline keys occasionally to prevent multiple encryptions with the same key. Michael Gillespie continually gathers offline keys and updates the decrypter. Nevertheless, the chances of successful decryption are still very low, since only a very small portion of "offline keys" have been gathered. You can download the decrypter by clicking this link (note that the download link remains identical, even though the decrypter is continually updated). Your files will be restored only if the list of gathered keys includes the one that was used to encrypt your data.

Screenshot of STOP/Djvu decrypter by Michael Gillespie:

STOP/Djvu ransomware decrypter by Michael Gillespie

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

Djvu ransomware family fake update

IMPORTANT NOTE! - As well as encrypting data, ransomware-type infections from Djvu malware family also install 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 done to prevent users from accessing malware security websites and seeking 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

Verasto ransomware removal:

Instant automatic removal of Verasto 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 Verasto 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 Verasto 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 Verasto 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 Verasto 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 Verasto 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 Verasto, 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 Verasto 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 Verasto 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
Verasto virus QR code
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Platform: Windows

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