DDOS ransomware removal instructions
What is DDOS?
Discovered by Jakub Kroustek, DDOS is yet another ransomware infection from the Dharma family. DDOS is designed to stealthily infiltrate the system and encrypt most stored files. During encryption, DDOS renames each file by appending the ".DDOS" extension plus the victim's unique ID and developer's email address. For example, "1.jpg" might be renamed to a filename such as "1.jpg.id-1E857D00.[firstname.lastname@example.org].DDOS". As with other ransomware from the Dharma family, DDOS opens a pop-up window and stores a text file ("RETURN FILES.txt") on the desktop.
The new text file contains a short message stating that files are encrypted and encouraging users to contact the developers. Meanwhile, the pop-up window provides much more detail. It states that data recovery requires a unique decryption key. Unfortunately, this information is accurate. Developers state that data has been encrypted using an asymmetric encryption algorithm RSA-1024. Thus, each victim gets two unique keys: public (encryption) and private (decryption). Cyber criminals store all keys on a remote server, and to receive their keys, each victim must pay a ransom. It is also stated that payment must be submitted within seven days after encryption, otherwise the keys are overwritten by other people's keys. In this case, keys are permanently deleted and decryption becomes impossible. The cost is not specified. These details are provided via email, however, ransomware developers usually demand $500-$1500 with payment required in Bitcoins, Monero, DASH, Ethereum, or other cryptocurrencies - this allows these people to remain anonymous. Victims are also allowed to attach one selected file (up to 1 MB [non-archived] in size). The attached file is restored and returned as 'proof' that decryption is possible and that these people can be trusted, however, research shows that cyber criminals often ignore victims, once payments are submitted. Therefore, paying usually gives no positive result and users are scammed. All requests to contact these people or especially submit payments should be ignored. Unfortunately, there are no tools capable of restoring data encrypted by DDOS 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:
There are dozens of ransomware infections that share many similarities. DrWeb, SYSTEM FAILURE, and Bufas are just some examples from many. As with DDOS, these infections also encrypt data and make ransom demands. They generally have just two major differences: cost of decryption and type of encryption algorithm used. Such infections typically employ RSA, AES and other similar algorithms designed to generate unique decryption keys. Therefore, decryption without developers involvement is impossible, unless the virus is still in development or has certain bugs/flaws (e.g., the key is stored locally, is hard-coded, or similar). Ransomware presents a strong case for maintaining regular backups, however, store them on a remote server (such as Cloud) or an unplugged storage device (Flash drive, external hard drive, or similar). Locally stored backups are encrypted together with regular data. Also have multiple backup copies stored in different locations, since there is always a chance that the hardware/server might be damaged.
How did ransomware infect my computer?
The way developers proliferate DDOS is currently unknown. Be aware, however, that such infections are typically proliferated using unofficial software download sources, spam email campaigns, trojans, and fake software updaters, and cracks. Criminals use third party software download sources (peer-to-peer [P2P] networks, freeware download websites, free file hosting sites, etc.) to present malicious executables as legitimate software. In this way, users are tricked into manual download/installation of malware. Spam email campaigns are also used in a similar manner. Criminals send hundreds of thousands of deceptive emails encouraging users to open malicious attachments (links/files). These are usually presented as important/official documents in attempts to give the impression of legitimacy and trick users into opening them. Trojans are also a popular tool used to proliferate ransomware. These malicious applications stealthily infiltrate computers and inject them with additional malware. Fake update tools usually infect computers in two ways: 1) by exploiting outdated software bugs/flaws, or; 2) downloading and installing viruses rather than the promised/expected updates. Finally, as with updaters, fake 'cracks' download and install malware rather than providing users with access to paid features. In summary, the main reasons for computer infections are poor knowledge of these threats and careless behavior.
|Threat Type||Ransomware, Crypto Virus, Files locker|
|Encrypted Files Extension||.DDOS (this ransomware is also designed to append filenames with victim's unique ID and developer's email address).|
|Ransom Demanding Message||Pop-up windows, RETURN FILES.txt text file.|
|Cyber Criminal Contactemail@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org|
|Detection Names||Avast (Win32:Malware-gen), BitDefender (Gen:Heur.Titirez.1.F), ESET-NOD32 (a variant of Win32/Kryptik.GTAT), Malwarebytes (Trojan.MalPack.GS.Generic), 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.|
|Malware Removal (Windows)||
To eliminate possible malware infections, scan your computer with legitimate antivirus software. Our security researchers recommend using Malwarebytes.
How to protect yourself from ransomware infections?
Be very cautious when browsing the Internet and downloading, installing, and updating software. Handle all email attachments with care. Files/links that are irrelevant and those received from suspicious/unrecognizable email addresses should never be opened. These emails should be deleted without reading. Furthermore, download software from official sources only, using direct download links. Third party downloaders/installers often include rogue apps, and thus these tools should never be used. The same applies to software updates. Keep installed applications and operating systems up-to-date, however, use only implemented functions or tools provided by the official developer. You should never attempt to crack installed applications, since the risk of infection is extremely high and, furthermore, software piracy is a cyber crime. Have a reputable anti-virus/anti-spyware suite installed and running, since this software can detect and eliminate malware before it harms the system. If your computer is already infected with DDOS, we recommend running a scan with Malwarebytes for Windows to automatically eliminate this ransomware.
Text presented in DDOS ransomware pop-up window:
All FILES ENCRYPTED "RSA1024"
All YOUR FILES HAVE BEEN ENCRYPTED!!! IF YOU WANT TO RESTORE THEM, WRITE US TO THE E-MAIL email@example.com
IN THE LETTER WRITE YOUR ID, YOUR ID 1E857D00
IF YOU ARE NOT ANSWERED, WRITE TO EMAIL:firstname.lastname@example.org
YOUR SECRET KEY WILL BE STORED ON A SERVER 7 DAYS, AFTER 7 DAYS IT MAY BE OVERWRITTEN BY OTHER KEYS, DON'T PULL TIME, WAITING YOUR EMAIL
FREE DECRYPTION FOR PROOF
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.)
When you make sure of decryption possibility transfer the money to our bitcoin wallet. As soon as we receive the money we will send you:
1. Decryption program.
2. Detailed instruction for decryption.
3. And individual keys for decrypting your files.
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 DDOS text file ("RETURN FILES.txt"):
Text presented within this file:
All your data is encrypted!
for return write to mail:
email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
Screenshot of files encrypted by DDOS (".DDOS" extension):
DDOS ransomware removal:
Instant automatic malware removal:
Manual threat removal might be a lengthy and complicated process that requires advanced computer skills. Malwarebytes is a professional automatic malware removal tool that is recommended to get rid of malware. Download it by clicking the button below:
- What is DDOS?
- STEP 1. DDOS virus removal using safe mode with networking.
- STEP 2. DDOS ransomware removal using System Restore.
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.
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.
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.
Video showing how to start Windows 10 in "Safe Mode with Networking":
Log in to the account infected with the DDOS 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.
2. When Command Prompt mode loads, enter the following line: cd restore and press ENTER.
3. Next, type this line: rstrui.exe and press ENTER.
4. In the opened window, click "Next".
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 DDOS ransomware virus infiltrating your PC).
6. In the opened window, click "Yes".
7. After restoring your computer to a previous date, download and scan your PC with recommended malware removal software to eliminate any remaining DDOS 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 DDOS 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.
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 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 DDOS 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 Documents, Pictures, Videos, Music, Favorites as well as Desktop folders.
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:
Malwarebytes Anti-Ransomware Beta uses advanced proactive technology that monitors ransomware activity and terminates it immediately - before reaching users' files:
- 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 DDOS ransomware: