Actin Ransomware

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

Actin ransomware removal instructions

What is Actin?

Actin is yet another variant of high-risk ransomware called Phobos. After successful infiltration, Actin encrypts most stored data, thereby making it unusable. Additionally, Actin appends filenames with the victim's unique ID, developer's email address, and the ".actin" extension. For instance, "sample.jpg" might be renamed to a filename such as "sample.jpg.jpg.id[1E857D00-1104].[kew07@qq.com].actin". Once data is encrypted, Actin creates an HTML application ("info.hta"), which displays a pop-up window and a text file ("info.txt"). Updated variants of this ransomware use ".[backupcompany@cock.li].actin" extension for encrypted files.

The new text file contains a very short message stating that files are encrypted and that victims should contact criminals if they wish to restore them. The pop-up window delivers some more detail. It states that files have been encrypted due to a 'security problem and that victims must purchase a decryption tool if they wish to restore them. It is currently unknown whether Actin uses symmetric or asymmetric cryptography, however, each victim receives a unique decryption key necessary to restore data. Victims cannot access their keys, since developers hide them on a remote server. Therefore, victims are forced to purchase a decryption tool with the key embedded within. The cost is not specified, but supposedly depends on how quickly victims contact cyber criminals, however, costs usually fluctuate between $500 and $1500. The message also states that payments must be submitted using the Bitcoin cryptocurrency and that victims can attach up to five selected files (no greater than 10 MB in total size). These files are decrypted and returned as 'proof' that criminals are capable of restoring data. They do this to gain the victim's trust, however, these people should never be trusted. Research shows that cyber criminals often ignore victims, once payments are submitted. Therefore, all requests to contact these people or submit payments should be ignored. There is a high probability that paying will deliver no positive result and you will simply be scammed. Unfortunately, there are no tools capable of cracking Actin encryption 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:

Actin decrypt instructions

Actin shares many similarities with Rectot, Virus-encoder, india2lock, and dozens of other ransomware-type infections. All malware of this type compromises data (typically, by encryption) so that developers can make ransom demands by offering paid recovery of files. Unfortunately, these infections typically encrypt data using cryptographies such as RSA, AES, and similar, that generate unique decryption keys. Therefore, unless the malware is not fully-developed or has bugs/flaws, then manual recovery (without developers' involvement) is impossible. Actin and other similar infections present a strong case for maintaining regular backups, however, store them on a remote server or unplugged storage device, since locally stored backups are encrypted together with regular data. Also have multiple backup copies stored in different locations, since servers and storage devices can be damaged.

How did ransomware infect my computer?

The exact way developers proliferate Actin is currently unknown, however, the most commonly-used tools/methods are trojans, fake software updaters/cracks, third party software download sources, and spam email campaigns. Trojans cause so-called "chain infections". They stealthily infiltrate computers and inject them with additional malware. Fake software updaters usually infect systems by exploiting outdated software bugs/flaws or simply downloading and installing malware rather than updates. Fake 'cracks' also have similar behavior. The idea behind software cracks is to activate paid applications free of charge, however, most are fake and users can end up infecting their computers rather than gaining access to paid features. Unofficial download sources (peer-to-peer networks, free file hosting websites, freeware download websites, etc.) are used to present malicious executables as legitimate software. In doing so, criminals trick users into manual download/installation of malware. Finally, spam email campaigns are used to send hundreds of thousands of emails that contain malicious attachments and deceptive messages, which usually present the attachments as important documents (e.g., invoices, receipts, bills, etc.). In summary, the main reasons for computer infections are poor knowledge of these threats and careless behavior.

Threat Summary:
Name Actin virus
Threat Type Ransomware, Crypto Virus, Files locker
Encrypted Files Extension .actin (this ransomware also appends filenames with the victim's unique ID and developer's email address).
Ransom Demanding Message info.hta, info.txt files.
Cyber Criminal Contact kew07@qq.com
Detection Names Avast (Win32:Trojan-gen), ESET-NOD32 (a variant of Win32/Filecoder.Phobos.A), Microsoft (Trojan:Win32/Fuerboos.E!cl), McAfee-GW-Edition (BehavesLike.Win32.Generic.kh), Full List Of Detections (VirusTotal)
Rogue Process Name 2ph_exec.exe (the process name may vary)
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.
Removal

To eliminate Actin 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?

The key to computer safety is caution. Therefore, pay close attention when browsing the Internet and downloading, installing, and updating software. Carefully analyze each email attachment received. If the file/link is irrelevant or the sender seems suspicious, do not open anything. We recommend that you download software from official sources only, preferably via direct download links. Third party downloaders/installers should never be used, since they are likely to include rogue apps. The same applies to software updates. Keeping installed applications and operating systems updated is extremely important, however, updates should be performed using implemented functions or tools provided by the official developer. Furthermore, software piracy is illegal (it is considered a cyber crime) and the risk of infections is extremely high. Therefore, never attempt to crack installed applications. Finally, have a reputable anti-virus/anti-spyware suite installed and running. These tools can detect and eliminate malware before the system is harmed. If your computer is already infected with Actin, we recommend running a scan with Spyhunter for Windows to automatically eliminate this ransomware.

Text presented in Actin ransomware HTML application ("info.hta"):

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 kew07@qq.com
Write this ID in the title of your message 1E857D00-1104
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 5 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 Actin text file ("info.txt"):

Actin text file

Text presented within this file:

!!! All of your files are encrypted !!!
To decrypt them send e-mail to this address: kew07@qq.com.

Actin ransomware process ("2ph_exec.exe") in Windows Task Manager:

Actin ransomware in Windows Task Manager

Screenshot of files encrypted by Actin (".actin" extension):

Files encrypted by Actin

Actin ransomware removal:

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

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