Removal guide for WALAN ransomware

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

WALAN ransomware removal instructions

What is WALAN?

First discovered by malware researcher, Michael Gillespie, WALAN is a high-risk ransomware infection designed to encrypt data so that victims are unable to use it. During encryption, WALAN renames each file by appending the ".WALAN" extension (for example, "sample.jpg" becomes "sample.jpg.WALAN"). Following successful encryption, WALAN creates a text file called "DECRYPT_INFO.txt" and stores a copy in every existing folder.

The new text file contains a short message stating that data is encrypted using a unique key and encouraging victims to contact WALAN's developers if they want to restore it. The type of encryption algorithm (symmetric or asymmetric) used by WALAN is currently unknown, however, each victim gets a unique decryption key. Restoring data without this key is impossible, however, victims cannot access their keys, as cyber criminals hide them on a remote server. This allows WALAN developers to blackmail victims - after contacting these people, victims are asked to pay ransoms to obtain their keys. The cost for WALAN decryption is also unknown, however, ransomware developers usually demand $500-1500 in Bitcoins, Monero, Ethereum or another cryptocurrency. Regardless of the cost, do not pay. Research shows that cyber criminals often ignore victims, once payments are submitted. Therefore, paying usually gives no positive result and users are scammed. Unfortunately, there are no tools capable of cracking WALAN encryption and restoring data free of charge. Therefore, 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:

WALAN decrypt instructions

There are hundreds of ransomware-type infections sharing similarities with WALAN. The list of examples includes Neras, LooCipher, Horon, and many others. Note that although the developers are different, all of these infections have identical behavior (they encrypt data and make ransom demands). Ransomware infections usually employ cryptographies that generate unique decryption keys (e.g., RSA, AES, and similar). Therefore, unless the infection is not fully developed or has bugs/flaws, manual decryption without the help of developers is impossible. Infections such as WALAN are one of the main reasons why you should maintain regular data backups. Bear in mind, however, that locally stored backups are compromised together with regular data. Therefore, we advise you to store backups on a remote server (e.g., Cloud) or unplugged storage device (external hard drive, Flash drive or similar). In addition, have multiple backup copies stored in different locations, since servers and storage devices can always be damaged.

How did ransomware infect my computer?

Ransomware infections are usually proliferated using fake software updaters and 'cracks', trojans, third party software download sources, and spam email campaigns. Fake update tools usually infect computers by exploiting outdated software bugs/flaws or downloading and installing malware rather than updates. Fake cracks are also very similar. Rather than activating paid software free of charge, these tools inject malware into the system. Trojans are malicious applications that stealthily infiltrate systems and download/install additional malware. Peer-to-Peer (P2P) networks, freeware download websites, free file hosting sites, and other unofficial software download sources are used to present malware 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 emails containing malicious attachments (links and/or files) and messages that encourage recipients to open the attachments. Cyber criminals commonly present attachments as important documents (e.g., invoices, receipts, etc.) in attempts to give the impression of legitimacy and increase the chance of tricking recipients.

Threat Summary:
Name WALAN virus
Threat Type Ransomware, Crypto Virus, Files locker
Encrypted Files Extension .WALAN
Ransom Demanding Message DECRYPT_INFO.txt
Cyber Criminal Contact racap@qq.com
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 WALAN 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?

To prevent ransomware infections, be very cautious when browsing the Internet and downloading/installing/updating software. Carefully analyze each email attachment received. If the received file/link is irrelevant or the sender seems suspicious/unrecognizable, do not open anything. Furthermore, download software from official sources only, preferably via direct download links. Third party downloaders/installers often include rogue apps, and thus such tools should not be used. Keep installed applications and operating systems up-to-date, however, use only implemented functions or tools provided by the official developer. Bear in mind that software piracy is a cyber crime and the risk of infection is extremely high. Therefore, do not use software cracking applications. Have a reputable anti-virus/anti-spyware suite installed and running at all times. This software detects and eliminates malware before the system is harmed. The key to computer safety is caution. If your computer is already infected with WALAN, we recommend running a scan with Spyhunter for Windows to automatically eliminate this ransomware.

Text presented in WALAN ransomware text file ("DECRYPT_INFO.txt"):

Hello, dear friend.
All your files are encrypted with a unique key.
Are you sure you want to recover all your files ?
Write us an email: racap@qq.com
Enter your unique ID in the message: -

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

Files encrypted by WALAN

WALAN ransomware removal:

Instant automatic removal of WALAN 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 WALAN 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 WALAN 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 WALAN 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 WALAN 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 WALAN 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 WALAN, 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 WALAN 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.

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 WALAN 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
WALAN virus QR code
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Platform: Windows

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