Removal guide for WALAN ransomware

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

WALAN ransomware removal instructions

What is WALAN?

WALAN is a high-risk ransomware infection designed to encrypt data so that victims couldn't use it. While encrypting, WALAN renames each file by appending ".WALAN" extension (for instance, "sample.jpg" is renamed to "sample.jpg.WALAN" and so on so forth). Following successful encryption, WALAN creates a text file named "DECRYPT_INFO.txt" and drops a copy in every existing folder. This ransomware was firstly discovered by a malware researcher Michael Gillespie.

The created 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. Nevertheless, it is sure that each victim gets a unique decryption key and restoring data without this key is impossible. However, what's more important is that victims cannot access their keys, because cyber criminals hide all of them in a remote server. This allows WALAN's developers to blackmail victims - after contacting these persons victims will be asked to ransom their keys. The price for WALAN's decryption is also unknown. Yet we should mention that ransomware developers usually ask for $500-1500 in Bitcoins, Monero, Ethereum, or another cryptocurrency. However, no matter how low or high the price is, it should never be paid. Research results show that cyber criminals often ignore victims, once payments are submitted. For this reason, paying usually gives no positive result and users merely get scammed. Unfortunately, there are no tools capable of cracking WALAN's encryption and restoring data for free. Hence, the only possible solution is to restore everything from a backup, if there is one 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. Notice that even though the developers are different, all of these infections behave virtually exactly the same (encrypt data and make ransom demands). The problem is that ransomware infections usually employ cryptographies that generate unique decryption keys (e.g., RSA, AES, and similar). Therefore, if the infection is full developed and has no bugs/flaws, manual decryption without the help of developers is impossible. Infections like WALAN are one of the main reasons why you should maintain regular data backups. However, bear in mind that locally stored backups will be compromised alongside with regular data. For this reason, we advise you to store backups in a remote server (e.g., Cloud) or either unplugged storage device (external hard drive, flash drive, or similar). In addition, you should have multiple backup copies stored in different locations, because used server/storage device might be damaged.

How did ransomware infect my computer?

Ransomware infections are usually proliferated using fake software updaters/cracks, trojans, third party software download sources, and email spam campaigns. Fake update tools are usually infect computers in two ways: by exploiting outdated software's bugs/flaws or downloading and installing malware rather than actual updates. Fake cracks are also very similar. Instead of activating paid software for free, 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. Users simply get tricked into manual download/installation of malware. Email spam campaigns are also used in a similar manner. Crooks send hundreds of thousands of emails consisting of malicious attachments (links and/or files) and messages that encourage recipients to open said attachments. It is very likely for cyber criminals to present attachments as some important documents (e.g., invoices, receipts, etc.) - they do this to create 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 Can't open files stored on your computer, previously functional files now have a different extension, for example my.docx.locked. A ransom demanding message is displayed on your desktop. Cyber criminals are asking to pay 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.
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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?

In order to prevent ransomware infections users must be very cautious when browsing the Internet and downloading/installing/updating software. Carefully analyze every single email attachment received. If the received file/link is irrelevant or the sender looks suspicious/unrecognizable, then do not open anything. Moreover be sure to download software only from official sources, preferably via direct download links. Third party downloaders/installers often include rogue apps, which is why such tools shouldn't be used. Keep installed applications and operating system up-to-date. To achieve this, however, use only implemented functions or tools provided by the official developer. Keep in mind that software piracy is a cyber crime and, if that wasn't enough, the risk of infections is extremely high. For this reason, software cracking installed applications should never be considered. Lastly, be sure to have a reputable anti-virus/anti-spyware suite installed and running at all times. Software of this type will help you detect and eliminate 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's 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 "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's more information on how to get this update and add 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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