Avoid data loss caused by FreezedByWizard ransomware

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

FreezedByWizard ransomware removal instructions

What is FreezedByWizard?

Discovered by Petrovic, FreezedByWizard is one of many programs categorized as ransomware. Computers are infected with FreezedByWizard when users open a malicious PowerShell script file, which then starts encrypting files. During encryption, this ransomware appends file extensions with ".Freezing" (e.g., "1.jpg" becomes "1.jpg.Freezing"). When encryption is finished, the file extension is changed by applying ".FreezedByWizard" (e.g., "1.jpg.Freezing" becomes "1.jpg.FreezedByWizard"). Furthermore, if a file is being used by a process, this ransomware terminates that process. Another detail specific to FreezedByWizard is that it creates a ransom message within a text file called ".FreezedByMagic.README.txt" and stores it on the desktop.

As stated in the ransom message, all files are encrypted (including documents, photos, and databases) and the only way to recover (decrypt) them is to use a decryption key, which can be purchased from the cyber criminals who developed FreezedByWizard ransomware. Victims are urged to contact them within seven days, since after this period, their unique decryption keys are deleted. These cyber criminals demand that contact be made via email, and yet no address is provided. Therefore, there is no known way to contact them. In any case, you are advised not to purchase any decryption tools or keys from cyber criminals. In many cases, they scam victims and send no decryption tools or keys, even after payment. Unfortunately, most programs of this type encrypt files using strong encryption algorithms. Therefore, they can only be decrypted using the correct tools held by the cyber criminals who developed the ransomware (and who cannot be trusted). The best way to avoid data and financial loss in such cases is to restore files from a backup.

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

FreezedByWizard decrypt instructions

Like many other programs of this type (such as Popotic, Cratful, Peekaboo, and so on), FreezedByWizard encrypts files and keeps them in that state unless a ransom is paid. The two main differences are usually cost of decryption tool/key and the cryptography algorithm (symmetric or asymmetric) used to deny access to data. Unfortunately, these encryptions cannot be decoded without the involvement of the cyber criminals who hold the keys/tools. Retrieving files might only be possible when ransomware is not fully developed, has unfixed bugs/flaws, and so on. Therefore, maintain backups and keep them on unplugged storage devices or remote servers such as Cloud.

How did ransomware infect my computer?

Ransomware and other malware are commonly spread by spam campaigns, trojans, fake software updaters, dubious software download sources and software 'cracking' tools. Cyber criminals use spam campaigns by sending emails that contain attached files or web links. The main purpose of these campaigns is to trick recipients into opening the attachments, which then allow malware to be downloaded and installed. Examples of files usually attached to such emails are Microsoft Office documents, PDF documents, archive (such as RAR, ZIP), executable (.exe), JavaScript and others. Trojans often proliferate other malicious programs and cause chain infections by downloading and installing computer infections. Fake (unofficial) software update tools download and install malware rather than the updates, or they exploit bugs/flaws of installed, outdated software. P2P (Peer-to-Peer) networks, free file hosting websites, freeware download websites, unofficial websites and other software download sources of this kind can also be used to proliferate malware. They present malicious files (usually executables) as legitimate and harmless. By downloading and opening them, however, people cause computer infections. High-risk malicious software is also spread through 'cracking' tools. They supposedly allow users to bypass paid software activation, however, these tools are often designed by cyber criminals who trick people into installing malicious programs through them.

Threat Summary:
Name FreezedByWizard virus
Threat Type Ransomware, Crypto Virus, Files locker
Encrypted Files Extension .Freezing  (during encryption), .FreezedByWizard (after encryption)
Ransom Demanding Message .FreezedByMagic.README.txt 
Detection Names (BackupDiagnostic.ps1) Ad-Aware (Trojan.Agent.DZJC), BitDefender (Trojan.Agent.DZJC), DrWeb (Trojan.Encoder.28632), Microsoft (Trojan:Win32/Zpevdo.B), 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.
Additional Information This ransomware infects computers through a PowerShell script file. It also terminates running processes associated with files that FreezedByWizard seeks to encrypt.
Distribution methods Infected email attachments (macros), torrent websites, malicious ads, fake software update tools, software 'cracking' tools.
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.
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How to protect yourself from ransomware infections?

To prevent computer infections by ransomware and other malware, be careful with attachments and web links presented in emails received from unknown, suspicious addresses, especially if they are irrelevant and presented as important. Use official and trustworthy sources to download software. Other channels should not be trusted. Update installed software via implemented functions or tools designed by official software developers. Do not activate programs with 'cracking' tools. They are illegal and often used to proliferate malicious software. Have reputable anti-virus or anti-spyware software installed and scan the system with it regularly. If your computer is already infected with FreezedByWizard, we recommend running a scan with Malwarebytes for Windows to automatically eliminate this ransomware.

Text presented in FreezedByWizard ransomware text file (".FreezedByMagic.README.txt") :

Do not panic!\r\n\r\nAll your files, documents, photos, databases and other important files are encrypted and have the extension: {Extension}\r\n\r\nThe only method of recovering files is to purchase an unique private key.\r\n\r\nOnly we can give you this key and only we can recover your files.\r\n\r\nContact us by e-mail in 7 days or your key will be deleted permanently.\r\n\r\nGod bless you!\r\n\r\n----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Screenshot of executed PowerShell script that encrypts files:

executed powershell script file that encrypts files

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

Files encrypted by FreezedByWizard

FreezedByWizard 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:
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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 FreezedByWizard 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 FreezedByWizard 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 FreezedByWizard 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 FreezedByWizard 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 FreezedByWizard, 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 FreezedByWizard 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 FreezedByWizard 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 malware activity level today:

Medium threat activity

Increased attack rate of infections detected within the last 24 hours.

QR Code
FreezedByWizard virus QR code
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