Isolated ransomware removal instructions
What is Isolated?
Discovered by GrujaRS, Isolated is a new variant of high-risk ransomware called Aurora. Following successful infiltration, Isolated encrypts stored data (thereby rendering it unusable) and makes ransom demands. During encryption, this ransomware appends each filename with the ".isolated" extension (e.g., "sample.jpg" is renamed to "sample.jpg.isolated"). Once encryption is complete, Isolated generates three text files ("@@_README_@@.txt", "@@_ATTENTION_@@.txt", and "@@_HELPER_@@.txt") and stores them on the Desktop. These files contain an identical ransom-demand message.
The message states that data is encrypted using RSA-2048 and that the only way to restore it is to use a unique decryption key. Unfortunately, this information is accurate. RSA-2048 is an asymmetric encryption algorithm and, thus, generates two unique keys: public (encryption) and private (decryption). Restoring data without the private key is impossible. Therefore, cyber criminals blackmail victims by offering paid recovery of their files. To obtain a key, each victim must pay a ransom of $100 in Bitcoins. The cost is doubled 24 hours after encryption. To receive payment/decryption instructions, victims are encouraged to contact cyber criminals via an email address provided. No matter what the cost, do not pay. Cyber criminals often ignore victims after payments are submitted. Note that Isolated clearly contains bugs/flaws, since Emsisoft has released a decryptor capable of restoring data compromised by this ransomware. If the encryption is performed correctly, restoring data without developers' involvement is generally impossible - if your computer is ever infected with undecryptable ransomware, the only solution is to restore everything from a backup.
Screenshot of a message encouraging users to pay a ransom to decrypt their compromised data:
The internet is full of ransomware-type infections that share many similarities with Isolated including Besub, JSWRM, and Coinmoney - these are just some examples from many. Most ransomware compromises data (typically, by encryption) and makes ransom demands. Unfortunately, encryptions are typically performed using AES, RSA, and other similar high-end cryptographies that generate unique decryption keys. Therefore, it is virtually impossible to decrypt data without the developers' involvement - the only possible scenarios are ransomware not being fully developed or having certain bugs/flaws (e.g., the key is hard-coded, stored locally, or similar). Infections such as Isolated present a strong case for maintaining regular backups, however, store them on a remote server (e.g., Cloud) or unplugged storage device, since locally stored backups are compromised together with regular data. In addition, we recommend that you have multiple backup copies stored in different locations, since there is always a chance that servers and hardware can be damaged.
How did ransomware infect my computer?
The way developers proliferate Isolated is currently unknown, however, infections of this type are typically proliferated using third party software download sources (e.g., freeware download/free file hosting sites, Peer-to-Peer [P2P] networks, etc.), spam email campaigns, trojans, and fake software updaters and 'cracks'. Cyber criminals use unofficial download sources to proliferate malware by presenting it as legitimate software. Spam campaigns are used to send hundreds of emails that contain malicious attachments (links or files) and deceptive messages encouraging recipients to open them. These attachments are often presented as 'important' documents such as receipts, invoices, bills, or similar - criminals do this in attempts to give the impression of legitimacy and increase the chance of tricking recipients. Trojans are essentially malicious applications that stealthily infiltrate computers to download and install additional malware. Fake updaters and cracks infect systems rather than updating or activating software free of charge. 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||.isolated|
|Ransom Demanding Message||@@_README_@@.txt, @@_ATTENTION_@@.txt and @@_HELPER_@@.txt|
|Ransom Amount||$100/$200 in Bitcoins.|
|Cryptowallet Address||19byE1fxToZXcmfXixFZmRy9E9i1QFYmLv (Bitcoin)|
|Cyber Criminal Contactemail@example.com|
|Detection Names||Avast (Win32:RATX-gen [Trj]), BitDefender (Trojan.GenericKD.32113633), ESET-NOD32 (A Variant Of MSIL/GenKryptik.DGQP), Kaspersky (HEUR:Trojan.MSIL.Crypt.gen), Full List Of Detections (VirusTotal)|
|Rogue Process Name||java.exe (generic process name).|
|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||Files encrypted by Isolated can be restored using Aurora decrypter developed by Emsisoft (download link).|
|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?
The key to its safety is caution. Therefore, pay close attention when browsing the Internet and downloading/installing/updating software. Think twice before opening email attachments. Files/links received from suspicious/unrecognizable emails should never be opened. The same applies to attachments that are irrelevant or do not concern you. Download programs from official sources only (preferably using direct download links). Third party downloaders/installers often include rogue applications, and thus such tools should not be used. The same applies to software updates. Keeping installed applications/operating system up-to-date is important, however, this should be achieved only through implemented functions or tools provided by the official developer. Bear in mind that software piracy is a cyber crime. Most cracks are fake and the risk of computer infections is extremely high. Therefore, never attempt to activate software using illegal third party tools. Finally, have a reputable anti-virus/anti-spyware suite installed and running - these tools detect and eliminate malware before it harms the system. The key to computer safety is caution. If your computer is already infected with Isolated, we recommend running a scan with Malwarebytes for Windows to automatically eliminate this ransomware.
Text presented in Isolated ransomware text files ("@@_README_@@.txt", "@@_ATTENTION_@@.txt", and "@@_HELPER_@@.txt"):
$$$$$$$$$> CRYPTO LOCKER <$$$$$$$$$
SORRY! Your files are encrypted.
File contents are encrypted with random key.
Random key is encrypted with RSA public key (2048 bit).
We STRONGLY RECOMMEND you NOT to use any "decryption tools".
These tools can damage your data, making recover IMPOSSIBLE.
Also we recommend you not to contact data recovery companies.
They will just contact us, buy the key and sell it to you at a higher price.
If someone else offers you files restoring, ask him for one file decryption.
If you decide to decrypt files, for a have to get RSA private key.
To get the RSA key, follow these steps in order:
Pay of the ransom cost:
1. $100 in the first 24 hours, $200 before and after 48 hours.
Pay the stated amount to this BTC-purse:
>>> 19byE1fxToZXcmfXixFZmRy9E9i1QFYmLv <<<
2. Write on the firstname.lastname@example.org,
specifying a link to the BTC-transaction in the message.
Attach file is 000000000.key from %appdata% to email message,
without it we will not be able to decrypt your files.
In the reply letter you will receive a unique decoder and instructions
on what to do next. Only we can successfully decrypt your files.
You will receive instructions of what to do next.
We guarantee you file recovery if you do it right.
$$$$$$$$$> CRYPTO LOCKER <$$$$$$$$$
Screenshot of Isolated ransomware process ("java.exe" - a generic process name) in Windows Task Manager:
Screenshot of files encrypted by Isolated (".isolated" extension):
Screenshot of Emsisoft's Aurora decrypter, which can be used to decrypt data compromised by Isolated ransomware (download link):
Isolated 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 Isolated?
- STEP 1. Isolated virus removal using safe mode with networking.
- STEP 2. Isolated 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 Isolated 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 Isolated 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 Isolated 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 Isolated 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 Isolated 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.
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 Isolated ransomware: