Removal of ransomware-type infection called Lokas

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

Lokas ransomware removal instructions

What is Lokas?

Lokas is yet another ransomware from Djvu family. It was firstly discovered by malware researcher Michael Gillespie. This malware is designed to lock (encrypt) victim's data and to make ransom demands. While encrypting, Lokas appends each filename with ".lokas" extension. For instance, a file named "sample.jpg" would be renamed to "sample.jpg.lokas" and so forth. Aside from encrypting, Lokas creates a text file ("_readme.txt") and drops a copy in every existing folder.

Most of infections from Djvu ransomware family use a text file to deliver the exact same ransom-demanding message and Lokas is no exception. The message states that data is encrypted and that victims must purchase a decryption key in order to restore it. Now the encryption algorithm used by Lokas is currently unknown. Nevertheless, claims that decryption requires a unique key are true. While encrypting, Lokas generates a unique decryption key individually for each victim. The problem is that these keys are stored in a remote server controlled by cyber criminals and, since restoring data without the key is impossible, crooks can easily blackmail victims by offering a paid recovery. The price for each key is $980 and in order to receive payment/decryption instructions victims must contact developers via email or telegram. It is also noted that victims will receive a 50% discount if they'll contact these persons within 72 hours after the encryption. Additionally, victims are allowed to attach one file (which cannot contain any "valuable information") and crooks will restore it as a proof that they're capable of decrypting data. Nevertheless, these persons should never be trusted. Ransomware developers in general are notorious for scamming victims. They simply ignore victims after payments are submitted and, therefore, paying gives no positive result. For this reason, you should never attempt to contact these persons and certainly not submit any payments. Be aware that Lokas encrypts data using a hard-coded "offline key" whenever the used server is not responding or the infected machine has no Internet connection. Therefore, you should attempt restoring data with Michael Gillespie's decryptor. If that doesn't work, the only possible solution is to restore everything from a backup.

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

Lokas decrypt instructions

Lokas is virtually identical to Basilisque Locker, Guesswho, Boooam, and hundreds of other ransomware infections. Almost every single ransomware is designed to encrypt data and make ransom demands, despite the fact that developers are different. There typically are only two major differences: 1) size of ransom, and; 2) type of encryption algorithm used. Unfortunately, encryptions are usually performed using RSA, AES, and other cryptographies that generate unique decryption keys. Hence, if the malware is developed flawlessly, restoring data without developers interference is impossible. Infections like Lokas present a strong case for maintaining regular data backups. However, be sure to store them in a remote server (e.g., Cloud) or unplugged storage device (e.g., flash drive, external hard drive, or similar), because locally stored backups will be compromised just like any other regular file. It is also important to note that there's always a chance that used server/storage device will be damaged. For this reason, we highly recommend to have multiple backup copies stored in different locations.

How did ransomware infect my computer?

Cyber criminals often distribute ransomware by using trojans, fake software updaters/cracks, email spam campaigns, and unofficial software download sources. Trojans are essentially malicious applications that stealthily infiltrate computers with an intention of injecting additional malware. Fake software updaters are designed to exploit outdated software's bugs/flaws or to simply download and install malware instead of actual updates. Same goes for fake cracking tools, which infect computers instead of granting access to paid software features. Cyber criminals employ spam campaigns to send hundreds of thousands of deceptive emails containing malicious attachments and messages encouraging recipients. Attachments are often presented as some important documents, which is being done to create the impression of legitimacy and increase the chance of tricking recipients. Third party download sources are also used in a similar manner. Cyber criminals employ Peer-to-Peer (P2P) networks, freeware download/free file hosting websites, and other similar sources to spread malware by presenting it as legitimate software. They simply trick users into manual download/installation of malware.

Threat Summary:
Name Lokas virus
Threat Type Ransomware, Crypto Virus, Files locker
Detection Names BitDefender (Trojan.GenericKD.41447064), DrWeb (Trojan.Encoder.26996), ESET-NOD32 (A Variant Of Win32/Kryptik.GULT), Kaspersky (Trojan-Ransom.Win32.Stop.bc), Full List (VirusTotal)
Encrypted Files Extension .lokas
Ransom Demanding Message _readme.txt
Ransom Amount $980/$490
Cyber Criminal Contact gorentos@bitmessage.ch, verasto@firemail.cc, @datarestore (Telegram)
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.
Additional Information This malware is designed to show fake Windows Update window, modify Windows "hosts" file (to prevent users from accessing cyber security websites) and inject AZORult trojan into the system.
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 Lokas 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?

Users must realize that the main reasons for computer infections are reckless behavior and lack of knowledge. The key to its safety is caution. For these reasons, paying close attention when downloading/installing/updating software and browsing the Internet is a must. We highly recommend to download programs only from official sources, ideally, using direct download links. Software downloaders/installers often include rogue apps and, therefore, using such tools is not recommended. Keeping installed applications, as well as operating system up-to-date is paramount. Yet this should be achieved only through implemented functions or tools provided by the official developer. Be aware that software piracy is a cyber crime. In addition, vast majority of cracking tools are fake, which means that using will probably lead to high-risk system infections. For this reason, you should never attempt to crack any installed applications. It is very important to carefully analyze every single email attachment received. Files/links received from suspicious/unrecognizable addresses shouldn't be opened. Attachments that are irrelevant and do not concern you should be handled in the same manner. Ultimately, be sure to use a reputable anti-virus/anti-spyware suite, because such programs will help you detect and eliminate malware before it damages the system. If your computer is already infected with Lokas, we recommend running a scan with Spyhunter for Windows to automatically eliminate this ransomware.

Text presented in Lokas ransomware's text file :

ATTENTION!

Don't worry, you can return all your files!
All your files like photos, databases, documents and other important are encrypted with strongest encryption and unique key.
The only method of recovering files is to purchase decrypt tool and unique key for you.
This software will decrypt all your encrypted files.
What guarantees you have?
You can send one of your encrypted file from your PC and we decrypt it for free.
But we can decrypt only 1 file for free. File must not contain valuable information.
You can get and look video overview decrypt tool:
hxxps://we.tl/t-WbgTMF1Jmw
Price of private key and decrypt software is $980.
Discount 50% available if you contact us first 72 hours, that's price for you is $490.
Please note that you'll never restore your data without payment.
Check your e-mail "Spam" or "Junk" folder if you don't get answer more than 6 hours.


To get this software you need write on our e-mail:
gorentos@bitmessage.ch

Reserve e-mail address to contact us:
varasto@firemail.cc

Our Telegram account:
@datarestore
Mark Data Restore

Your personal ID:
-

Screenshot of files encrypted by Lokas (".lokas" extension):

Files encrypted by Lokas

Malware researcher Michael Gillespie has developed a decryption tool that might restore your data if it was encrypted using an "offline key". As we've already mentioned, each victim gets a unique decryption key and all of them are stored in remote servers controlled by cyber criminals. These are categorized as "online keys". However, there are cases when the infected machine has no Internet connection or the server is timing out/not responding. If that is the case, Lokas will use an "offline encryption key", which is hard-coded. Now it is worth mentioning that cyber criminals change offline keys every now and again. This is being done to prevent multiple encryptions with the same key. Meanwhile, Michael Gillespie continually gathers offline keys and updates the decrypter. However, the chances of successful decryption are still very low, since only a very small portion of "offline keys" has been gathered. You can download the decrypter by clicking this link (note that the download link remains the same, despite the fact that decrypter is being continually updated). Your files will be restored only if the list of gathered keys will include the one that was used to encrypt your data.

Screenshot of STOP/Djvu decrypter by Michael Gillespie:

STOP/Djvu ransomware decrypter by Michael Gillespie

As with most of ransomware from Djvu family, Lokas also displays a fake Windows update pop-up during the encryption:

Djvu ransomware family fake update

IMPORTANT NOTE! - Aside from encrypting data, ransomware-type infections from Djvu malware family also installs a trojan-type virus called AZORult, which is designed to steal various account credentials. Moreover, this malware family is designed to add a number of entries to the Windows hosts file. The entries contain URLs of various websites, most of which are related to malware removal. This is carried out with the intention of making users unable to access malware security websites and seek help. Our website (PCrisk.com) is also on the list. Removing these entries, however, is simple - you can find detailed instructions in this article (note that, although the steps are shown in the Windows 10 environment, the process is virtually identical on all versions of the Microsoft Windows operating system).

Screenshot of websites added to Windows hosts file:

Tro Ransomware adding websites to Windows Hosts file

Lokas ransomware removal:

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

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