Get rid of Save ransomware infection

Also Known As: Save virus
Distribution: Moderate
Damage level: Severe

Save ransomware removal instructions

What is Save ransomware?

Save is yet another high-risk ransomware from Dharma family. Following successful infiltration, Save encrypts most of stored files and appends filenames with victim's unique ID, as well as developers' email address and ".save" extension (e.g., "sample.jpg" would be renamed to something like "[].save". Additionally, Save opens a pop-up window and drops "RETURN FILES.txt" text file on victim's desktop. This ransomware was firstly discovered by malware security researcher who goes by the name of safety.

The created text file contains a short message stating that data is encrypted and that victims have to contact cyber criminals in order to restore it. The pop-up window, on the other hand, delivers way more information. It is stated that data is encrypted using RSA-1024 encryption algorithm and that cyber criminals (Save's developers) are the only ones who can restore it. Unfortunately, this is true. RSA-1024 is an asymmetric encryption algorithm, which means that each victim gets two unique keys: public (encryption) and private (decryption). Restoring data without the private key is impossible. For this reason, cyber criminals store all keys in a remote server and blackmail victims by offering a paid recovery. In order to receive the decryption key (or rather a tool with the key embedded within) each victim has to contact these persons and pay a ransom. The price isn't specified - such details are provided via email. Yet it is known that size of ransom usually fluctuates between $500 and $1500. In order to prove that the decryption is actually possible and to gain victim's trust Save's developers offer a free decryption of one file (up to 1Mb, non-archived). Nevertheless, you should never trust these people. Research results show that ransomware developers usually ignore victims, once they submit payments. For this reason, paying typically gives no positive result and users merely get scammed. Unfortunately, there are no tools capable of cracking RSA cryptography and restoring data for free. Restoring everything from a backup is the only possible solution.

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

Save decrypt instructions

There are dozens of ransomware-type infections similar to Save (e.g., Guesswho, Basilisque Locker, Boooam). As with Save, listed examples also compromise data and make ransom demands. Size of ransom and type of encryption algorithm used are usually the only major differences. Unluckily, most of ransomware employ cryptographies like RSA, AES, and similar that generate unique decryption keys. For this reason, it is virtually impossible to restore data without developers interference. The only possible scenarios are ransomware not being fully developed and/or having certain bugs/flaws (i.e., the key is hard-coded, stored locally, or similar).  We highly recommend to maintain regular data backups. However, bear in mind that locally stored backups will be compromised together with regular data. Therefore, you should store them in a remote server/unplugged storage device. There's also a chance that used server/storage device will be damaged. For this reason, we recommend to have multiple backup copies stored in different locations.

How did ransomware infect my computer?

The way developers proliferate Save is currently unconfirmed. Nevertheless, such infections are usually distributed using the following methods/tools: unofficial software download sources, email spam campaigns, trojans, and fake software updaters/cracks. Third party download sources (P2P [Peer-to-Peer] networks, freeware download/free file hosting sites, etc.) are used when presenting malware as legitimate software. Crooks merely trick users into downloading and installing malware manually. Spam campaigns allow crooks to send hundreds of thousands of deceptive emails that contain messages encouraging recipients to open malicious attachments links/files. It is very likely for these attachments to be presented as receipts, invoices, bills, or other important documents - this is being done to create the impression of legitimacy and increase the chance of tricking recipients. Trojans are malicious applications that stealthily infiltrate computers with the intention of injecting malware. Fake updaters infect computers by exploiting outdated software's bugs/flaws or merely downloading and installing malware rather than actual updates. Fake cracks also work very similarly. Instead of granting access to paid features, fake cracking tools inject malware into the system. In summary, the main reasons for computer infections are poor knowledge and reckless behavior.

Threat Summary:
Name Save virus
Threat Type Ransomware, Crypto Virus, Files locker
Encrypted Files Extension .save (this ransomware also appends filenames with victim's unique ID and developers' email address).
Ransom Demanding Message Pop-up window, RETURN FILES.txt text file.
Cyber Criminal Contact,
Detection Names Avast (Win32:RansomX-gen [Ransom]), BitDefender (Trojan.Ransom.Crysis.E), ESET-NOD32 (A Variant Of Win32/Filecoder.Crysis.P), Kaspersky (, Full List Of Detections (VirusTotal)
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.

To eliminate Save 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?

The key to computer safety is caution and, therefore, paying attention when browsing the Internet, as well as downloading/installing/updating software is a must. You should always think twice before opening email attachments. Files/links received from suspicious/unrecognizable email addresses should not be opened. Same goes for attachments that are irrelevant and do not concern you. Download programs only from official sources, using direct download links. Third party downloaders/installers usually include rogue apps and, therefore, such tools shouldn't be used. Keep installed applications/operating system up-to-date. Yet this should be achieved only through implemented functions or tools provided by the official developer. Never attempt to crack any installed applications, since software piracy is considered a cyber crime and, if that wasn't enough, the risk of infections is extremely high. On top of all that, be sure to have a reputable anti-virus/anti-spyware suite installed and running. Such programs detect and remove most of infections before they harm the system. If your computer is already infected with Save, we recommend running a scan with Spyhunter for Windows to automatically eliminate this ransomware.

Text presented in Save ransomware's pop-up window:

You can send us up to 1 file for free decryption. The total size of files must be less than 1Mb (non archived), and files should not contain valuable information. (databases,backups, large excel sheets, etc.)
When you make sure of decryption possibility transfer the money to our bitcoin wallet. As soon as we receive the money we will send you:
1. Decryption program.
2. Detailed instruction for decryption.
3. And individual keys for decrypting your files.
Do not rename encrypted files.
Do not try to decrypt your data using third party software, it may cause permanent data loss.
Decryption of your files with the help of third parties may cause increased price (they add their fee to our) or you can become a victim of a scam.

Screenshot of Save's text file ("RETURN FILES.txt"):

Save text file

Text presented within this file:

All your data is encrypted!
for return write to mail: or

Screenshot of files encrypted by Save (".save" extension):

Files encrypted by Save

Save ransomware removal:

Instant automatic removal of Save 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 Save 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 Save 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 Save 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 Save 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 Save 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 Save, 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 Save 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 Save 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 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

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

QR Code
Save 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 Save virus on your mobile device.
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Platform: Windows

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