Remove the Save ransomware infection

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

Save ransomware removal instructions

What is Save ransomware?

First discovered by malware security researcher, safety, Save is yet another high-risk ransomware infection from the Dharma family. Following successful infiltration, Save encrypts most stored files and appends filenames with the victim's unique ID, the developers' email address, and the ".save" extension (e.g., "sample.jpg" might be renamed to a filename such as "[].save". Additionally, Save opens a pop-up window and stores the "RETURN FILES.txt" text file on the desktop.

The new text file contains a short message stating that data is encrypted and that victims must contact cyber criminals to restore it. The pop-up window, on the other hand, delivers much more information. It is stated that data is encrypted using the RSA-1024 encryption algorithm and that only Save's developers (cyber criminals) can restore it. Unfortunately, this information is accurate. RSA-1024 is an asymmetric encryption algorithm, and thus each victim receives two unique keys: public (encryption) and private (decryption). Restoring data without the private key is impossible. Cyber criminals store all keys on a remote server to blackmail victims by offering paid recovery of their files. To receive a decryption key (or rather, a tool with the key embedded within), each victim must contact these people and pay a ransom. The cost is not specified. These details are provided via email, however, ransoms usually fluctuate between $500 and $1500. To 'prove' that decryption is possible and gain the victim's trust, Save's developers offer free decryption of one file (up to 1 MB, non-archived). Despite this offer, never trust these people. Research shows that ransomware developers usually ignore victims, once payments are submitted. Therefore, paying typically gives no positive result and users are scammed. Unfortunately, there are no tools capable of cracking RSA cryptography and restoring data free of charge. Restoring everything from a backup is the only 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 including, for example, Guesswho, Basilisque Locker, and Boooam. As with Save, these examples also compromise data and make ransom demands. Size of ransom and type of encryption algorithm used are commonly the only major differences. Unfortunately, most ransomware employ cryptographies such as RSA, AES, and similar, that generate unique decryption keys. Therefore, it is virtually impossible to restore data without developers' involvement. The only possible scenarios are the ransomware not being fully developed or having certain bugs/flaws (e.g., the key is hard-coded, stored locally, or similar). We strongly recommend that you maintain regular  backups, however, locally stored backups are compromised with regular data. Therefore, store them on a remote server or unplugged storage device. There is always a chance that servers and storage devices can be damaged and, therefore, we recommend that you have multiple backup copies stored in different locations.

How did ransomware infect my computer?

The way developers proliferate Save is currently unconfirmed, however, these infections are usually distributed using the following methods/tools: unofficial software download sources, spam email campaigns, trojans, and fake software updaters and 'cracks'. Third party download sources (P2P [Peer-to-Peer] networks, freeware download/free file hosting sites, etc.) are used to present malware as legitimate software. Criminals trick users into manually downloading and installing malware. Spam campaigns allow criminals to send hundreds of thousands of deceptive emails that contain messages encouraging recipients to open malicious attachments links/files. These attachments might be presented as receipts, invoices, bills, or other important documents - this is to give the impression of legitimacy and increase the chance of tricking recipients. Trojans are malicious applications that stealthily infiltrate computers to inject malware. Fake updaters infect computers by exploiting outdated software bugs/flaws or downloading and installing malware rather than updates. Fake cracks also work in a similar fashion. Rather than granting access to paid features, fake cracking tools inject malware into the system. In summary, the main reasons for computer infections are poor knowledge of these threats and careless behavior.

Threat Summary:
Name Save virus
Threat Type Ransomware, Crypto Virus, Files locker
Encrypted Files Extension .save (this ransomware also appends filenames with the victim's unique ID and developer's 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 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.
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. Therefore, pay attention when browsing the Internet and downloading/installing/updating software. Think twice before opening email attachments. Files/links received from suspicious/unrecognizable email addresses should not be opened. The same applies to attachments that are irrelevant or do not concern you. Download programs from official sources only, using direct download links. Third party downloaders/installers usually include rogue apps and, therefore, these tools should not be used. Keep installed applications and operating systems up-to-date, however, use implemented functions or tools provided by the official developer only. Never attempt to crack installed applications, since software piracy is a cyber crime and the risk of infections is extremely high. Have a reputable anti-virus/anti-spyware suite installed and running. These programs detect and remove infections before they can 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 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 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 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 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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