Removal instructions for the HYDRA virus

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

HYDRA ransomware removal instructions

What is HYDRA?

Belonging to the Jigsaw ransomware family, HYDRA is a high-risk ransomware infection discovered by Michael Gillespie. After successfully infiltrating the system, HYDRA encrypts most stored files, rendering them unusable. In addition, HYDRA adds the ".HYDRA" extension to each filename (e.g., "sample.jpg" becomes "sample.jpg.HYDRA"). Once files are completely compromised, HYDRA opens a pop-up window with a ransom-demand message.

The delivered ransom-demand message states that data is being deleted and that victims must pay a ransom to stop the deletion process and restore encrypted files. It goes on to state that the number of deleted files will increase each day (on the first day, a few files; the second day, few hundred; the third day, a few thousand, and so on). Encrypting and deleting files is common behavior for ransomware infections from the Jigsaw family. In this case, the size of ransom is $10, which is rather low (original Jigsaw ransomware demanded $150). Ransoms can be paid using the Bitcoin cryptocurrency and also PayPal. There is a high probability that a third party gained access to Jigsaw ransomware's source code and started to distribute this malware. Furthermore, using PayPal as a payment method is an amateur measure, since the owner can be tracked. Regardless of the cost, do not pay. Research shows that cyber criminals typically ignore victims after payments are submitted. Paying usually gives no positive result. Victims will lose their money and support cyber criminals' malicious businesses. Therefore, never agree to pay. Unfortunately, there are no tools capable of cracking HYDRA encryption and restoring data free of charge (at least not at time of writing). Therefore, the only solution is to restore everything from a backup, if one has been created.

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

HYDRA decrypt instructions

HYDRA shares many similarities with Budak, Ims00ry, JSWRM, Adame, and hundreds of other ransomware-type infections. Most ransomware encrypts data so that developers can blackmail victims by offering paid recovery of their files. There are usually just two major differences: 1) size of ransom, and; 2) type of cryptography used. Unfortunately, most infections use RSA, AES, and other encryption algorithms that generate unique decryption keys, which criminals store on remote servers. Therefore, restoring data without the involvement of developers is virtually impossible. The only possible scenarios are the ransomware not being fully developed and/or having certain bugs/flaws (e.g., the key is hard-coded, stored locally, or similar). Ransomware infections present a strong case for maintaining regular backups. Bear in mind, however, that locally stored backups are compromised together with regular data. Therefore, backups should be stored on a remote servers or unplugged storage devices. Note that there is always the chance that servers/storage devices can be damaged, so have multiple backup copies stored in different locations.

How did ransomware infect my computer?

Ransomware infections such as HYDRA are typically proliferated using fake software updaters and 'cracks', trojans, third party software download sources, and spam email campaigns. Most fake updaters infect computers by exploiting outdated software bugs/flaws or simply download/installing malware rather than the promised/expected updates. Cracks also have similar behavior - they inject malware rather than activating paid software free of charge. Trojans are essentially malicious applications that stealthily infiltrate computers to inject additional malware. Cyber criminals use third party download sources (peer-to-peer [P2P] networks, freeware download websites, free file hosting sites, and similar) to proliferate malware by presenting it as legitimate software. In this way, users end up manually downloading and installing malware. Finally, cyber criminals use spam email campaigns to send hundreds of thousands of emails containing malicious attachments (links/files) and messages encouraging recipients to open them. These attachments might also be presented as 'important documents' (e.g., invoices, bills, receipts, or similar). This in an attempt to give the impression of legitimacy. In summary, the main reasons for computer infections are poor knowledge of these threats and careless behavior.

Threat Summary:
Name HYDRA virus
Threat Type Ransomware, Crypto Virus, Files locker
Encrypted Files Extension .HYDRA
Ransom Demanding Message Pop-up window.
Ransom Amount $10
Cyber Criminal Contact jigsaw3363@gmail.com
Detection Names Avast (MSIL:JigSaw-A [Trj]), BitDefender (Generic.MSIL.Ransomware.Jigsaw.607E34D6), ESET-NOD32 (A Variant Of MSIL/Filecoder.Jigsaw.B), Kaspersky (HEUR:Trojan.Win32.Generic), Full List Of Detections (VirusTotal)
Rogue Process Name Firefox (this ransomware is disguised as the Mozilla Firefox web browser)
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.
Removal

To eliminate HYDRA 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?

To prevent ransomware infections, be very cautious when browsing the Internet and downloading/installing/update software. Handle all email attachments with care. Files/links received from suspicious/unrecognizable email addresses should never be opened. Attachments that are irrelevant or do not concern you should be ignored. Download apps from official sources only, preferably using direct download links. Proper software maintenance is also paramount. Keep installed programs/operating systems up-to-date, however, use only implemented functions or tools provided by the official developer. Third party downloaders/installers/updaters often include rogue apps, and thus these tools should never be used. Note that software piracy is a cyber crime. Furthermore, most cracking tools are fake and the risk of infection is very high. For these reasons, you should never attempt to activate installed applications using third party/illegal tools. Finally, have a reputable anti-virus/anti-spyware suite installed and running - these tools eliminate malware infections before they can damage the system. The key to computer safety is caution. If your computer is already infected with HYDRA, we recommend running a scan with Spyhunter for Windows to automatically eliminate this ransomware.

The appearance of HYDRA ransomware pop-up (GIF):

HYDRA pop-up gif

Text presented in HYDRA ransomware pop-up window:

I want to play a game with you. Let me explain the rules:
Your personal files are being deleted. Your photos, videos, documents, etc...
But, don't worry! It will only happen if you don't comply.
However I've already encrypted your personal files, so you cannot access them.

Every hour I select some of them to delete permanently,
therefore I won't be able to access them, either.
Are you familiar with the concept of exponential growth? Let me help you out.
It starts out slowly then increases rapidly.
During the first 24 hour you will only lose a few files,
the second day a few hundred, the third day a few thousand, and so on.

If you turn off your computer or try to close me, when I start next time
you will get 1000 files deleted as a punishment.
Yes you will want me to start next time, since I am the only one that
is capable to decrypt your personal data for you.

Now, let's start and enjoy our little game together!

Bitcoin address: 1Hd3tU8MDmuVotMgGJTJ7svzvPey6bfUgm

Please, send at least 10$ worth of money here: JIGSAW3363@GMAIL.COM using PayPal.

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

Files encrypted by HYDRA

HYDRA ransomware process ("Firefox" - disguised as the Mozilla Firefox web browser) in Windows Task Manager:

HYDRA ransomware in Windows Task Manager

HYDRA ransomware removal:

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

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