Protect computer from being infected with ransomware

Also Known As: Q1G virus
Distribution: Low
Damage level: Severe

Q1G ransomware removal instructions

What is Q1G?

Q1G ransomware (like many other programs of this type) is designed to lock files by encrypting them. It renames them by adding the ".Q1G" extension to their filenames, it also adds a personal ID and email address. For example, it changes "1.jpg" to "1.jpg.id-1E857D00.[getbtc@aol.com].Q1G" and so on. Q1G also creates a text file ("RETURN FILES.txt") and displays a pop-up window. This ransomware is another variant of Dharma and the person who discovered this version is Jakub Kroustek.

Q1G locks files using the RSA-1024 encryption which can be decrypted with the key that people (cyber criminals) who designed this ransomware have. To get it, victims must to contact ransomware developers via getbtc@aol.com and provide the appointed ID. It is stated that after 7 days the key might be overwritten, that is why victims are encouraged to contact and pay Q1G developers as soon as possible. Before paying them, they send one file that will be decrypted for free. This free decryption offer supposed to be taken as a proof that Q1G have the decryption key. Unfortunately, most of the times they have them but do not send them even if their victims make a payment (pay the ransom). In this case Q1G developers promise to send a decryption program and detailed instructions on how to use it. Additionally, they urge victims no to rename any of the encrypted files or try to decrypt them by themselves (with some other tools). According to them, such actions might lead to permanent data loss. As a rule, people behind these programs are the only ones who have the tools/keys that can decrypt encrypted files. The problem is that they cannot be trusted, people who trust them often become victims of a scam: they send the money but do not get anything in return. Typically, the only way to get the files back without having to contact and pay people who developed the ransomware is to restore them from a created backup.

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

Q1G decrypt instructions

Most ransomware-type programs are quite similar, their developers design them to encrypt files and display (or create) ransom notes. The main differences between them are: size of the ransom (price of the decryption key/tool) and encryption algorithm (symmetric or asymmetric) that is used to prevent victims from accessing their files. Unfortunately, in most cases decryption without interference of cyber criminals is impossible, unless the ransomware is not fully developed and has some bugs, flaws. For this reason we recommend to create data backups regularly and store them on remote servers like Cloud or unplugged storage devices. Here are examples of other ransomware-type programs: Nvetud, Syrk, GermanWiper.

How did ransomware infect my computer?

Most of the times malicious programs are distributed through spam campaigns, trojans, untrustworthy software download sources, unofficial software activation and fake software updating tools. Cyber criminals use spam campaigns as a tool to spread malware by sending emails that contain malicious attachments. Usually these attachments are MS Office documents, executables (.exe) files, archive files such as ZIP, RAR, PDF documents, JavaScript files and so on. The main purpose is to disguise an email as legitimate and to trick recipients into opening the malicious attachment (or web link). Another way to proliferate ransomware and other malware is through trojans. Trojans are malicious programs that, if installed, cause chain infections/download and install malicious software. Various untrustworthy sources (such as Peer-to-Peer networks, freeware download or file hosting websites, unofficial pages and other similar sources can be used as tools to proliferate malware too. It is achieved by presenting infected files as legitimate. In such cases computers get infected when people open files that are downloaded from questionable sources. Software 'cracking' tools supposed to activate paid software, however, they often download and install malware. Fake software updaters usually either exploit outdated software's bugs and flaws or download and install various infections instead of the updates, fixes and so on.

Threat Summary:
Name Q1G virus
Threat Type Ransomware, Crypto Virus, Files locker
Encrypted Files Extension .Q1G
Ransom Demanding Message RETURN FILES.txt and pop-up window
Cyber Criminal Contact getbtc@aol.com
Detection Names Avast (Win32:RansomX-gen [Ransom]), BitDefender (Trojan.Ransom.Crysis.E), ESET-NOD32 (A Variant Of Win32/Filecoder.Crysis.P), Kaspersky (Trojan-Ransom.Win32.Crusis.to), 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, unofficial activation tools and fake software updaters.
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 Q1G 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?

It is important to analyze each received email before opening the attachment or web link which is included in it. If the email is sent from unknown, suspicious email address, or is irrelevant, then it is recommended to ignore it and leave the attachment or link unopened. The safest way to download software is to use official websites and direct download links. Other sources can be used to distribute malicious files. Keep your software updated, but do it using implemented functions or tools provided by the official software developers, and not some third party updating tools. Same applies to software activation: various 'cracking' tools are not legal and often designed to spread malware. And finally, it is important to have a reputable anti-spyware or anti-virus software installed and keep it enabled (and updated) at all times. If your computer is already infected with Q1G, we recommend running a scan with Spyhunter for Windows to automatically eliminate this ransomware.

Text presented in Q1G ransomware's pop-up window:

All FILES ENCRYPTED "RSA1024"
All YOUR FILES HAVE BEEN ENCRYPTED!!! IF YOU WANT TO RESTORE THEM, WRITE US TO THE E-MAIL getbtc@aol.com
IN THE LETTER WRITE YOUR ID, YOUR ID 1E857D00
IF YOU ARE NOT ANSWERED, WRITE TO EMAIL:getbtc@aol.com
YOUR SECRET KEY WILL BE STORED ON A SERVER 7 DAYS, AFTER 7 DAYS IT MAY BE OVERWRITTEN BY OTHER KEYS, DON'T PULL TIME, WAITING YOUR EMAIL
FREE DECRYPTION FOR PROOF
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.)
DECRYPTION PROCESS:
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.
!WARNING!
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 Q1G's text file ("RETURN FILES.txt"):

Q1G text file

Text presented in this file:

All your data is encrypted!
for return write to mail:
getbtc@aol.com

Screenshot of files encrypted by Q1G (".Q1G" extension):

Files encrypted by Q1G

Q1G ransomware removal:

Instant automatic removal of Q1G 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 Q1G 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 Q1G 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 Q1G 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 Q1G 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 Q1G 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 Q1G, 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 Q1G 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 Q1G 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
Q1G 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 Q1G virus on your mobile device.
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Platform: Windows

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