Remove ransomware from your operating system

Also Known As: virus
Distribution: Moderate
Damage level: Severe ransomware removal instructions

What is

Discovered by Alex Svirid, is malicious software belonging to the GlobeImposter ransomware family. This program operates by encrypting data and demanding a ransom for decryption. I.e., decryption software/tools must be purchased to recover the encrypted data. As encryption is in progress, all files are renamed with the ".[]" extension, which is also the email address of the developers. For example, "1.jpg" appears as "1.jpg.[]". Once this process is complete, a text file named "help you.txt" is created and stored on the victim's desktop.

The message in the text file asks affected users if they wish to recover their data. If so, they are instructed to contact the cyber criminals behind via the email addresses provided. The message should contain the user's personal ID number (uniquely generated for the victim and listed in the ransom message) and the domain of their computer. Ransomware-type programs generate revenue for their developers, and therefore a ransom is demanded for decryption. Ransoms range between three-digit and four-digit sums (in USD). Typically, digital currencies are used, including cryptocurrencies (Bitcoin, Ukash, etc.), pre-paid vouchers, and similar. These transactions are difficult or even impossible to trace, and thus preferred by cyber criminals. To 'prove' their ability to decrypt the data, ransomware developers usually offer to decrypt some files free of charge, however, these cyber criminals can never be trusted. Do not contact them or pay anything. In most cases, users who pay receive no tools or keys to decrypt their files. Therefore, the data remains encrypted and essentially useless. Unfortunately, there are no free software/tools capable of "cracking" the encryptions, since these malicious programs use strong encryptions. Data can only be decoded with the software used to encrypt it. The only viable solution is to restore files from a backup, if one was made before the ransomware attack and stored separately (so that it was not encrypted together with the remaining data).

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

SapphireMuhstik, and DCRTR-WDM are just some examples of ransomware programs similar to All encrypt data and demand ransom payments for decryption. They differ by cryptographic algorithm used (symmetric or asymmetric) and size of ransom payment. Manually decryption of files is impossible, without the direct involvement of cyber criminals behind the ransomware infection, unless the ransomware is still in development and/or has bugs/flaws. To protect files against data encryption and damaging attacks, keep backup copies on remote servers and/or unplugged storage devices. As these are also liable to damage, store multiple copies in different locations.

How did ransomware infect my computer?

Ransomware and other malware is mainly proliferated via trojans, spam campaigns, untrustworthy download channels, software "cracking" (activation) tools, and fake updaters. Trojans are malicious programs that operate by causing chain infections (i.e., they download/install additional malware). Spam campaigns are used to send out thousands of deceptive emails, which are typically marked as "official", "important", "urgent", or similar. They contain infectious attachments, which can be archive files (e.g. ZIP, RAR, etc.), executable files (e.g. .exe, .run, etc.), Microsoft Office and PDF documents, JavaScript, and other formats. When these attachments are opened (run, executed, etc.), they cause infections by downloading/installing malicious programs. Peer-to-Peer sharing networks (BitTorrent, eMule, Gnutella, etc.), unofficial and free file-hosting websites, third party downloaders, and similar sources are untrustworthy. These download channels are often used to proliferate malicious software or bundled content. Software "cracking" tools can download/install malware, rather than activating your chosen product. Fake program updaters exploit weaknesses in outdated software and/or install malicious content, rather than the advertised updates.

Threat Summary:
Name virus
Threat Type Ransomware, Crypto Virus, Files locker.
Encrypted Files Extension .[]
Ransom Demanding Message help you.txt
Cyber Criminal Contact,
Detection Names Avast (Win32:Malware-gen), BitDefender (Generic.Ransom.GlobeImposter.338A60B6), ESET-NOD32 (A Variant Of Win32/Filecoder.FV), Kaspersky (HEUR:Trojan.Win32.Generic), 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.
Malware Removal (Windows)

To eliminate possible malware infections, scan your computer with legitimate antivirus software. Our security researchers recommend using Malwarebytes.
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How to protect yourself from ransomware infections

Do not read or open suspicious or irrelevant emails received from unknown senders (addresses), since they will infect the system. Use only official and verified sources for downloading, as opposed to P2P sharing networks, free file-hosting sites, and other third party downloaders. Software should be updated using tools/functions provided by the official developers, and not via those obtained from third parties. Illegal program activation tools ("cracks") should be avoided - rather than activating licensed products, they can install malware. Have a reputable anti-virus/anti-spyware suite installed and kept updated. This software should be employed to perform regular system scans and remove detected threats. If your computer is already infected with, we recommend running a scan with Malwarebytes for Windows to automatically eliminate this ransomware.

Text presented in ransomware text file ("help you.txt"):

your personal id

Want to recover your data? write to us by mail and send us your
personal id and domain of your computer and copie 

Screenshot of files encrypted by (".[]" extension):

Files encrypted by ransomware removal:

Instant automatic malware removal: Manual threat removal might be a lengthy and complicated process that requires advanced computer skills. Malwarebytes is a professional automatic malware removal tool that is recommended to get rid of malware. Download it by clicking the button below:
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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 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 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 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 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, 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 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 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 malware activity level today:

Medium threat activity

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

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