How to remove Deal ransomware from the operating system

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

Deal ransomware removal instructions

What is Deal?

Discovered by dnwls0719, Deal is malicious software belonging to the Phobos ransomware family. It is designed to encrypt data and keep it locked, until a ransom is paid for decryption. During the encryption process, all files are renamed with the victim's unique ID number, developer's email address, and the ".deal" extension. For example, "1.jpg" might be renamed to "1.jpg.id[1E857D00-2423].[butters.felicio@aol.com].deal". After the process is complete, this malicious program creates two files named "info.txt" and "info.hta", and stores them on the desktop. Updated variants of this ransomware use ".[kinny.ogram@aol.com].deal", ".[hinkle.s@aol.com].deal", ".[jewkeswilmer@aol.com].deal", ".[kenny.sarginson@aol.com].deal", ".[harlin_marten@aol.com].deal", ".[lewisswaffield.a@aol.com].deal", and ".[relvirosa1981@aol.com].deal" extensions for encrypted files.

The two files contain the ransom message, which is practically identical (the message in the HTML application is slightly more detailed). The message states that the affected data has been locked but not corrupted. To recover it, victims are instructed to contact the developers of Deal, via the email addresses provided. The message must contain a unique ID number (generated individually for each victim) in the subject/title. Users are also permitted to send a number of encrypted files to the cyber criminals, which they will decrypt free of charge - this is 'proof' of their ability to restore the data. Victims can also suggest an alternative communication method if they wish. The message further states that users can try manual decryption (i.e. without the involvement of the developers), however, they are advised not to attempt this on all files (otherwise they might "lose all data"). Due to third party software being unable to "crack" Deal's encryption, such attempts can result in permanent data loss. Unfortunately, this information is accurate - in most cases, only the software used to encrypt the files is capable of decoding them. Deal and other ransomware-type programs use strong encryptions, which are impossible to break with free decryption tools/software. Despite this, do not contact or pay the cyber criminals behind this infection. Paying the ransom (i.e., purchasing decryption software) often delivers no decryption tools - data thus remains encrypted and useless. The only solution is to restore files from a backup, provided one was made before the ransomware infection, and kept separately.

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

Deal decrypt instructions

Ransomware is a common type of malware, although these malicious programs share certain traits. BoraOnyxLockerMike, and Estemani are some examples of software akin to Deal. They all perform data encryption and make ransom demands. The main differences are cryptographic algorithm (symmetric or asymmetric) used to encrypt files and the size of ransom, which typically range between three-digit and four-digit sums (in USD). It is virtually impossible to recover encrypted data without the involvement of the cyber criminals behind a specific ransomware infection. Manual decryption might only be possible if the encryption software is still in development and/or has flaws/bugs. To protect files from data encryption and damaging attacks, keep backups on remote servers and/or unplugged storage devices (ideally, multiple copies in different locations).

How did ransomware infect my computer?

Trojans, spam campaigns, untrustworthy download sources, software "cracking" (activation) tools and fake updaters are used to proliferate ransomware and other malware. Trojans are malicious programs that operate by causing chain infections. They download/install additional malware. Massive scale spam campaigns are used to send out deceptive emails, containing infectious attachments. These messages are usually highlighted as "official", "important", "urgent", or similar. The attachments are the cause of an infection - when opened (or run, executed, etc.), they download/install malicious content. These rogue files can be in various formats, such as Microsoft Office and PDF documents, archive and executable files, JavaScript and others. Peer-to-Peer sharing networks, unofficial and free file-hosting websites, third party downloaders and similar channels are classed as untrustworthy. They are often used to spread malicious software and/or content bundled with it. Illegal activation tools ("cracks") can install malware, rather than activating the licensed product. Fake software updaters infect systems in a similar way - they exploit weaknesses in existing programs and/or simply install malicious programs, rather than the promised updates.

Threat Summary:
Name Deal virus
Threat Type Ransomware, Crypto Virus, Files locker.
Encrypted Files Extension .deal (this ransomware also appends filenames with the victim's unique ID and developer's email address).
Ransom Demanding Message info.hta (HTML application), info.txt (text file).
Cyber Criminal Contact butters.felicio@aol.com, ezequielanthon@aol.com
Detection Names Avast (Win32:Trojan-gen), BitDefender (Trojan.GenericKD.32569351), ESET-NOD32 (A Variant Of Win32/Packed.VMProtect.LE), 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

Irrelevant emails received from suspicious/unknown senders (addresses) should not be read. Any attachments found in them must never be opened, since this is likely to lead to an infection. You are strongly advised to use only official and verified download channels, as opposed to P2P sharing networks (BitTorrent, eMule, Gnutella, etc.), various suspicious download/file-hosting websites, or third party downloaders. These dubious download sources are far more likely to offer deceptive and malicious content. Installed programs should be updated via tools/functions provided by the genuine developers. The same extends to software activation. Illegal activation tools ("cracks") should not be used. Have reputable anti-virus/anti-spyware software installed and kept up-to-date. These programs should be used for regular system scans and removal of detected threats. If your computer is already infected with Deal, we recommend running a scan with Malwarebytes for Windows to automatically eliminate this ransomware.

Text presented in Deal ransomware HTML application ("info.hta"):

Files are locked* but not corrupted
Your computer is infected with a virus.
Files are locked* but not corrupted.
Send an email butters.felicio@aol.com, specify in the subject unique identifier 1E857D00-2423 and you will definitely be helped to recover.
*you can send us a couple of files and we will return the restored ones to prove that only we can do it
IMPORTANT:
1. the infection was due to vulnerabilities in your software
2. if you want to make sure that it is impossible to recover files using third-party software, do this not on all files, otherwise you may lose all data.
3. only communication through our email can guarantee file recovery for you. We are not responsible for the actions of third parties who promise to help you - most often they are scammers.
4. if we do not respond to you within 24 hours, send a message to the email ezequielanthon@aol.com
5. if you need an alternative communication channel - write a request by e-mail
6. our goal is to return your data, but if you do not contact us, we will not succeed

Screenshot of Deal text file ("info.txt"):

Deal text file

Text presented in this file:

Your computer is infected with a virus.
Files are locked* but not corrupted.

Send an email butters.felicio@aol.com and you will definitely be helped to recover.

*you can send us a couple of files and we will return the restored ones to prove that only we can do it

IMPORTANT:
1. the infection was due to vulnerabilities in your software
2. if you want to make sure that it is impossible to recover files using third-party software, do this not on all files, otherwise you may lose all data.
3. only communication through our email can guarantee file recovery for you. We are not responsible for the actions of third parties who promise to help you - most often they are scammers.
4. if we do not respond to you within 24 hours, send a message to the email ezequielanthon@aol.com
5. if you need an alternative communication channel - write a request by e-mail
6. our goal is to return your data, but if you do not contact us, we will not succeed

Screenshot of files encrypted by Deal (".deal" extension):

Files encrypted by Deal

Deal 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 Deal 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 Deal 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 Deal 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 Deal 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 Deal, 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 Deal 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 Deal 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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Removal Instructions in other languages
Malware activity

Global malware activity level today:

Medium threat activity

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

QR Code
Deal 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 Deal virus on your mobile device.
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