How to remove Uta ransomware from your operating system

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

Uta ransomware removal instructions

What is Uta?

Uta is malicious software that was discovered by Raby. The program belongs to the Crysis/Dharma ransomware family and operates by encrypting data and keeping it locked, until a ransom is paid. During the encryption process, all files are renamed with a unique ID number (generated individually for each victim), the developer's email address, and the ".uta" extension. For example, "1.jpg" might be renamed to "1.jpg.id-1E857D00.[jacklee@airmail.cc].uta" or similar for all affected files. After encryption is complete, Uta creates a text file ("FILES ENCRYPTED.txt"), which it stores on the desktop, and opens a pop-up window.

The text file informs users that their data has been locked and, to recover it, they must send an email to the developers of Uta. The message in the pop-up window contains detailed instructions about how to restore the encrypted files. The victim's email must contain the unique ID in the subject/title. If no response is received within 24 hours, people are encouraged to use the alternative email address. It is further stated that the size of the ransom will depend on how quickly the victims contact the cyber criminals behind Uta. The ransom must be paid in the Bitcoin cryptocurrency. Once payment is transferred, a decryption tool/software is sent. As 'proof' of their ability to restore the encrypted data, criminals offer to decrypt one file free of charge. They will do so, if the file is no larger than 1 MB (non-archived) and contains no 'valuable information' (e.g. database, backup, large excel sheet, or similar). The message then gives instructions about how to obtain Bitcoins, and lists warnings - detailing what not do. Victims must not rename the encrypted files or attempt to decrypt them using third party software, otherwise they risk permanent data loss. This is accurate. No free tools are capable of "cracking" Uta encryption. Ransomware-type programs use strong encryption, which usually cannot be broken without the involvement of the criminals whose software carried out the encryption in the first place. Despite this, you are strongly advised against meeting the ransom demands or communicating with ransomware developers. Although some victims pay, they receive no decryption tools/software and their files remain encrypted and useless. The only viable solution is to restore data from a backup, if one was made prior to the infection and kept separately.

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

Uta decrypt instructions

MedusaLockerOmniSphereencryptedRSA, and Veracrypt are other malicious programs similar to Uta. Most ransomware shares common traits. This software encrypts data and demands ransom payments for decryption (i.e., payment for the decryption tool/software). They differ by cryptographic algorithm used (symmetric or asymmetric) and size of ransom. Typically, these payments range between three-digit and four-digit sums (in USD). Cyber criminals prefer digital currencies (e.g. cryptocurrencies, pre-paid vouchers, etc.), as these transactions are difficult or impossible to trace. Manual decryption is not possible, unless the ransomware-type program is still in development and/or has certain flaws/bugs. To protect files from damage or encryption, keep backups on remote servers and/or unplugged storage devices. Both are liable to damage, and therefore store multiple copies in different locations.

How did ransomware infect my computer

Ransomware and other malware mainly proliferate through trojans, spam campaigns, untrustworthy download channels, fake software updaters, and "cracking" (activation) tools. Trojans are malicious programs, designed to initiate chain infections (i.e., they download/install additional malware). Spam campaigns are used to send out thousands of deceptive emails containing dangerous attachments. These emails are often marked as "official", "important", "urgent", etc. The attachments can be in various file formats (Microsoft Office and PDF documents, archive and executable files, JavaScript, etc.). Once opened, they cause the infection. Untrustworthy download sources include P2P sharing networks (BitTorrent, eMule, Gnutella), unofficial and free file-hosting websites, third party downloaders, and similar. These channels are more likely to offer malicious content or bundled software. Fake updaters exploit the weaknesses/flaws in outdated programs and/or install malware, rather than the promised updates. Illegal software "cracking" tools infect systems similarly: they can install malicious programs rather than activating the licensed products.

Threat Summary:
Name Uta virus
Threat Type Ransomware, Crypto Virus, Files locker.
Encrypted Files Extension .uta (this ransomware also appends filenames with the victim's unique ID and developer's email address)
Ransom Demanding Message Pop-up window (HTML Application), FILES ENCRYPTED.txt text file.
Cyber Criminal Contact jacklee73@mail.ua, jacklee@airmail.cc
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 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 irrelevant/suspicious emails, especially those received form unknown senders. Never open attachments or web-links found in emails of this type, as the attached files are the source of the infection. Only official and verified download channels should be used. Installed programs should be kept up-to-date with functions/tools provided by genuine developers. Software should also be activated using legal means. Note that "cracking" tools are classed as high-risk. Have a reputable anti-virus/anti-spyware suite installed and kept updated. This software should be used for regular system scans and the removal of detected threats. If your computer is already infected with Uta, we recommend running a scan with Malwarebytes for Windows to automatically eliminate this ransomware.

Text presented in Uta ransomware pop-up window:

All your files have been encrypted!
All your files have been encrypted due to a security problem with your PC. If you want to restore them, write us to the e-mail jacklee@airmail.cc
Write this ID in the title of your message 1E857D00
In case of no answer in 24 hours write us to theese e-mails:jacklee73@mail.ua
You have to pay for decryption in Bitcoins. The price depends on how fast you write to us. After payment we will send you the decryption tool that will decrypt all your files.
Free decryption as guarantee
Before paying 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.)
How to obtain Bitcoins
The easiest way to buy bitcoins is LocalBitcoins site. You have to register, click 'Buy bitcoins', and select the seller by payment method and price.
hxxps://localbitcoins.com/buy_bitcoins
Also you can find other places to buy Bitcoins and beginners guide here:
hxxp://www.coindesk.com/information/how-can-i-buy-bitcoins/
Attention!
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 Uta text file  ("FILES ENCRYPTED.txt"):

Uta text file

Text presented in this file:

all your data has been locked us
You want to return?
write email jacklee@airmail.cc or jacklee73@mail.ua 

Screenshot of files encrypted by Uta (".uta" extension):

Files encrypted by Uta

Uta 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 Uta 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 Uta 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 Uta 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 Uta 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 Uta, 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 Uta 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, and 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 Uta 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 malware activity level today:

Medium threat activity

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

QR Code
Uta 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 Uta virus on your mobile device.
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