How to avoid data and financial loss caused by Werd ransomware?

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

Werd ransomware removal instructions

What is Werd?

Werd ransomware is a part of a Djvu ransomware family. It is distributed with a purpose to encrypt files and force victims to pay a ransom. Werd appends the ".werd" extension to every encrypted file, for example, it renames a file named "1.jpg" to "1.jpg.werd", and so on. Like most programs of this type it creates a ransom note as well, a text file named "_readme.txt". This file contains information about how to purchase a decryption software. Typically, ransomware victims cannot decrypt their files without those tools and that is why they are forced to pay cyber criminals a ransom.

As stated in the "_readme.txt" ransom note, Werd encrypts photos, databases, documents and other files with a strong encryption algorithm. The only way to recover files is to purchase a decryption software and unique key, cyber criminals are selling them for $980. However, they offer a 50% discount for victims who will contact them in the first 72 hours after having files encrypted by Werd. They can be contacted via gorentos@bitmessage.ch or gerentosrestore@firemail.cc email address. Either way, they make it clear that it is impossible to decrypt files without a tool and key that only they have. Unfortunately, it is true. However, it is not recommended to pay cyber criminals, there is a high possibility to get scammed. Quite often they do not provide decryption tools or/and keys even when victims have met all their demands (paid a ransom and so on). Typically, the only (and free) way to recover files without having to contact and pay cyber criminals is to restore them from an existing backup.

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

Werd decrypt instructions

There are many examples of other ransomware-type programs, a couple of them are Bot, Maze and DEADMIN LOCKER. Most cyber criminals use them to extract money from people by encrypting their data and forcing them to pay a ransom/purchase decryption tools. The two main and most common differences are price of a decryption and cryptographic algorithm (symmetric or asymmetric) that is used to encrypt files. Unluckily, in most cases it is impossible to decrypt encrypted files without the tools that only cyber criminals have, unless ransomware is not finished, contains unfixed bugs, flaws, etc. For this reason it we recommend to always have data backed up and keep it on unplugged, disconnected storage device or/and remote server.

How did ransomware infect my computer?

Typically, malware (ransomware, and other programs of this kind) is distributed through spam campaigns (emails), questionable file or software download channels/tools, Trojans, fake software updating and unofficial activation tools. Quite often cyber criminals send emails that include malicious attachments. Their main goal is to trick recipients into opening the attached file or a file that gets downloaded through a provided link. If opened, it installs ransomware or other malicious software. Examples of files that cyber criminals usually attach are Microsoft Office, PDF documents, JavaScript files, archives like ZIP, RAR and executable files (like .exe). Examples of untrustworthy software or file download channels are unofficial or freeware download websites, free file hosting pages, Peer-to-Peer networks (like eMule, torrent clients), and other tools of this kind. They can be used to proliferate malicious software too. Cyber criminals upload malicious files and disguise them as legitimate, harmless. People who open files downloaded from such sources may infect computers with high-risk malicious programs. Trojans are programs that are designed to cause chain infections: if installed, Trojans install additional malware like ransomware. Fake software updating tools usually infect systems by installing malware instead of updating or fixing installed programs, or the exploit bugs, flaws of outdated software that is installed on the operating system. Unofficial activation tools supposed to help their users to avoid payments for activation of licensed software. Nevertheless, tools of this type often cause installation of malicious software.

Threat Summary:
Name Werd virus
Threat Type Ransomware, Crypto Virus, Files locker
Detection Names Avast (FileRepMalware), BitDefender (Trojan.GenericKD.32619565), ESET-NOD32 (A Variant Of Win32/Kryptik.GXNA), Kaspersky (Trojan-Banker.Win32.Jimmy.ewn), Full List (VirusTotal)
Encrypted Files Extension .werd
Ransom Demanding Message _readme.txt
Ransom Amount $980/$490
Cyber Criminal Contact gorentos@bitmessage.ch, gerentosrestore@firemail.cc
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.
Additional Information This malware is designed to show a fake Windows Update window and modify the Windows "hosts" file to prevent users from accessing cyber security websites (more information below).
Distribution methods Infected email attachments (macros), torrent websites, malicious ads, unofficial activation and updating tools.
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 Werd 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 recommended to avoid downloading files and programs using various third party software downloaders, questionable pages, and other similar sources. We advise to download them using only official and trustworthy websites (and direct download links). Installed software or operating system should be updated through implemented functions or tools that are provided by official software developers, third party tools can lead to installation of malware. Also, we advise to avoid opening attachments (or web links) that are included in irrelevant emails that are sent from unknown, suspicious addresses. If software is not free and it has to be activated, it should not be done using 'cracking' tools. It is illegal and can lead to having a computer infected with high-risk malware. In order to keep computers even more safer, we recommend to scan them with a reputable anti-spyware or anti-virus software regularly and always remove detected threats as soon as possible. If your computer is already infected with Werd, we recommend running a scan with Spyhunter for Windows to automatically eliminate this ransomware.

Text presented in Werd ransomware's text file ("_readme.txt"):

ATTENTION!

Don't worry, you can return all your files!
All your files like photos, databases, documents and other important are encrypted with
strongest encryption and unique key.
The only method of recovering files is to purchase decrypt tool and unique key for you.
This software will decrypt all your encrypted files.
What guarantees you have?
You can send one of your encrypted file from your PC and we decrypt it for free.
But we can decrypt only 1 file for free. File must not contain valuable information.
You can get and look video overview decrypt tool:
https://we.tl/t-vzAZbtWtGh
Price of private key and decrypt software is $980.
Discount 50% available if you contact us first 72 hours, that's price for you is $490.
Please note that you'll never restore your data without payment.
Check your e-mail "Spam" or "Junk" folder if you don't get answer more than 6 hours.


To get this software you need write on our e-mail:
gorentos@bitmessage.ch

Reserve e-mail address to contact us:
gerentosrestore@firemail.cc

Your personal ID:
-

Screenshot of files encrypted by Werd (".werd" extension):

Files encrypted by Werd

Screenshot of fake Windows update pop-up displayed during the encryption:

Fake Windows pop-up displayed by Werd during the encryption

IMPORTANT NOTE! - As well as encrypting data, ransomware-type infections from the Djvu malware family also add a number of entries to the Windows "hosts" file. The entries contain URLs of various websites, most of which are related to malware removal. This is done to prevent users from accessing malware security websites and seeking help. Our website (PCrisk.com) is also on the list. Removing these entries, however, is simple - you can find detailed instructions in this article (note that, although the steps are shown in the Windows 10 environment, the process is virtually identical on all versions of the Microsoft Windows operating system).

Screenshot of websites added to Windows hosts file:

Tro Ransomware adding websites to Windows Hosts file

There are currently two versions of Djvu ransomware infections: old and new. The old versions were designed to encrypt data by using a hard-coded "offline key" whenever the infected machine had no internet connection or the server was timing out/not responding. Therefore, some victims were able to decrypt data using a tool developed by cyber security researcher, Michael Gillespie, however, since the encryption mechanism has been slightly changed (hence the new version, released in August, 2019), the decrypter no longer works and it is not supported anymore. If your data has been encrypted by an older version, you might be able to restore it with the another tool developed by Emsisoft and Michael Gillespie. It supports a total of 148 Djvu's variants and you can find more information, as well as download link and decryption instructions in Emsisoft's official page.

Screenshot of Djvu decryption tool by Emsisoft and Michael Gillespie:

Djvu ransomware decrypter by Michael Gillespie and Emsisoft

Additionally, Emsisoft is now providing a service that allows to decrypt data (again, only if it was encrypted by Djvu variants released before August, 2019) for those victims who have a pair of the same file before and after the encryption. All victims have to do is upload a pair of original and encrypted file to Emsisoft's Djvu decryption page and download the aforementioned decryption tool (the download link will be provided after uploading files). Note that the file processing may take some time so be patient. It is also worth mentioning that the system must have an Internet connection during the entire decryption process, otherwise it will fail.

Screenshot of Emsisoft's Djvu decryption service page:

Djvu ransomware decryption service by Emsisoft

Werd ransomware removal:

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

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