How to remove Asus ransomware from your operating system

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

Asus ransomware removal instructions

What is Asus?

Belonging to the CrySiS/Dharma malware family and discovered by Jakub Kroustek, Asus is ransomware. This malicious program is designed to encrypt data and demand a ransom payment for decryption tools/software. During the encryption process, all files are renamed with a unique ID number (generated for each victim), the developer's email address, and the ".asus" extension. For example, "1.jpg" might appear as something like "1.jpg.id-1E857D00.[DataBack@qbmail.biz].asus". After this process is complete, Asus stores a text file ("FILES ENCRYPTED.txt") on the desktop and displays a pop-up window.

The text file informs victims that their data has been locked and, to recover it, they must send a message using the email addresses provided. The pop-up window contains a more detailed ransom message stating that the data has been encrypted and, to decrypt it, users must contact the cyber criminals behind Asus. The email must contain the affected user's unique ID number in the title/subject of the message. Should the developers of this malicious software not reply within 24 hours, victims are to use an alternative email address. The size of ransom will depend on how quickly the criminals are contacted. The stipulated currency is Bitcoin (cryptocurrency). Once the transaction is made, decryption tools are supposedly sent. As 'proof', one file can be decrypted free of charge, provided it is no larger than 1 MB (non-archived) and contains no 'valuable information' (e.g. database, backups, large excel sheets, or similar). Furthermore, instructions are given about how to obtain Bitcoins. Users are also warned not to rename the encrypted files or attempt manual decryption with third party software, since this risks permanent data loss. Unfortunately, most ransomware-type programs use strong encryption, which typically can only be cracked by the software originally used for encryption. Despite this, you are strongly advised against meeting the ransom demands or communicating with cyber criminals. Although some victims pay, they often receive none of the promised tools, thus leaving their files permanently damaged. Removing Asus will not restore the compromised data, however, it will prevent further encryption. The only solution is to recover files from a backup, if one was made prior to the infection and stored separately.

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

Asus decrypt instructions

WormCCryptor, and PBD are a few examples of malware similar to Asus. All ransomware encrypts data and demands ransom payments, however, the cryptographic algorithm used (symmetric or asymmetric) and size of payment differs from one infection to another. These sums usually range between three-digits and four-digits (in USD). Digital currencies (e.g. cryptocurrencies, pre-paid vouchers, etc.) are preferred by cyber criminals, as these transactions are difficult/impossible to trace. Manual decryption (without the involvement of the criminals who encrypted the files) is impossible, unless ransomware is still in development and/or has certain flaws/bugs. To ensure data safety, backup copies should be kept on remote servers and/or unplugged storage devices. Ideally, multiple backups should be stored in different locations.

How did ransomware infect my computer?

Ransomware and other malicious software mainly proliferates through trojans, spam campaigns, untrustworthy download channels, fake program updaters and "cracking" tools. Trojans are malware programs designed to cause chain infections. Massive scale spam campaigns are used to send out deceptive emails with dangerous attachments (or web-links leading to them). These emails are typically disguised as "official", "important" and "urgent" mail. The attachments come in various formats (e.g. archive and executable files, PDF and Microsoft Office documents, JavaScript, etc.). When they are opened, they begin downloading/installing malware. P2P sharing networks (BitTorrent, eMule, Gnutella, etc.), unofficial and free file-hosting sites, third party downloaders, and similar sources are untrusted. These download channels offer malicious content and/or regular programs bundled with malware. Fake updaters exploit weaknesses in outdated software and/or simply install malicious programs, rather than the promised updates. Illegal software activation tools ("cracks") can infect systems, rather than activate licensed products.

Threat Summary:
Name Asus virus
Threat Type Ransomware, Crypto Virus, Files locker.
Encrypted Files Extension .asus
Ransom Demanding Message FILES ENCRYPTED.txt and pop-up window.
Cyber Criminal Contact DataBack@qbmail.biz and BTCdecoding@foxmail.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 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

Suspicious/Irrelevant emails should not be opened, especially those received from unknown addresses. Any attachments (or web-links) found in this mail should never be opened, as this is the source of a potential system infection. Use official and verified download channels. Software activation and updating should be performed via tools/function provided by genuine developers. Using illegal activation ("cracking") tools and third party updaters is not advised. Have a reputable anti-virus/anti-spyware suite installed and kept updated. This software is to be used for regular system scans and removal of detected threats. If your computer is already infected with Asus, we recommend running a scan with Malwarebytes for Windows to automatically eliminate this ransomware.

Text presented in Asus 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 DataBack@qbmail.biz
Write this ID in the title of your message 1E857D00
In case of no answer in 24 hours write us to theese e-mails:BTCdecoding@foxmail.com
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 Asus text file ("FILES ENCRYPTED.txt"):

Asus text file

Text presented in this file:

all your data has been locked us
You want to return?
write email DataBack@qbmail.biz or BTCdecoding@foxmail.com 

Screenshot of files encrypted by Asus (".asus" extension):

Files encrypted by Asus

Asus 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 Asus 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 Asus 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 Asus 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 Asus 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 Asus, 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 Asus 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 Asus 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
Asus 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 Asus virus on your mobile device.
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