How to remove .VIRUS ransomware from operating systems

Also Known As: .VIRUS virus
Distribution: Low
Damage level: Severe

.VIRUS ransomware removal instructions

What is .VIRUS?

Discovered by Jakub Kroustek and belonging to the Dharma ransomware family, .VIRUS is malicious software, which is categorized as ransomware. This program operates by encrypting data and demanding ransom payments for decryption software/tools. When .VIRUS encrypts files, it renames them with the victim's unique ID number, the developer's email address, and ".VIRUS" extension. Therefore, "1.jpg" might appear similar to "1.jpg.id-1E857D00.[amandacerny89@aol.com].VIRUS", and so on. After this process is complete, a text file ("FILES ENCRYPTED.txt") is created on the desktop and a pop-up window is displayed.

The text file informs victims that their data has been locked. To retrieve it, they must send an email to the addresses provided. The message in the pop-up window is a more detailed ransom message. It reiterates that all files have been encrypted, and to recover them, users must contact the developers of .VIRUS. The email must contain the unique ID number in the title/subject. If no answer is received after 24 hours, victims are urged to use the other email address. The size of the ransom is not stated, but will depend on how quickly the cyber criminals are contacted. Payment must be made in the Bitcoin cryptocurrency and information is provided about how to procure this currency. As 'proof' of their ability to restore the data, the criminals offer to decrypt one file free of charge, provided the file does not exceed 1 MB (non-archived) and contains no valuable information, such as databases, backups, large excel sheets, etc. Users are warned not to rename the files or attempt manual decryption with third party software, as this will result in permanent data loss. Only the ransomware program used to originally encrypt the data is capable of decryption. Despite this, you are strongly advised against meeting the ransom demands or communicating with any cyber criminals. Some victims pay and receive none of the promised tools. Therefore, their data remains encrypted and beyond repair. Removal of this malicious software will not restore the affected files, but it will prevent .VIRUS from further encryption. The only viable solution is to recover encrypted data from a backup, if one was made before the infection and stored separately.

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

.VIRUS decrypt instructions

Most ransomware is similar. For example Meka2Hamlampampom, and Asus are akin to .VIRUS. All malware of this type encrypts data and demands ransom payments. They differ by cryptographic algorithm used (symmetric or asymmetric) and size of ransom payment. Ransoms typically range between three-digit and four-digit sums. Cyber criminals tend to prefer digital currencies (e.g. cryptocurrencies, pre-paid vouchers, etc.), as these transactions are difficult/impossible to trace. Unless specific ransomware is still in development and/or has flaws/bugs, manual decryption without developers' involvement is impossible. To ensure data safety, keep backup copies in unplugged storage devices and/or remote servers. Since these are liable to damage, store several backups in different locations.

How did ransomware infect my computer?

Ransomware and other malware is commonly proliferated via trojans, spam campaigns, untrustworthy download channels, fake software updaters and "cracking" (activation) tools. Trojans are a type of malware - they operate by downloading/installing additional malicious programs. Spam campaigns are used to send out a large number of deceptive/scam emails, containing dangerous attachments (or web-links leading to them). This mail is often highlighted as "official", "important", "urgent" or with other priority labels. The attachments can come in a variety of formats, such as archive and executable files, Microsoft Office and PDF documents, JavaScript, etc. Once these files are run, executed or otherwise opened, they cause the infection. Peer-to-Peer sharing networks (BitTorrent, eMule, Gnutella, etc.), unofficial and free file-hosting websites, third party downloaders and similar sources are untrusted. These download sources can offer deceptive and/or bundled content. By exploiting the weaknesses of outdated software, fake updaters infect systems, however, they can simply install malware, rather than the promised updates. "Cracking" tools often download/install malicious programs rather than activating licensed products.

Threat Summary:
Name .VIRUS virus
Threat Type Ransomware, Crypto Virus, Files locker.
Encrypted Files Extension .VIRUS (it also appends files with a unique ID number and developer's email address).
Ransom Demanding Message FILES ENCRYPTED.txt and text presented in a pop-up window.
Cyber Criminal Contact amandacerny89@aol.com and homer89263@hotmail.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.
Removal

To eliminate .VIRUS 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

Do not open irrelevant emails, especially mail received from unknown senders (addresses). Do not open any attachments or links contained within them, as this can trigger them to download/install malware. Software should be downloaded only from official and verified channels. Program activation and updating should also be done through legitimate functions/tools. Illegal activation ("cracking") tools and third party updaters are high-risk and should not be used. Have reputable anti-virus/anti-spyware software installed and kept up-to-date. Perform regular system scans and remove potential threats. If your computer is already infected with .VIRUS, we recommend running a scan with Spyhunter for Windows to automatically eliminate this ransomware.

Text presented in .VIRUS 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 amandacerny89@aol.com
Write this ID in the title of your message 1E857D00
In case of no answer in 24 hours write us to theese e-mails:homer89263@hotmail.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 .VIRUS text file ("FILES ENCRYPTED.txt"):

.VIRUS text file

Text presented in this file:

all your data has been locked us
You want to return?
write email amandacerny89@aol.com or homer89263@hotmail.com 

Screenshot of files encrypted by .VIRUS (".VIRUS" extension):

Files encrypted by .VIRUS

.VIRUS ransomware removal:

Instant automatic removal of .VIRUS 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 .VIRUS 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 .VIRUS 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 .VIRUS 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 .VIRUS 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 .VIRUS 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 .VIRUS, 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 .VIRUS 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 .VIRUS 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 virus and spyware activity level today:

Medium threat activity
Medium

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

QR Code
.VIRUS 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 .VIRUS virus on your mobile device.
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Platform: Windows

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