Avoid having files encrypted by Hakbit ransomware

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

Hakbit ransomware removal instructions

What is Hakbit?

Hakbit ransomware was discovered by GrujaRS. Like most software of this type, it encrypts files so that victims cannot regain access unless they restore them with a decryption tool, which can only be purchased from the cyber criminals who designed the ransomware. Hakbit changes filenames of all encrypted files by adding the ".crypted" extension (updated variants append ".horse", ".turretsyndrome", ".pay" or ".crypt" extensions). For example, it renames "1.jpg" to "1.jpg.crypted", and so on. Furthermore, Hakbit changes the victim's wallpaper and creates a ransom message within the "HELP_ME_RECOVER_MY_FILES.txt" text file.

Both ransom messages (on the modified wallpaper and "HELP_ME_RECOVER_MY_FILES.txt" file) contain identical text. Cyber criminals who designed Hakbit demand to be paid a ransom of $300 in Bitcoins using the BTC wallet address provided. Victims must send proof of payment and the appointed personal ID to the hakbit@protonmail.com email address. Once this is done, cyber criminals should return a decryption tool and a personal decryption password. Typically, only the cyber criminals who designed specific ransomware can help victims to decrypt files. Despite this, victims who trust them and pay the ransoms are scammed and receive no tools to restore their data, even after payment. To avoid being scammed, we recommend that you restore files from a backup, however, this is possible only if the data was backed up prior to the ransomware attack. Even if the ransomware is uninstalled, all files remain encrypted. Uninstalling ransomware (in this case, Hakbit) from the system simply prevents it from causing further encryption.

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

Hakbit decrypt instructions

Hakbit is similar to a number of other ransomware-type programs. For example, .VIRUS, Meka, and Toec. Typically, these programs encrypt files and keep them locked unless victims decrypt them with a particular decryption tool and/or key. The main differences are usually cost of decryption and cryptographic algorithm (symmetric or asymmetric) that ransomware uses to encrypt data. Unfortunately, victims cannot decrypt their files without tools held only by the cyber criminals who designed the ransomware, unless the ransomware is not finished, has bugs, flaws, etc. Therefore, victims who wish to recover their files are often tempted to contact cyber criminals and pay ransoms. Therefore, have your data backed up and store it on a remote server or unplugged storage device.

How did ransomware infect my computer?

Generally, cyber criminals proliferate malicious programs using spam campaigns, untrustworthy software download sources/channels, Trojans, third party (fake) software updating tools and unofficial 'activators' (software 'cracking' tools. When cyber criminals proliferate malware through spam campaigns, they send emails that contain malicious attachments (or website links that download malicious files). In most cases, they attach an executable (.exe) file, PDF document, archive file such as ZIP, RAR, Microsoft Office document, JavaScript, or other file. If recipients open these attachments, they allow them to install high-risk malware. Peer-to-Peer networks (such as torrent clients, eMule), freeware download websites, file hosting websites, third party downloaders and other sources/tools are also used to proliferate malicious programs. Cyber criminals employ them to distribute malicious files disguised as legitimate. People who download and open them risk installing malicious software. Trojans are malicious programs that are often designed to cause chain infections. When installed, Trojans install other (additional) malware. Fake software updating tools usually infect systems by installing malicious programs rather than updates/fixes, or by exploiting bugs/flaws of software that is out-of-date. Software 'cracking' tools supposedly bypass activation of paid, licensed software, however, they are often designed by cyber criminals who seek to infect computers with malware.

Threat Summary:
Name Hakbit virus
Threat Type Ransomware, Crypto Virus, Files locker.
Encrypted Files Extension .crypted, .horse, .turretsyndrome, .pay, .crypt
Ransom Demanding Message HELP_ME_RECOVER_MY_FILES.txt and wallpaper.
Ransom Amount $300 in Bitcoins
Bitcoin Wallet Address 12grtxACJZkgT2nGAvMesgoM4ADHJ6NTaW
Cyber Criminal Contact hakbit@protonmail.com
Detection Names Avast (FileRepMalware), BitDefender (Trojan.GenericKD.41982566), ESET-NOD32 (A Variant Of MSIL/Agent.THY), Kaspersky (HEUR:Trojan.Win32.Generic), Full List Of Detections (VirusTotal)
Rogue Process Name Google Chrome
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.
▼ Download Malwarebytes
To use full-featured product, you have to purchase a license for Malwarebytes. 14 days free trial available.

How to protect yourself from ransomware infections

Emails that contain attachments or web links and sent from unknown, suspicious addresses should not be trusted. Cyber criminals often disguise them as official, important, and so on. Installed programs should be updated through implemented functions and/or tools designed by official developers. We strongly advise against using third party tools. It is not safe to download software from unofficial websites, using third party downloaders, or other sources of this kind (mentioned above). All files and programs should be downloaded from official websites. Operating systems and installed programs should not be activated using 'cracking' (unofficial activation) tools - this is illegal and the tools are often designed to cause installation of malware. Keep your system safe by regularly scanning it with reputable anti-spyware or antivirus software, and ensure that it is up-to-date. If your computer is already infected with Hakbit, we recommend running a scan with Malwarebytes for Windows to automatically eliminate this ransomware.

Text presented in Hakbit ransomware text file ("HELP_ME_RECOVER_MY_FILES.txt") and wallpaper:

Atention! all your important files were encrypted!
to get your files back send 300 USD worth in Bitcoins and contact us with proof of
payment and your Unique Identifier Key.
We will send you a decryption tool with your personal decryption password.

Where can you buy Bitcoins:


Contact: hakbit@protonmail.com.

Bitcoin wallet to make the transfer to is: 12grtxACJZkgT2nGAvMesgoM4ADHJ6NTaW
Unique Identifier Key (must be sent to us together with proof of payment):


Number of files that you could have potentially lost forever can be as high as: 546

Screenshot of Hakbit desktop wallpaper:

Hakbit wallpaper

Screenshot of files encrypted by Hakbit (".crypted" extension):

Files encrypted by Hakbit

Screenshot of Hakbit process ("Google Chrome") in Task Manager:

Hakbit malicious process running in Task Manager as Google Chrome

Update November 22, 2019 - The Emsisoft cyber security company has recently released a decryption tool capable of restoring data encrypted by Hakbit ransomware. You can download the decrypter by clicking this link and you can find more information in this article.

Screenshot of Emsisoft Hakbit ransomware decryptor:

Hakbit ransomware decrypter by Emsisoft

Screenshot of files encrypted by Hakbit variant which appends ".pay" extension:

Files encrypted by Hakbit ransomware (.pay extension)

Screenshot of files encrypted by Hakbit variant which appends ".crypt" extension:

Files encrypted by Hakbit ransomware (.crypt extension)

Update June 18, 2020 - Research shows that Hakbit samples belong to the Thanos ransomware family - it is built using the Thanos ransomware builder developed by Nosophoros. It is known that Thanos is being sold as a ready-to-use malicious kit capable of launching ransomware attacks and can be purchased on Russian hacker forums. Malware created with the aforementioned builder includes additional capabilities, it can steal unencrypted files, spread itself on other computers on the network and avoid detection by using the RIPlace evasion technique which allows to modify (in this case encrypt) files without being detected by most antivirus solutions.

Hakbit 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:
▼ DOWNLOAD Malwarebytes By downloading any software listed on this website you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. To use full-featured product, you have to purchase a license for Malwarebytes. 14 days free trial available.

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 Hakbit 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 Hakbit 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 Hakbit 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 Hakbit 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 Hakbit, 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 Hakbit 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 Hakbit 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.

Our malware removal guides are free. However, if you want to support us you can send us a donation.

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
Hakbit 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 Hakbit virus on your mobile device.
We Recommend:

Get rid of Windows malware infections today:

Download Malwarebytes

Platform: Windows

Editors' Rating for Malwarebytes:
Editors ratingOutstanding!

[Back to Top]

To use full-featured product, you have to purchase a license for Malwarebytes. 14 days free trial available.