Remove Forv ransomware from the operating system

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

Forv ransomware removal instructions

What is Forv?

Discovered by GrujaRS, Forv is malicious software belonging to the Paradise ransomware family. The program is designed to encrypt data and demand ransom payments for decryption. During Forv encryption, all files are appended with the "_forv_{victim's ID}.for" extension (the identification code is individually generated and consists of a random string of characters). Therefore, "1.jpg" would appear as something similar to "1.jpg_forv_{6LHH0Q}.for", and so on for other affected files. Once this process is complete, a text file called "---==%$$$OPEN_ME_UP$$$==---.txt" is stored on the desktop.

The message in the text file informs affected users that their data has been encrypted. To recover it, they are urged to contact the developers of Forv via online chat. The web-link of the chat is provided in the message. To log into it, victims are instructed to use their email address and ID number (provided in "---==%$$$OPEN_ME_UP$$$==---.txt" and within the filename of each compromised file). The cyber criminals guarantee an immediate response. The message ends with warnings against certain actions, which will lead to permanent data loss. Users are instructed not to rename the encrypted files or to attempt decryption with third party software. Additionally, criminals claim that running anti-virus software or removing the ransomware program will also result in data loss. The decoders (decryption keys) of other victims are ineffective, since each key is unique. Unfortunately, ransomware uses strong encryption, which usually cannot be broken. Typically, only the software used to originally encrypt data can decode it. Regardless, you are advised against meeting any ransom demands or communicating with cyber criminals. These individuals cannot be trusted and often, despite payments made, victims receive none of the promised decryption tools/software. Therefore, their files remain encrypted and essentially useless. Removing this malware will not restore the data, however, it will prevent Forv from further encryption. The only solution is to recover files 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:

Forv decrypt instructions

HakbitAsusDecrypme, and DavesSmith are just some examples of malware similar to Forv. All ransomware-type programs encrypt data and demand payment for decryption tools/software. Note that the cryptographic algorithm used (symmetric or asymmetric) and ransom sizes differ from one infection to another. The ransoms range between three-digit and four-digit sums (in USD). Digital currencies (e.g. cryptocurrencies, pre-paid vouchers, etc.) are preferred by cyber criminals, since these transactions are difficult/impossible to trace. As mentioned, most malicious software within this classification cannot be "cracked". It might only be possible if the ransomware is still in development and/or has certain flaws/bugs. To protect data against infections of this kind, keep backups on remote servers and/or unplugged storage devices. Ideally, several backup copies should be stored in different locations.

How did ransomware infect my computer?

Usually, ransomware and other malicious software is proliferated through trojans, spam campaigns, untrustworthy download channels, fake software updaters and "cracking" (activation) tools. Trojans are malware programs designed to cause chain infections (i.e., they download/install malicious content). Massive scale spam campaigns are used to send out deceptive emails with infectious attachments (or web links leading to them). The emails are often disguised as "important", "official" and other similarly urgent mail. The attached files come in various formats (e.g. archive and executable files, PDF and Microsoft Office documents, JavaScripts, etc.). Opening them causes system infection. P2P sharing networks (BitTorrent, eMule, Gnutella, etc.), unofficial and free file-hosting websites, third party downloaders and similar sources are classed as untrustworthy and are likely to offer dubious and malicious content. Fake updaters exploit flaws of outdated programs or simply install malware, rather than the promised updates. Illegal activation ("cracking") tools infect systems similarly by downloading/installing malicious software, rather than activating licensed products.

Threat Summary:
Name Forv virus
Threat Type Ransomware, Crypto Virus, Files locker.
Encrypted Files Extension _forv_{victim's ID}.for
Ransom Demanding Message ---==%$$$OPEN_ME_UP$$$==---.txt
Cyber Criminal Contact Cyber criminals provide support via chat
Detection Names Avast (FileRepMalware), BitDefender (Gen:Trojan.Heur.FU.buW@aSdXKPni), ESET-NOD32 (A Variant Of Win32/Filecoder.Paradise.C), Kaspersky (Trojan-Ransom.Win32.Gen.tti), 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)

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How to protect yourself from ransomware infections

Do not open suspicious or irrelevant emails, regardless of any priority labels. Attachments found in suspect mail must never be opened, as doing so can trigger them to begin downloading/installing malware. Content should be researched and downloaded only from official and verified channels. Perform software activation and updates via tools/functions provided by legitimate developers. "Cracking" tools and third party downloaders are a safety threat. Have a reputable anti-virus/anti-spyware suite installed and kept maintained with the latest updates. These programs are to be used for regular system scans and elimination of potential threats. If your computer is already infected with Forv, we recommend running a scan with Malwarebytes for Windows to automatically eliminate this ransomware.

Text presented in Forv ransomware text file ("---==%$$$OPEN_ME_UP$$$==---.txt"):

WHAT HAPPENED!
Your important files produced on this computer have been encrypted due a security problem.
If you want to restore then write to the online chat.
 
 
Contact!
Online chat: hxxp://prt-recovery.support/chat/13-forv
Your personal ID: 6LHH0Q
 
Enter your ID and e-mail in the chat that you would immediately answered.
 
 
Attention!
Do not rename encrypted files.
Do not try to decrypt your data using third party software, it may cause permanent data loss.
Do not attempt to use the antivirus or uninstall the program.
This will lead to your data loss and unrecoverable.
Decoders of other users is not suitable to decrypt your files - encryption key is unique. 

Screenshot of Forv website:

Forv website

Screenshot of files encrypted by Forv ("_forv_{victim's ID}.for" extension):

Files encrypted by Forv

Forv 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 Forv 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 Forv 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 Forv 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 Forv 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 Forv, 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 Forv 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 Forv 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
Forv 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 Forv virus on your mobile device.
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