How to remove Lokf ransomware from the operating system?

Also Known As: Lokf virus
Distribution: High
Damage level: Severe

Lokf ransomware removal instructions

What is Lokf?

Discovered by Michael Gillespie, Lokf is a malicious program, belonging to the Djvu ransomware family. It is designed to encrypt data and demand a ransom for its decryption. During the encryption, all files are retitled with the ".lokf" extension. For example, a file like "1.jpg" would appear as "1.jpg.lokf", and so forth for all of the affected files. Once this process ends, Lokf drops a text file - "_readme.txt" into every affected folder.

The message in the text file informs victims that all of their data has been encrypted with strongest encryption and unique key. To recover it, they are to purchase the decryption tool/software and unique key (generated individually for each victim). As proof of their ability to decrypt the data, cyber criminals behind Lokf offer to decrypt one file free of charge. They will do so, if the file does not contain any valuable information (likely implying that it cannot be a database, backup, large excel sheet and similar). The size of the ransom is stated to be $980, however should users contact the criminals within 72 hours - the sum can be halved. There are email addresses listed for the purpose of establishing contact. If six hours pass after victims send the email and a response has not arrived, they are told to check their "Spam/Junk" folders for the reply. Unfortunately, most malicious software of this type uses strong encryptions, which cannot be broken with free tools. Therefore, usually only the criminals can decrypt the compromised files. However, it is expressly advised against meeting the ransom demands. Often, despite paying, users do not receive the promised tools - which leaves their data permanently damaged and they experience financial losses. Removing Lokf will not restore the encrypted files, but removal will prevent it from further encryptions. The only viable solution is recovering the data from a backup. Given, 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:

Lokf decrypt instructions

LOCKEDSGodLockWorm are a few examples of ransomware-type programs. All malware under this categorization encrypts data and demands payment for decryption tools/software. They differ by the cryptographic algorithm they use (symmetric or asymmetric) and by the ransom size. The latter vary between three digit and four digit sums (in USD). Payments are usually demanded to be made in digital currencies (mainly, cryptocurrencies), as transaction of them are difficult/impossible to trace. Unless a ransomware has certain flaws/bugs or is still in development, without the interference of cyber criminals, who encrypted it - manual decryption is impossible. To ensure data safety - backups should be kept in unplugged storage devices and/or remote serves. Ideally, multiple backups should be stored in different locations.

How did ransomware infect my computer?

Ransomware and other malware primarily spreads through spam campaigns, trojans, untrustworthy download sources, fake software updaters and "cracking" tools. Massive scale spam campaigns are use to send out deceptive emails with virulent attachments (or links leading to such). These emails are usually marked as "official", "important", "urgent" and similar. The attachments come in various file formats (e.g. archive and executable files, PDF and Microsoft Office documents, JavaScript, etc.); once opened - they begin downloading/installing malware. Trojans are malicious programs, designed to cause chain infections. Untrustworthy download channels (e.g. unofficial and free file-hosting sites, Peer-to-Peer sharing networks and other third party downloaders) are rife with dubious and malicious content. Fake updaters abuse weaknesses of outdated software and/or simply install malware, rather than updates. Illegal activation tools ("cracks") infect systems similarly, by downloading/installing malware instead of activating licensed product.

Threat Summary:
Name Lokf virus
Threat Type Ransomware, Crypto Virus, Files locker
Encrypted Files Extension .lokf
Ransom Demanding Message _readme.txt
Ransom Amount $980 (when the cyber criminals are contacted within 72 hours - $490)
Cyber Criminal Contact restoredatahelp@firemail.cc and gorentos@bitmessage.ch
Detection Names AVG (FileRepMalware), BitDefender (Trojan.GenericKDZ.59409), ESET-NOD32 (A Variant Of Win32/Kryptik.GYAA), Kaspersky (UDS:DangerousObject.Multi.Generic), 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.
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 Lokf virus our malware researchers recommend scanning your computer with Spyhunter.
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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 not to read suspicious and irrelevant emails. Any attachments (and links) found in suspect mail must never be opened - as that is the source of a potential infection. Only official and verified download channels should be used. Software is to be activated and updated using tools/functions provided by genuine developers; "cracking" tools and third party updaters are considered to be a threat to system health. It is strongly advised to have a dependable anti-virus/anti-spyware suite installed and kept updated. These programs should be used for regular system scans and removal of detected threats/issues. If your computer is already infected with Lokf, we recommend running a scan with Spyhunter for Windows to automatically eliminate this ransomware.

Text presented in Lokf 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:
hxxps://we.tl/t-7cpJN3gq4f
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:
restoredatahelp@firemail.cc

Reserve e-mail address to contact us:
gorentos@bitmessage.ch

Your personal ID:

 -

Screenshot of files encrypted by Lokf (".lokf" extension):

Files encrypted by Lokf

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

Fake Windows pop-up displayed by Lokf 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

Lokf ransomware removal:

Instant automatic removal of Lokf 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 Lokf 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 Lokf 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 Lokf 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 Lokf 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 Lokf 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 Lokf, 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 Lokf 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 Lokf 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
Lokf virus QR code
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