Remove DeathRansom ransomware from the operating system

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

DeathRansom ransomware removal instructions

What is DeathRansom?

Discovered by GrujaRS, DeathRansom is malicious software, classified as ransomware. In general, systems infected with malware of this type have their data encrypted. The cyber criminals behind the encryption then demand a ransom to be paid for decryption tools/software. As was discovered by Michael Gillespie at the time of his research, however, DeathRansom did not actually encrypt any files, it simply appended them with the ".wctc" extension. Foe example, "1.jpg" becomes "1.jpg.wctc", and so on. After this process is complete, a text file - "read_me.txt" is created on the desktop.

The text file contains the ransom message and begins with a warning, all in capital letters, stating that this file must not be deleted. It is claimed that, if there are any decryption errors, without this file, the system will be corrupted. The message states that all of the victim's documents, photos, databases and other important files have been encrypted. It states that the only way to decrypt the data is to purchase a decryption tool/software and a unique private key (generated individually for each victim) from the developers of DeathRansom. To verify that recovery is possible, users can send one file free of charge for decryption. Victims are alerted that the test file cannot contain any valuable information (judging from other similar infections, likely implying that it cannot be a database, backup, or large excel sheet) and must not exceed 1 MB. Users are advised to select images, text files, or sheets. Email addresses are listed to contact the cyber criminals (and for sending the test file). While the ransom size is not stated, there are links provided from which Bitcoins can be purchased (suggesting that the payment must be made in this cryptocurrency). To prevent permanent data damage, victims are instructed not to rename the encrypted files or try decryption with third party software. In most cases of ransomware attacks, only the program that initially encrypted the data can decrypt it. Manual decryption (without the involvement of criminals behind the infection) is only possible in rare cases when the ransomware in question is still in development and/or has key flaws/bugs. In any case, you are strongly advised against communicating with or meeting the demands of cyber criminals. Despite paying, victims often receive none of the promised tools, which leaves their data encrypted and useless. Removing ransomware is necessary to stop it from further encryption, however, this will not restore already encrypted data. Although DeathRansom currently does not encrypt data, it is very likely that developers will release an updated, fully functioning variant. In which case, the only solution is to restore the compromised files from a backup, provided one was made before the infection and stored in a separate location.

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

DeathRansom decrypt instructions

MbedANTEFRIGUSNinja, and Mespinoza are just some examples of other ransomware programs. All malware of this type is designed to encrypt files (or falsely suggest that this is being performed) and demand payment for decryption tools/software. These infections differ due to the cryptographic algorithm used for the encryption and by ransom size. Typically, the latter ranges between three and four digit sums. The most commonly demanded currencies are cryptocurrencies, as these transactions are difficult/impossible to trace. To ensure data safety, backups should be kept on remote servers and/or unplugged storage devices. As these are also liable to damage or corruption, store multiple backups in different locations.

How did ransomware infect my computer?

Trojans, spam campaigns, untrustworthy download channels, fake software updaters and illegal activation tools ("cracks") are often used to proliferate ransomware and other malware. Trojans are malicious programs, which have many purposes/capabilities, one of which is to stealthily download/install additional malware. The act of sending deceptive emails on a large scale is defined by the term "spam campaign". This mail is usually disguised as "official", "important", "urgent", "priority" and so on. The emails contain infected files (or links leading to them), which can be in various formats such as Microsoft Office and PDF documents, archive and executable files, JavaScript, etc. When opened, they are triggered to begin infecting the system (i.e., to downloading/installing malicious software). Peer-to-Peer sharing networks (BitTorrent, eMule, Gnutella, etc.), unofficial and free file-hosting sites, third party downloaders and similar channels are untrustworthy and more likely to offer malicious content for downloading. Fake updaters exploit weaknesses present in outdated programs and/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 DeathRansom virus
Threat Type Ransomware, Crypto Virus, Files locker
Encrypted Files Extension .wctc, .ADHUBLLKA
Ransom Demanding Message read_me.txt
Ransom Size 0.1 Bitcoin
Cyber Criminals' Cryptowallet Address 1J9CG9KtJZVx1dHsVcSu8cxMTbLsqeXM5N
Cyber Criminal Contact death@cumallover.me, death@firemail.cc, deathransom@airmail.cc
Detection Names Avast (FileRepMetagen [Malware]), BitDefender (Gen:Heur.Ransom.REntS.Gen.1), McAfee (Artemis!A35596ED0BFB), Kaspersky (HEUR:Trojan.Win32.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.
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

Do not open suspicious or irrelevant emails, especially those received from unknown senders (addresses). Attachments (or links) present in suspect mail must never be opened - as these files are the origin of a potential infection. All content should be downloaded from official and verified download sources. Software should be activated and updated with tools/functions provided by genuine developers. As illegal activation tools ("cracks") and third party updaters can be used to download/install malware, you should avoid them. Have a reputable anti-virus/anti-spyware suite installed and kept updated. Use it to perform regular system scans and for the removal of detected threats/issues. If your computer is already infected with DeathRansom, we recommend running a scan with Malwarebytes for Windows to automatically eliminate this ransomware.

Text presented in DeathRansom ransomware text file ("read_me.txt"):

--=    DEATHRANSOM  =---

*******UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES DO NOT DELETE THIS FILE, UNTIL ALL YOUR DATA IS RECOVERED*******

*****FAILING TO DO SO, WILL RESULT IN YOUR SYSTEM CORRUPTION, IF THERE ARE DECRYPTION ERRORS*****

All your files, documents, photos, databases and other important
files are encrypted.

You are not able to decrypt it by yourself! The only method
of recovering files is to purchase an unique private key.
Only we can give you this key and only we can recover your files.

To be sure we have the decryptor and it works you can send an
email death@firemail.cc  and decrypt one file for free. But this
file should be of not valuable!

Do you really want to restore your files?

Write to email
              death@cumallover.me

              death@firemail.cc

Your LOCK-ID: -


>>>How to obtain bitcoin:

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/


>>> Free decryption as guarantee!

Before paying you send us up to 1 file for free decryption.

We recommeded to send pictures, text files, sheets, etc. (files no more than 1mb)

IN ORDER TO PREVENT DATA DAMAGE:

1. Do not rename encrypted files.

2. Do not try to decrypt your data using third party software, it may cause permanent data loss.

3. 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 files encrypted by DeathRansom (".wctc" extension):

Files encrypted by DeathRansom

Update November 21, 2019 - Cyber criminals have recently released an updated variant of DeathRansom ransomware, which now actually encrypts data, yet no longer appends any extension. The ransom message is also slightly different.

Screenshot of the ransom message ("read_me.txt") created by the updated DeathRansom ransomware:

Updated DeathRansom ransomware note

Text presented within this file:

?????????????????????????
??????DEATHRansom ???????
?????????????????????????
Hello dear friend,
Your files were encrypted!
You have only 12 hours to decrypt it
In case of no answer our team will delete your decryption password
Write back to our e-mail: deathransom@airmail.cc

In your message you have to write:
1. YOU LOCK-ID: -
2. Time when you have paid 0.1 btc to this bitcoin wallet:
1J9CG9KtJZVx1dHsVcSu8cxMTbLsqeXM5N

After payment our team will decrypt your files immediatly

Free decryption as guarantee:
1. File must be less than 1MB
2. Only .txt or .lnk files, no databases
3. Only 1 files
 
How to obtain bitcoin:
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/

Files encrypted by the updated DeathRansom ransomware (no extension):

Files encrypted by the updated DeathRansom ransomware

Update March 24, 2020 - Crooks have released yet another variant of DeathRansom ransomware. It now delivers a slightly different ransom note and adds a completely different extension - ".ADHUBLLKA" (which is also used by ADHUBLLKA ransomware). Note that the ransom note contains the name of GandCrab 5.1 ransomware. However, it is just a disguise.

Screenshot of the ransom note ("read_me.txt"):

Ransom note of DeathRansom ransomware

Text presented within this file:

---=    GANDCRAB V5.1  =---

*****UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES DO NOT DELETE THIS FILE, UNTIL ALL YOUR DATA IS RECOVERED*****

    *****FAILING TO DO SO, WILL RESULT IN YOUR SYSTEM CORRUPTION, IF THERE ARE DECRYPTION ERRORS*****

Attention!

All your files, documents, photos, databases and other important files are encrypted and have the extension: .ADHUBLLKA

The only method of recovering files is to purchase an unique private key. Only we can give you this key and only we can recover your files.


The server with your key is in a closed network TOR. You can get there by the following ways:

----

0. Download Tor browser - hxxps://www.torproject.org/

1. Install Tor browser
2. Open Tor Browser
3. Open link in TOR browser:   hxxp://alcx6zctcmhmn3kx.onion/?16756e65476c65746e49656e6911dd99fe41112
4. Follow the instructions on this page

----


On our page you will see instructions on payment and get the opportunity to decrypt 1 file for free.


ATTENTION!

IN ORDER TO PREVENT DATA DAMAGE:

* DO NOT MODIFY ENCRYPTED FILES
* DO NOT CHANGE DATA BELOW

---BEGIN GANDCRAB KEY---
-
---END GANDCRAB KEY---

---BEGIN PC DATA---
-
---END PC DATA---

Screenshot of files encrypted by this ransomware (".ADHUBLLKA" extension):

Files encrypted by DeathRansom ransomware with .ADHUBLLKA extension

DeathRansom 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 DeathRansom 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 DeathRansom 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 DeathRansom 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 DeathRansom 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 DeathRansom, 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 DeathRansom 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 DeathRansom 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 malware activity level today:

Medium threat activity

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

QR Code
DeathRansom 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 DeathRansom virus on your mobile device.
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