How to eliminate Rote ransomware?

Also Known As: Rote virus
Distribution: Moderate
Damage level: Severe

Rote ransomware removal instructions

What is Rote?

Rote belongs to the family of Djvu ransomware. It encrypts victim's data, changes a filename of every encrypted file and creates a text file that contains instructions on how to contact cyber criminals (and some other details). It renames encrypted files by appending the ".rote" extension to their filenames (i.e., it renames "1.jpg" to "1.jpg.rote", and so on) and creates the "_readme.txt" text file.

Rote encrypts photos, documents, databases and other data with a strong encryption algorithm. As stated in the ransom note ("_readme.txt), the only way to decrypt files is by using a decryption software and unique key that can be purchased from developers of Rote. In order to purchase them cheaper (for $490) victims have to contact these cyber criminals via email (datarestorehelp@firemail.cc or datahelp@iran.ir) in 72 hours after encryption. Otherwise they will have to pay a full price, $980. As a proof that Rote's developers have the right, working decryption tools they offer a free decryption of one file that victims can send them via one of the provided email addresses. It is stated that people behind this ransomware are the only ones who can provide tools that can decrypt files encrypted by Rote. Unfortunately, it is true. Nevertheless, we do not recommend to pay them. It is very likely that they will not send those tools even after receiving a ransom. Typically, the only way to recover files without risking to get scammed/paying a ransom is to restore them from an existing data backup. Besides, it is worth mentioning that uninstalling ransomware does not make files accessible, it only prevents ransomware from causing further encryptions.

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

Rote decrypt instructions

Typically, ransomware-type programs are designed to prevent victims from accessing their data by encrypting it and create and/or display a ransom note. The two most common and main variables are price of a decryption and encryption algorithm (symmetric or asymmetric) that is used lock files. Here are some examples of other software that is classified as ransomware too: DeathRansom, Kharma and Kodg. Most victims cannot decrypt files encrypted by ransomware without tools that only cyber criminals who developed the program have. It is possible only if ransomware contains some bugs, flaws, and so on (it is not finished). However, it does not happen often. For this reason we recommend to always have data backed up and keep it on a remote server or unplugged storage device.

How did ransomware infect my computer?

In most cases cyber criminals spread various malware by using spam campaigns, untrustworthy software download sources, Trojans, unofficial software updating and activation ("cracking") tools. They use spam campaigns by sending emails that contain some malicious attachment. Typically, they attach some executable file (like .exe), PDF or Microsoft Office document, archive file like ZIP, RAR, JavaScript, or other file. As a rule, when recipients open that attachment, they cause installation of one or another malware. Peer-to-Peer networks (like torrent clients, eMule), freeware download websites, file hosting websites, third party downloaders and other sources are often used as tools to spread malicious programs too. By opening files downloaded from such sources people risk to infect their computers with malicious software. It is worth mentioning that cyber criminals disguise malicious files as legitimate. Trojans are malicious programs that often are designed to cause chain infections. Once installed, a Trojan installs some other malware. Fake (unofficial) software updating tools usually infect systems by installing malicious programs instead of the updates, fixes, or by exploiting flaws, bugs of outdated software that is installed on the operating system. Unofficial software activation tools supposed to help their users to bypass paid activations of licensed software. However, quite often these tools do not function as their users expect them to, instead of activating software they cause installation of malicious one.

Threat Summary:
Name Rote virus
Threat Type Ransomware, Crypto Virus, Files locker
Encrypted Files Extension .rote
Ransom Demanding Message _readme.txt
Ransom Amount $980/$490
Cyber Criminal Contact datarestorehelp@firemail.cc, datahelp@iran.ir
Detection Names AVG (FileRepMalware), BitDefender (Trojan.GenericKD.32747270), ESET-NOD32 (A Variant Of Win32/Kryptik.GYTM), Kaspersky (Trojan-Ransom.Win32.Stop.go), 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 Rote 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?

If an email is received from unknown, suspicious address, it is irrelevant and contains some attachment or website link, then it should not be trusted. It is very likely that such email is going to be sent by cyber criminals who seek to infect a computer with ransomware or other malware. No software should be downloaded from unofficial pages, through Peer-to-Peer networks or other sources that we mentioned in the previous paragraph. It should be downloaded only from official websites and via direct download links. Installed software should be updated and/or activated with tools or implemented functions that are designed by official developers. No other tools are trustworthy. Besides, it is not legal to activate software with various third party ('cracking') tools. One more important thing is to scan the operating system with a reputable antivirus or anti-spyware software regularly and always remove detected threats as soon as possible. If your computer is already infected with Rote, we recommend running a scan with Spyhunter for Windows to automatically eliminate this ransomware.

Text presented in Rote 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-4NWUGZxdHc
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:
datarestorehelp@firemail.cc

Reserve e-mail address to contact us:
datahelp@iran.ir

Your personal ID:
-

Screenshot of files encrypted by Rote (".rote" extension):

Files encrypted by Rote

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

Fake Windows pop-up displayed by Rote 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

Rote ransomware removal:

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