Uninstall IMI ransomware from the operating system

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

IMI ransomware removal instructions

What is IMI?

IMI belongs to a family of ransomware-type programs called Dharma, the person who discovered this ransomware is Jakub Kroustek. Like many other programs of this type, IMI is designed to encrypt data and keep it inaccessible unless victims pay a ransom. It renames all encrypted files by appending victim's ID number, email address of its developers and ".IMI" extension to their filenames. For example, it renames a file named "1.jpg" to "1.jpg.id-1E857D00.[imdecrypt@aol.com].IMI", and so on. It displays a ransom note in a pop-up window and creates a text file named "FILES ENCRYPTED.txt".

Typically, malware of this type encrypts data with strong cryptographic algorithms, which means data cannot be decrypted without tools that only cyber criminals who designed a particular ransomware have. In order to get instructions on how to purchase a decryption tool from developers of IMI victims have to write them an email to imdecrypt@aol.com. It must contain the appointed ID that is provided in the displayed pop-up window. According to these cyber criminals, price of a decryption tool depends on how fast they will be contacted. Additionally, they offer victims a free decryption of one file that they can attach to the email. Typically, ransomware developers offer to decrypt one of more files with a purpose to prove that they have a tool and/or key that can decrypt victim's files. Nevertheless, it does not mean that they can be trusted. Quite often people who pay a ransom get scammed, cyber criminals do not send them the promised tool and/or key even if victims meet all their demands. Since it is impossible to decrypt files encrypted by IMI without the tool that only its developers have, the only way to recover files without risking to get scammed/having to pay a ransom is to restore them from a backup. However, it is possible only if data was backed up before ransomware attack. Besides, it is worth mentioning that uninstalling ransomware does not decrypt/unlock files, it only prevents ransomware from causing further encryptions.

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

IMI decrypt instructions

Ransomware is a software that is usually designed encrypt data and block access to it unless victims pay a ransom (buy a decryption tool). Two most common (and main) differences usually are price of a decryption tool and/or key and cryptographic algorithm (symmetric or asymmetric) that is used to encrypt files. Unfortunately, most of the times files encrypted by ransomware cannot be decrypted without interference of cyber criminals who designed it, unless ransomware contains some bugs, flaws, and so on. To avoid data and financial loss caused by ransomware in the future we recommend to always have data backed up and store it on a remote server and/or unplugged storage device. A couple examples of other ransomware-type programs are Mapo, Bitx and ROGER.

How did ransomware infect my computer?

Cyber criminals spread ransomware and other malicious programs in various ways. In most cases they do that using spam campaigns, unreliable file and software download sources, unofficial activation tools, fake updaters and Trojans. When they do that using spam campaigns, they send emails that contain attachments or web links that lead to download of malicious files. Their main goal is to trick recipients into opening the included attachment, which, if opened, installs malicious software. Some examples of files that they usually attach are Microsoft Office or PDF documents, archive files like RAR, ZIP, executable files (like .exe), JavaScript files, and so on. If they use unreliable software download sources, then they disguise malicious files as legitimate, harmless, upload them and wait for someone to download and open them. Examples of unreliable software download channels are Peer-to-Peer networks like torrent clients, eMule and so on, freeware download websites, free file hosting pages, unofficial pages, third party downloaders, and so on. Simply said, people who use such tools to download files or programs risk to infect their computers with malware. Furthermore, unofficial software tools, if used, might lead to installation of malicious programs too. These tools supposed to to activate paid software for free, however, they often are designed by cyber criminals who seek to distribute malicious programs. Fake software updating tools infect systems by exploiting bugs, flaws of outdated software that is installed on a computer or by downloading (and installing) malware instead of the updates, fixes, etc. Trojans are malicious programs that can cause damage only if they are already installed on a system. Once installed, they cause chain infections (install additional malware).

Threat Summary:
Name IMI virus
Threat Type Ransomware, Crypto Virus, Files locker
Encrypted Files Extension .IMI
Ransom Demanding Message FILES ENCRYPTED.txt
Cyber Criminal Contact imdecrypt@aol.com 
Detection Names Avast (Win32:RansomX-gen [Ransom]), BitDefender (Trojan.Ransom.Crysis.E), ESET-NOD32 (A Variant Of Win32/Filecoder.Crysis.P), Kaspersky (Trojan-Ransom.Win32.Crusis.to), 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.
Removal

To eliminate IMI 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 received email is irrelevant, is sent from some unknown, suspicious address and it contains some attachment or web link, then we recommend not to trust it. Such emails should be ignored and their contents left unopened. All software should be downloaded from official websites, all the aforementioned (and similar) sources should not be trusted. Installed software and operating system must be updated through implemented functions or tools that are designed by official developers and not some third party updaters. If installed software requires needs to be activated, then it should be done properly - by paying for it. It is not legal to use third party activation ('cracking') tools, besides, they are often designed to cause installation of some malware. One more way to keep systems safe is to regularly scan them with a reputable antivirus or anti-spyware software and keep it up to date. If your computer is already infected with IMI, we recommend running a scan with Spyhunter for Windows to automatically eliminate this ransomware.

Text presented in IMI ransomware's pop-up window:

All your files have been encrypted!
All your files have been encrypted due to a security problem with your PC. If you want to restore them, write us to the e-mail imdecrypt@aol.com
Write this ID in the title of your message 1E857D00
In case of no answer in 24 hours write us to theese e-mails:imdecrypt@aol.com
You have to pay for decryption in Bitcoins. The price depends on how fast you write to us. After payment we will send you the decryption tool that will decrypt all your files.
Free decryption as guarantee
Before paying you can send us up to 1 file for free decryption. The total size of files must be less than 1Mb (non archived), and files should not contain valuable information. (databases,backups, large excel sheets, etc.)
How to obtain Bitcoins
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/
Attention!
Do not rename encrypted files.
Do not try to decrypt your data using third party software, it may cause permanent data loss.
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 IMI's text file ("FILES ENCRYPTED.txt"):

IMI text file

Text in this file:

all your data has been locked us
You want to return?
write email imdecrypt@aol.com

Screenshot of files encrypted by IMI (".IMI" extension):

Files encrypted by IMI

IMI ransomware removal:

Instant automatic removal of IMI 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 IMI 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 IMI 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 IMI 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 IMI 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 IMI 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 IMI, 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 IMI 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 IMI 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
IMI 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 IMI virus on your mobile device.
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Platform: Windows

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