How to remove WinRARER ransomware from the system

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

WinRARER ransomware removal instructions

What is WinRARER?

Discovered by GrujaRS, WinRARER is malicious software that is classified as ransomware. This ransomware stores files in an .ace archive file named "YourFilesHere-0penWithWinrar.ace" and places it in the "C:\YOUR-locked-FILES\" directory. This file is password protected. To obtain the password, victims are encouraged to pay a ransom to the cyber criminals who designed WinRARER. Note that WinRARER also creates "RecoverYourFiles.htm", "RecoverYourFiles.rtf" and "RecoverYourFiles.bmp" files (ransom messages). It uses the last one to change the victim's desktop wallpaper.

The ransom messages state that WinRARER has locked files (with WINRAR) and it is impossible to use or access them without a password that can only be purchased from the cyber criminal who designed this ransomware. To make payment and obtain a password, victims must use a link that can be opened only with the Tor browser. At the time of research, the specific website could not be accessed, however, you are advised not to pay these cyber criminals or any other ransomware developers. Victims who pay are often scammed and receive none of the promised decryption tools and/or keys. Unfortunately, most ransomware-type programs lock files with strong encryption algorithms, and it is impossible to unlock/decrypt them without specific tools held only by the developers of the ransomware. Typically, the only way to recover files without having to contact and pay cyber criminals is to restore them from a backup. You are advised to uninstall ransomware from the system immediately, so it cannot cause further encryption, however, this does not regain access to encrypted data - files remain encrypted even after removal of malware.

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

WinRARER decrypt instructions

More examples of malicious software that is categorized as ransomware are LockBit, JavaRatty, and Hets. Typically, ransomware encrypts data, making files inaccessible, and creates ransom messages. The main differences between these programs are cost of decryption and cryptographic algorithm (symmetric or asymmetric) used to lock (encrypt) data. Most ransomware-type programs make it impossible to decrypt files without the tools that they hold. In rare cases, it might be possible to restore files without their help, but only if the ransomware is not finished (contains bugs/flaws) or victims have backed up their data before the ransomware attack. Therefore, maintain a backup of data and keep it on a remote server and/or unplugged storage device.

How did ransomware infect my computer?

Typically, cyber criminals proliferate malicious programs such as the WinRARER ransomware through spam campaigns, Trojans, fake software updaters, dubious software download sources and unofficial software activation tools. Using spam campaigns, they send emails that contain malicious attachments (or web links that, if clicked, download malicious files) to many people and hope that someone opens the attached or downloaded files. If opened, the files install malware. In most cases, they attach files such as Microsoft Office of PDF documents, archive files (RAR, ZIP), executable files (.exe), JavaScript, and other files. Trojans are programs that can cause damage only after installation. Once installed, a program of this type usually causes a chain infection: it installs other malware. Fake (unofficial) software updaters infect systems by installing malicious programs rather than updates, or by exploiting bugs/flaws of outdated software that is installed on the computer. Examples of dubious software download channels are Peer-to-Peer networks such as eMule, torrent clients, free file hosting websites, freeware download pages, third party downloaders, unofficial websites, etc. Cyber criminals use these channels to proliferate malware by uploading malicious files, which are disguised as legitimate. People who download and open files downloaded from these sources risk installing malicious software. Software 'cracking' (activation) tools supposedly activate licensed (paid) software free of charge, however, the tools are often designed by cyber criminals who seek to infect computers with malware.

Threat Summary:
Name WinRARER virus
Threat Type Ransomware, Crypto Virus, Files locker.
Ransom Demanding Message RecoverYourFiles.htm, RecoverYourFiles.rtf and RecoverYourFiles.bmp
Detection Names Avast (Win32:Malware-gen), BitDefender (Trojan.GenericKD.3618907), ESET-NOD32 (MSIL/Filecoder.FT), Kaspersky (Backdoor.MSIL.Agent.ydb), 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 ransomware puts victims files into a password-protected .ace archive file named YourFilesHere-0penWithWinrar.ace, ransom has to be paid through a Tor website (the link is provided in ransom notes).
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.
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How to protect yourself from ransomware infections

Do not open attachments (or web links) that are included in irrelevant emails, especially if the emails are received from unknown, suspicious addresses. All software and files should be downloaded from official websites, since unofficial websites, third party downloaders, installers and the other tools mentioned above might proliferate malicious programs. Software and operating systems should be updated though implemented functions or tools that are designed by official developers. Unofficial activation tools often install malware rather than activating installed programs. Furthermore, it is illegal to use tools of this type. Protect your systems from infection with malware by regularly scanning it with a reputable antivirus or anti-spyware suite, and keep this software up to date. If your computer is already infected with WinRARER, we recommend running a scan with Malwarebytes for Windows to automatically eliminate this ransomware.

Text presented in "RecoverYourFiles.htm", "RecoverYourFiles.rtf" and "RecoverYourFiles.bmp" files:

Attention!

YOUR FILES WERE LOCKED

What happened ?

Your important files were LOCKED with winrar
so its now unusable and unreadable,
The only way to get your files back is to pay us.
Otherwise, your files will be useless.

How can I get my files back?

The only way to restore them to a normal condition is to use our
site to decrypt your key to get the password
our website.

Follow the flowing steps to enter our site :

1. Download and install tor-browser: hxxp://www.torproject.org/projects/torbrowser.html.en
2. After a successful installation, run the browser and wait for initialization.
3. Go to this site ( paste it in the url address ) : pgzhzhje5v7dzrcr.onion
4. Copy your KEY from the bottom to paste it in the site

YOUR KEY IS : Copy it
done

Screenshot of WinRARER text file ("RecoverYourFiles.rtf"):

WinRARER text file

Screenshot of WinRARER desktop wallpaper (RecoverYourFiles.bmp):

WinRARER wallpaper

Screenshot of an archive file "YourFilesHere-0penWithWinrar.ace":

Files encrypted by WinRARER

WinRARER 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 WinRARER 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 WinRARER 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 WinRARER 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 WinRARER 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 WinRARER, 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 WinRARER 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 WinRARER 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
WinRARER 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 WinRARER virus on your mobile device.
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