Remove [] ransomware from the operating system

Also Known As: [] virus
Distribution: Moderate
Damage level: Severe

[] ransomware removal instructions

What is []?

Discovered by GrujaRS, [] is malicious software belonging to the GlobeImposter ransomware family. This malware operates by encrypting data and demanding payment for decryption tools/software. During the encryption process, all affected files are appended with the ".[]" extension. For example, a file called "1.jpg" would appear as "1.jpg.[]", and so on. After this process is complete, an HTML file named "HOW_RECOVER.html" is created on the desktop.

The HTML file contains the ransom message and informs victims that their data has been encrypted. To recover it, they require a decryptor (decryption tools/software). The message instructs users to send one encrypted image, text or document file to the developers of [] via the email address provided. The victims' messages must include their personal IDs (listed at the top of "HOW_RECOVER.HTML"). They will then receive the decrypted file (proving that decryption is possible) and the assigned ransom size. Payment and decryption instructions will then follow. The message states that only the individuals behind the infection are capable of recovering the compromised data. Users are warned that manual decryption (i.e. without the involvement of the malware developers) will lead to permanent data loss. Additionally, running an anti-virus program can result in the deletion of the ransom message, which can then make reestablishing contact impossible. As each encryption key is unique (generated individually for each victim), the keys of other users will not be compatible with this infection. In most cases of ransomware attacks, decryption with third party software is not possible, unless (in rare cases) the malicious program is still in development and/or has flaws/bugs. No matter what the circumstances, you are strongly advised against communicating with and/or meeting the demands of cyber criminals. Despite paying, victims often receive none of the promised decryption tools. Therefore, their files remain beyond repair and they also experience financial loss. Removing [] is necessary to prevent it from further encryption. Unfortunately, removal will not restore already affected data. The only viable solution is to restore files from a backup, if one was made before the infection and was stored in a different location.

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

[] decrypt instructions (HOW_RECOVER.html)

All ransomware is designed to encrypt files and request payment for decryption. These infections are not identical. They differ by the cryptographic algorithm the malware uses (symmetric or asymmetric) and ransom size. The demanded payments vary between three and four digit sums (in USD). Cyber criminals usually prefer digital currencies (primarily, cryptocurrencies), since these transactions are difficult/impossible to trace. NEMTY 2.3 REVENGEPysa, and Bobelectron are some examples of other malicious programs belonging to this category. To protect files from data encryption and damaging attacks, keep backups on remote servers and/or unplugged storage devices. It is best to store backups in several separate locations.

How did ransomware infect my computer?

The most common modes of ransomware and other malware proliferation are via trojans, spam campaigns, software "cracking" (activation) tools, fake updaters and untrustworthy download channels. Trojans are malicious programs capable of causing chain infections (i.e., they download/install additional malware). Spam campaigns are used to send thousands of emails with dangerous files attached (or containing links leading to them). The mail is usually presented as "official", "important", "urgent" and so on. The attachments can be in various formats (e.g. executable and archive files, Microsoft Office and PDF documents, JavaScript, etc.). When they are opened, the infection process is started. Illegal activation ("cracking") tools can download/install malicious software, rather than activate licensed products. Fake updaters infect systems by exploiting weaknesses of outdated programs and/or by installing malware rather than the promised updates. Untrustworthy download sources such as unofficial and free file-hosting sites, Peer-to-Peer sharing networks (BitTorrent, eMule, Gnutella, etc.) and other third party downloaders can offer malicious content disguised as normal software and/or bundled with it.

Threat Summary:
Name [] virus
Threat Type Ransomware, Crypto Virus, Files locker.
Encrypted Files Extension .[]
Ransom Demanding Message HOW_RECOVER.html
Cyber Criminal Contact
Detection Names Avast (Win32:Malware-gen), BitDefender (Generic.Ransom.GlobeImposter.E043AE), ESET-NOD32 (A Variant Of Win32/Filecoder.FV), 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.

To eliminate malware infections our security 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

Do not open suspicious and/or irrelevant emails, especially those received from unknown senders. Attachments or links found in dubious messages must never be opened, as these files are the source of a potential infection. You are advised to use official and verified download channels, as opposed to sharing networks and other third party downloaders. Programs should be activated and updated only with tools/functions provided by legitimate developers. Illegal activation tools ("cracks") and third party updaters are high-risk and should be avoided. Have a reputable anti-virus/anti-spyware suite installed and kept updated. Furthermore, this software should be used for regular system scans and removal of detected threats. If your computer is already infected with [], we recommend running a scan with Spyhunter for Windows to automatically eliminate this ransomware.

Text presented in [] ransomware HTML file ("HOW_RECOVER.html"):



To recover data you need decryptor.
To get the decryptor you should:
Send 1 crypted test image or text file or document to
In the letter include your personal ID (look at the beginning of this document).

We will give you the decrypted file and assign the price for decryption all files
After we send you instruction how to pay for decrypt and after payment you will receive a decryptor and instructions We can decrypt one file in quality the evidence that we have the decoder.

Do not contact other services that promise to decrypt your files, this is fraud on their part! They will buy a decoder from us, and you will pay more for his services. No one, except, will decrypt your files.

Only can decrypt your files
Do not trust anyone besides
Antivirus programs can delete this document and you can not contact us later.
Attempts to self-decrypting files will result in the loss of your data
Decoders other users are not compatible with your data, because each user's unique encryption key

The appearance of [] ransomware message (GIF):

[] ransomware note appearance

Screenshot of files encrypted by [] (".[]" extension):

Files encrypted by [] ransomware (.[] extension)

[] ransomware removal:

Instant automatic malware removal: 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 malware. 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 [] 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 [] 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 [] 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 [] 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 [], 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 [] 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 [] 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 since 2010. Follow me on Twitter and LinkedIn to stay informed about the latest online security threats. Contact Tomas Meskauskas.

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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
[] 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 [] virus on your mobile device.
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