How to uninstall Snake ransomware from your computer

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

Snake ransomware removal instructions

What is Snake?

Snake ransomware was discovered by MalwareHunterTeam. Research shows that cyber criminals behind it target business networks. Snake is designed to encrypt files stored on all computers within a network using the AES-256 and RSA-2048 cryptographic algorithms. It also creates a ransom message within a file called "Fix-Your-Files.txt". Most ransomware-type programs rename encrypted files by appending an extension to the filenames, however, Snake does not change filenames in any way.

The ransom message within "Fix-Your-Files.txt" states that the only way to restore files is to decrypt them with a tool that can be purchased from cyber criminals who designed Snake. To get instructions about how to purchase it, victims must contact them by sending an email to Victims are also offered free decryption of up to three files that do not contain any databases or spreadsheets. These files can be sent via the email address provided. Typically, cyber criminals offer this 'free' decryption to prove that they have a working decryption tool, however, you are advised not to pay them for it. They send no tools, even after payment. It is unknown whether other tools can decrypt files compromised by Snake free of charge. Typically, the only way to recover files without having to pay ransoms in such cases is to restore them from a backup. Files remain encrypted even when victims uninstall ransomware from the operating system - removal of this malware simply prevents it from causing further encryption.

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

Snake decrypt instructions ()

Typically, programs of this type encrypt data and display/create a ransom messages. Common differences are usually size of ransom (cost of decryption) and cryptographic algorithm (symmetric or asymmetric) used to encrypt files. Unfortunately, victims cannot restore their files without specific tools held only by cyber criminals who designed ransomware, unless the ransomware is still in development, contains vulnerabilities, or victims have a backup of their data. Therefore, maintain backups on unplugged storage devices or remote servers. Some examples of other ransomware programs are Devon, Crypton (Aurora) and Yarraq.

How did ransomware infect my computer?

Malware (including ransomware) can be distributed in various ways. One is to send emails with malicious files attached. If opened, attached files install ransomware or other high-risk malware. Typically, cyber criminals send Microsoft Office or PDF documents, archive files such as RAR, ZIP, executable files (.exe) and JavaScript files. Operating systems are also infected with malicious software through malicious programs called a Trojans. These cause chain infections: when installed, they download and install other malicious programs. Untrusted software download sources such as unofficial websites, freeware download, free file hosting websites, Peer-to-Peer networks (e.g., torrent clients, eMule), third party downloaders and other channels of this type also proliferate malware. Cyber criminals use them to upload malicious files that are disguised as legitimate. When people download and open them, they cause installation of malicious software. Fake software updaters install unwanted programs, often malicious. Tools of this type install malware rather than updates, or they exploit bugs/flaws of outdated software that is installed on the operating system. Software 'cracking' tools have similar behavior: they supposedly bypass activation of licensed software or operating systems, however, they can infect systems with malicious programs.

Threat Summary:
Name Snake virus
Threat Type Ransomware, Crypto Virus, Files locker.
Detection Names Avast (Win32:Malware-gen), BitDefender (Gen:Win32.AV-Killer.ItW@aei5Gqj), ESET-NOD32 (A Variant Of Generik.EABZHLK), Kaspersky (Trojan.Win32.Antavmu.asdd), Full List (VirusTotal)
Ransom Demanding Message Fix-Your-Files.txt
Cyber Criminal Contact
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 Research shows that cyber criminals behind this ransomware target mostly business networks.
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 trust irrelevant emails that are received from unknown, suspicious addresses, especially if they contain attachments (or web links). It is not safe to open attachments or links that are presented in these emails. Update software using only implemented functions or tools provided by official developers. If installed software is not free and requires activation, perform this properly. Do not activate with third party, unofficial ('cracking') tools. It is illegal to bypass activation of licensed software in this way and it often leads to installation of malware. It is not safe to download software from untrustworthy, unofficial websites, using third party downloaders or the other sources mentioned above. The safest way to do download files and software is using official websites and direct links. Prevent malicious programs from causing damage by having a reputable anti-spyware or antivirus suite installed on the operating system. Regularly scan it for threats. If your computer is already infected with Snake, we recommend running a scan with Malwarebytes for Windows to automatically eliminate this ransomware.

Text presented in Snake ransomware text file ("Fix-Your-Files.txt"):

| What happened to your files?


We breached your corporate network and encrypted the data on your computers. The encrypted data includes documents, databases, photos and more -

all were encrypted using a military grade encryption algorithms (AES-256 and RSA-2048). You cannot access those files right now. But dont worry!

You can still get those files back and be up and running again in no time.


| How to contact us to get your files back?


The only way to restore your files is by purchasing a decryption tool loaded with a private key we created specifically for your network.

Once run on an effected computer, the tool will decrypt all encrypted files - and you can resume day-to-day operations, preferably with

better cyber security in mind. If you are interested in purchasing the decryption tool contact us at


| How can you be certain we have the decryption tool?


In your mail to us attach up to 3 files (up to 3MB, no databases or spreadsheets).

We will send them back to you decrypted.

Screenshot of files encrypted by Snake:

Files encrypted by Snake ransomware

Update May 7, 2020 - Cyber criminals have recently released a variant of Snake ransomware targeting one of the largest health companies - Fresenius. During the recent outbreak of Coronavirus (COVID-19) cyber criminals are taking advantage of the situation and attempting to generate revenue in a lot of ways, including spam email, infecting hospital networks and so forth. Encrypting data within hospital servers might not only cause huge financial issues for the company/hospital, but might even be fatal for certain patients. Such behavior is a good proof that some cyber criminals have no decency.

Update May 20, 2020 - As mentioned in the previous update, Snake ransomware targeted the Fresenius health company. Now, after a successful attack, developers of Snake ransomware started leaking data belonging to this company. The leaked data is mostly patient records containing personal details. It is also noteworthy that they haven't leaked all of stolen data - only a portion. However, crooks have said that they will leak the rest later on.

Snake 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 Snake 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 Snake 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 Snake 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 Snake 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 Snake, 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 Snake 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 Snake 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.

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
Snake 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 Snake virus on your mobile device.
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