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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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:
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?
|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 Contactemail@example.com|
|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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
| 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:
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:
- What is Snake?
- STEP 1. Snake virus removal using safe mode with networking.
- STEP 2. Snake ransomware removal using System Restore.
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.
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.
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.
Video showing how to start Windows 10 in "Safe Mode with Networking":
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.
2. When Command Prompt mode loads, enter the following line: cd restore and press ENTER.
3. Next, type this line: rstrui.exe and press ENTER.
4. In the opened window, click "Next".
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).
6. In the opened window, click "Yes".
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.
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 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.
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:
Malwarebytes Anti-Ransomware Beta uses advanced proactive technology that monitors ransomware activity and terminates it immediately - before reaching users' files:
- 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: