How to uninstall WannaScream ransomware

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

WannaScream ransomware removal instructions

What is WannaScream?

WannaScream was discovered by S!Ri. This ransomware encrypts files, changes their filenames, creates a ransom message and displays another in a pop-up window. WannaScream renames all encrypted files by adding an email address (, the victim's ID and appending the ".WannaScream" extension to filenames. For example, "1.jpg" might appear similar to "1.jpg.[][1E857D00].WannaScream", and so on. WannaScream creates a ransom message within a text file named "README.txt" and displays another in a pop-up window through the created "WannaScream.hta" file.

Typically, people who have computers infected with ransomware cannot decrypt their files without a specific tool and/or key that can only be provided by cyber criminals (developers of the ransomware). To get instructions about how to purchase a decryption tool from WannaScream, victims must contact developers by sending an email to or They must provide the appointed ID and then wait for further instructions. Victims are also offered free decryption of up to five files, which cannot contain any valuable information. The files can be sent to cyber criminals by attaching them to an email. According to cyber criminals behind WannaScream, the cost of a decryption tool depends on how quickly they are contacted. Unfortunately, there are currently no tools that can decrypt files encoded by WannaScream ransomware free of charge. Files remain encrypted even after removal of ransomware. Typically, the only way to recover files free of charge (without having to use tools that can be purchased from cyber criminals) is to restore them from a backup. Do not trust any cyber criminals or pay the ransoms - victims who pay are often scammed (cyber criminals do not send decryption tools and/or keys as they promised).

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

WannaScream decrypt instructions (WannaScream.hta)

Ransomware encrypts data (so that victims are forced to pay ransoms) and creates ransom messages (and/or displays pop-up windows) with instructions about how to pay. Some examples of other ransomware programs are Pashka, Roll Safe and Bablo. Main variables are cost of decryption and cryptographic algorithm (symmetric or asymmetric) that ransomware uses to encrypt data. As mentioned, only cyber criminals have tools that can decrypt files encoded by their ransomware, unless the ransomware has bugs, flaws or is vulnerable in some other way. Since this is rare, victims can only recover their files via a backup created before ransomware attack. Therefore, we recommend that you have all data backed up and held on a remote server or unplugged storage device.

How did ransomware infect my computer?

Typically, cyber criminals proliferate ransomware (and other malicious software) through spam campaigns (emails), fake software updating tools, untrustworthy software download channels, software 'cracking'/activation tools and trojans. They proliferate malicious software through spam campaigns by sending emails with malicious attachments (or website links that download malicious files). In most cases, they attach Microsoft Office documents, PDF documents, RAR, ZIP (or other archives), executables such as .exe and JavaScript files. Their goal is to trick recipients into opening the attachments. When opened, they install ransomware or other malware. Malware is also spread using fake software update tools. Typically, these infect systems by exploiting bugs/flaws of outdated software or by installing unwanted, often malicious programs. Examples of dubious software download sources often used to proliferate malware include Peer-to-Peer networks (torrent clients, eMule, and so on), freeware download pages, free file hosting websites, third party downloaders, and other similar channels. Cyber criminals upload malicious files and hope that someone will download and open them. Once opened, they install malicious software. Software 'cracking'/activation tools are used by people who expect to activate licensed software free of charge. Unfortunately, these tools often install malware rather than bypassing paid software activation. Trojans are malicious programs that are often designed to proliferate other computer infections. Therefore, they cause chain infections by opening 'backdoors' for other malicious programs.

Threat Summary:
Name WannaScream virus
Threat Type Ransomware, Crypto Virus, Files locker.
Encrypted Files Extension .WannaScream
Ransom Demanding Message README.txt and WannaScream.hta
Cyber Criminal Contact
Detection Names Avast (Win32:Malware-gen), BitDefender (Generic.Ransom.WCryG.30A35D4E), ESET-NOD32 (A Variant Of Generik.HDUYIJR), Kaspersky (HEUR:Trojan-Ransom.MSIL.Spora.gen), 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.
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

Files attached to irrelevant emails that are received from suspicious, unknown addresses should not be opened. The same applies to website links. Cyber criminals often disguise their emails as official and important. All files and programs should be downloaded from official and trustworthy websites, since none of the other sources mentioned above above can be trusted or should be used. Update installed programs through implemented functions or tools that are provided by official software developers. If an installed program is not free, it should be registered (activated) properly. It is illegal to use software 'cracking' tools and they often lead to installation of malicious software. Keep your computer safe by regularly scanning it with a reputable anti-spyware or antivirus suite and ensure that it is up to date at all times. If your computer is already infected with WannaScream, we recommend running a scan with Malwarebytes for Windows to automatically eliminate this ransomware.

Text presented in WannaScream.hta (pop-up window):

All your files have been encrypted by Wanna Scream!
due to a security problem with your PC. If you want to restore them, write us to the e-mail
Write this ID in the title of your message:1E857D00
In case of no answer in 24 hours write us to this
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 tool that will decrypt all your files.
Free decryption as guarantee
Before paying you can send us up to 5 files for free decryption. The total size of files must be less than 4Mb (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.
Also you can find other places to buy Bitcoins and beginners guide here:
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 WannaScream text file ("README.txt"):

WannaScream ransomware text file (README.txt)

README.txt in GIF:

wannascream text note (README.txt) appearance in gif

Text in this message:

[+] All Your Files Have Been Encrypted [+]

 [-] Do You Really Want To Restore Your Files?
 [+] Write Us To The E-Mail :
 [+] If you did not get any response until 24 hours later,Write to this E-Mail :
 [-] Write Your Unique-ID In The Title Of Your Message.
 [+] Unique-ID : 1E857D00
 [-] 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 5 Files For
 Free Decryption, The Total Size Of Files Must Bee Less
 Than 10MB, (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.
 [-] Also You Can Find Other Places To Buy Bitcoins And
 Beginners Guide Here:

                  [+] 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 files encrypted by WannaScream (".WannaScream" extension):

Files encrypted by WannaScream ransomware (.WannaScream extension)

WannaScream 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 WannaScream 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 WannaScream 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 WannaScream 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 WannaScream 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 WannaScream, 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 WannaScream 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 WannaScream 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
WannaScream 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 WannaScream virus on your mobile device.
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