How to uninstall Ako from a computer?

Also Known As: Ako virus
Distribution: Moderate
Damage level: Severe

Ako ransomware removal instructions

What is Ako?

There are two variants of Ako ransomware, however, the only difference between them is the way victims supposed to contact cyber criminals/pay a ransom. Both variants of Ako create a text file (ransom note) named "ako-readme.txt". In one version of ransom note victims are instructed to contact cyber criminals via email, in another one - to pay a ransom through a Tor website. Both Ako variants create the "id.key" file and drop it in folders that contain encrypted files (they do the same with the ransom note) and rename all encrypted files by appending a random extension to their filenames. For example, a file named "1.jpg" gets renamed to "1.jpg.2mzWmb", and so on.

In both versions of ransom note ("ako-readme.txt") victims are informed that all their files were encrypted and the only way to decrypt them is to purchase a unique key. One version contains two emails (davidgoldman@cock.li and portedhiggens@firemail.cc) that should be used to contact cyber criminals (Ako developers) for more details on how to purchase that key. Another version contains a website link that can be opened with a Tor browser. On that Tor website victims have to paste the personal ID from the second version of the "ako-readme.txt" text file and then follow the instructions. As stated in that website, victims can purchase a decryption tool by transferring 0.479 of Bitcoin to a provided BTC wallet address. It is also mentioned that if a payment will not be made in two days after encryption, then a price of a decryption will be increased to 0.9576 of Bitcoin. It is true that Ako developers are the only ones who can help their victims to decrypt encrypted files. There are no other tools that could be capable of that, at least not at the moment. However, the problem with most cyber criminals behind programs of this type is that they cannot be trusted. Quite often they do not provide decryption tools and/or keys even after a payment, in other words, people who pay them get scammed. In most cases the only free way to recover files/avoid data loss is to restore them from a backup. It is worth mentioning that files remain encrypted even if victims remove ransomware from the operating systems, its removal only prevents if from causing further encryptions.

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

Ako decrypt instructions (ako-readme.txt)

Most ransomware-type programs are designed to block access to data and provide instructions (create a ransom note and/or display a pop-up window) on how to buy a tool/key that can decrypt encrypted files. Two main and most common variables are size of a ransom and cryptographic algorithm (symmetric or asymmetric) ransomware uses for encryption. Either way, in most cases it is impossible to 'crack' caused encryptions and the only way to decrypt files is by using a tool that only developers of a particular ransomware have. It is possible to avoid data and monetary loss without having to use their tools only when ransomware is not finished (contains bugs, flaws and has other vulnerabilities) or by restoring files from a backup. In such cases data backups become extremely useful and that is why we strongly recommend to always have data backed up and keep it on a remote server or unplugged storage device. A couple of examples of other ransomware are m461c14n, WannaScream and Pashka.

How did ransomware infect my computer?

Most cyber criminals spread ransomware-type software (or other malware) via spam campaigns, fake software updaters, untrustworthy software download sources, unofficial software activation tools and Trojans. One of the most popular ways to spread malware is by sending emails that contain malicious attachments (or website links that are designed to download malicious files). Quite often these emails contain attachments such as Microsoft Office documents, archives (like ZIP, RAR), PDF documents, JavaScript files, and executable files like .exe. If opened, those attachments install some malicious program, in this case it would be Ako ransomware. Another way to spread malware is through fake software updaters. People who use them to update software often cause installation of some malicious program. Also, tools of this type can be designed to exploit bugs, flaws of some outdated software and infect systems this way as well. Cyber criminals use untrustworthy software download channels to trick people into installing computer infections by themselves. Some examples of untrustworthy sources are Peer-to-Peer networks like torrent clients, eMule, various free file hosting, freeware download websites, third party downloaders, and other similar channels. They present infected files as legitimate and hope that someone will download and open them. If opened/executes, those files usually install one or another malicious program. Software 'cracking' tools supposed to bypass paid activation of software for free. Nevertheless, instead of doing that these tools often install ransomware-type and other malware. Trojans are programs that often are designed to spread other malware. Simply said, if a computer is infected with a Trojan, then it is very likely that it will cause additional damage.

Threat Summary:
Name Ako virus
Threat Type Ransomware, Crypto Virus, Files locker
Encrypted Files Extension Ako appends extension that contains random string of characters.
Ransom Demanding Message ako-readme.txt
Ransom Amount 0.479/0.9576 of Bitcoin
Bitcoin Wallet Address 1DUBrMcH9T13oFSa59jxtFDM5eWTP8v2yc
Cyber Criminal Contact davidgoldman@cock.li, portedhiggens@firemail.cc
Detection Names (First Variant) Avast (FileRepMalware), BitDefender (Gen:Heur.Ransom.REntS.Gen.1), ESET-NOD32 (Win32/Filecoder.MedusaLocker.D), Kaspersky (Trojan.Win32.DelShad.cbx), Full List Of Detections (VirusTotal)
Detection Names (Second Variant) AVG (https://www.virustotal.com/gui/file/389747789dfab2142873617585e342575792d8c1c85f4b51b36539a16c461b5a/detection), Comodo (Malware@#3c1xdkmhwqx0e), ESET-NOD32 (A Variant Of Generik.HDMXAYR), Kaspersky (Trojan.Win32.DelShad.cbk), 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.
Removal

To eliminate Ako virus our malware researchers recommend scanning your computer with Spyhunter.
▼ Download Spyhunter
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?

If an email is received from unknown, suspicious address, it is irrelevant and contains some attachment or website link, then it should not be trusted. It is very likely that such email is would be sent by some cyber criminal who seeks to infect a computer with ransomware or other malware. Also, software should not be downloaded from unofficial pages, through Peer-to-Peer networks or other sources that we mentioned in the paragraph above. It should be downloaded only from official websites and via direct download links. Software must be updated and/or activated through tools or implemented functions that are designed by official developers. Unofficial, third party tools can be designed to spread malicious software. Besides, it is not legal to activate paid software with various 'cracking' tools. One more important thing is to regularly scan the operating system for threats with a reputable antivirus or anti-spyware software regularly and always eliminate detected threats as soon as possible. If your computer is already infected with Ako, we recommend running a scan with Spyhunter for Windows to automatically eliminate this ransomware.

Text presented in one variant of Ako ransomware's text file ("ako-readme.txt"):

Your network have been locked.
 
All your files, documents, photos, databases and other important data are encrypted and have the extension: *******
 
Backups and shadow copies also encrypted or removed. Any third-party software may damage encrypted data but not recover.
From this moment, it will be impossible to use files until they are decrypted.
 
The only method of recovering files is to purchase an unique private key.
Only we can give you this key and only we can recovery your files.
 
To get info (decrypt your files) follow this steps:
1) Download and install Tor Browser: hxxps://www.torproject.org/download/
2) Open our website in TOR: hxxp://kwvhrdibgmmpkhkidrby4mccwqpds5za6uo2th cw5gz75qncv7rbhyad.onion/I8VC6PIEQL8JFKHM
3) Paste your ID in form (you can find your ID below)
 
!! ATTENTION !!
!! Any third - party software may damage encrypted data but not recover.
!! DO NOT MODIFY ENCRYPTED FILES
!! DO NOT CHANGE YOUR ID
!! DO NOT REMOVE YOUR ID.KEY FILE
 
 --- BEGIN PERSONAL ID ---
-
 --- END PERSONAL ID ---

Screenshot of the initial page of Tor website:

ako ransomare tor website initial-page

Text in this page:

We apologize!

Your network have been locked
Dont worry!
You can return all your files!

Screenshot of a main page of Tor website:

ako ransomware tor website second page

Text in this page:

Your files have been locked!

Whats happened?

All documents, photos, databases and other important files encrypted

How to decrypt files?

The only way to decrypt your files is to
receive the 2mzWmb-Decryptor


Are you ready?

We guarantee that you can recover all your files.

But you have not so enough time.

Buy 2mzWmb-Decryptor

Price now: 0.479 BTC (~3800$)

You have: 2 days. 14:57:48
If payment isnt made in this time, the cost will be doubled: 0.9576 BTC (~7600$)

    Buy 2mzWmb-Decryptor
    Support Chat

1. Create Bitcoin Wallet (we recommend Blockchain.info)
2. Buy necessary amount of Bitcoins - 0.479 BTC
3. Send 0.479 BTC to the address: 1DUBrMcH9T13oFSa59jxtFDM5eWTP8v2yc
4. After payment paste your transaction id in this form.
5. If payment is done - reload current page.
TXID     Received BTC/USD     Date
You can buy BTC here
coinbase.com
bitpanda.com
cex.io
gemini.com
buybitcoinworldwide.com

Tor website in GIF:

ako ransomware tor website in gif image

Screenshot of another variant of "ako-readme.txt" text file:

ako ransomware ransom note second variant

Text in this note:

Your network have been locked.

All your files, documents, photos, databases and other important data are encrypted and have the extension: ******

Backups and shadow copies also encrypted or removed. Any third-party software may damage encrypted data but not recover.
From this moment, it will be impossible to use files until they are decrypted.

The only method of recovering files is to purchase an unique private key.
Only we can give you this key and only we can recovery your files.

To get info (decrypt your files) contact us at (email)
davidgoldman@cock.li or portedhiggens@firemail.cc

And send me your ID

!!ATTENTION !!
!!Any third - party software may damage encrypted data but not recover.
!!DO NOT MODIFY ENCRYPTED FILES
!!DO NOT CHANGE YOUR KEY

 --- YOUR ID ---
-
 --- YOUR ID ---

Screenshot of files encrypted by one of the Ako versions (random extension):

Files encrypted by Ako ransomware (random extension)

Screenshot of files encrypted by another Ako version (random extension):

ako ransomware encrypted files second variant

Update January 16, 2020 - Cyber criminals have recently started various email spam campaigns to spread Ako ransomware. These emails contain various messages that present malicious attachments as various documents and encourage recipients to open them. The sample we analyzed had a password-protected .zip attachment ("agreement.zip") which contained an executable ("agreement.scr"). Once executed, this file injects Ako ransomware into the system:

Screenshot of this spam email:

Cyber criminals spreading Ako ransomware via email spam campaigns

Text presented within this mail:

Subject: Agreement 2020 #1775505

 

Good afternoon
Here is an agreement for you, as you requested. Check and write if something is wrong.
archive password: 2020

Ako ransomware removal:

Instant automatic removal of Ako virus: 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 Ako virus. 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 Ako 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 Ako 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 Ako 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 Ako 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 Ako, 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 Ako 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 Ako 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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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
Ako 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 Ako virus on your mobile device.
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