How to uninstall Ako from your 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 supposedly contact cyber criminals and pay the ransom. Both variants create a text file (containing a ransom message) named "ako-readme.txt". In one version of the ransom message, victims are instructed to contact cyber criminals via email, whilst the other instructs them to pay the ransom through a Tor website. Both Ako variants create the "id.key" file and store it in folders that contain encrypted files (they do the same with the text file containing the ransom message) and rename all encrypted files by appending a random extension to filenames. For example, "1.jpg" is renamed to "1.jpg.2mzWmb", and so on.

In both versions of the ransom message ("ako-readme.txt"), victims are informed that all of their files were encrypted and the only way to recover them is to purchase a unique key. One version contains two email addresses (davidgoldman@cock.li and portedhiggens@firemail.cc) for contacting cyber criminals (Ako developers) for more details about how to purchase the key. Another version contains a website link, which can be opened with the Tor browser. On the Tor website victims, must paste the personal ID from the second version of the "ako-readme.txt" text file and then follow the instructions. The website states that victims can purchase a decryption tool by transferring 0.479 Bitcoins to a BTC wallet address provided. It is also mentioned that unless payment is made within two days of encryption, the cost of decryption is increased to 0.9576 of Bitcoin. Only Ako developers can decrypt compromised files. Currently, there are no other tools capable of recovering them. Note that cyber criminals behind these programs cannot be trusted. They often provide no decryption tools or keys even after payment. Therefore, people who pay are scammed. In most cases, the only free way to recover files and avoid data loss is to restore them from a backup. Note that files remain encrypted even if victims remove ransomware from the operating systems - removal simply prevents further encryption.

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 block access to data and provide instructions (create a ransom message and/or display a pop-up window) about how to purchase a tool/key that can decrypt files. Common variables are size of ransom and cryptographic algorithm (symmetric or asymmetric) that ransomware uses for encryption. In any case, it is generally impossible to 'crack' file encryption with specific tools held only by the developers of the ransomware, unless the ransomware is not complete (contains bugs, flaws or has other vulnerabilities). Alternatively, files can be restored from a backup. In such cases, data backups become extremely useful, and therefore we strongly recommend that you maintain backups on a remote server or unplugged storage device. Some examples of other ransomware programs are m461c14n, WannaScream and Pashka.

How did ransomware infect my computer?

Most cyber criminals proliferate ransomware-type software (or other malware) via spam campaigns, fake software updaters, untrustworthy software download sources, unofficial software activation tools and Trojans. A popular way to proliferate malware is by sending emails that contain malicious attachments (or website links that download malicious files). These emails often contain attachments such as Microsoft Office documents, archives (ZIP, RAR), PDF documents, JavaScript files, and executable files such as .exe. If opened, the attachments install a malicious program - in this case, Ako ransomware. Fake software updaters also spread malware. People who use them to update software often cause installation of malicious programs. Fake updaters also exploit bugs/flaws of outdated software and infect systems. Cyber criminals use untrustworthy software download channels to trick people into installing computer infections. Example include Peer-to-Peer networks such as 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 some people will download and open them. If opened/executed, the files install malicious programs. Software 'cracking' tools supposedly bypass paid activation of software free of charge, however, they often install ransomware-type programs and other malware. Trojans are programs that often proliferate other malware. I.e., if a computer is infected with a Trojan, it is very likely to cause additional damage.

Threat Summary:
Name Ako virus
Threat Type Ransomware, Crypto Virus, Files locker.
Encrypted Files Extension Ako appends an extension that contains a 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, alfredolopes@protonmail.com, coronahelpme@nigge.rs, dtddecrypt@protonmail.com, dtddesht@tutanota.com
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.
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

If an email is received from an unknown, suspicious address, is irrelevant or contains an attachment or website link, do not trust it. These emails are sent by cyber criminals who seek to infect computers with ransomware or other malware. Do not download software from unofficial web pages, through Peer-to-Peer networks or the other sources mentioned above. Download only from official websites and via direct download links. Software must be updated and activated through tools or implemented functions that are designed by official developers. Unofficial, third party tools are often designed to proliferate malicious software. Furthermore, it is illegal to activate paid software with 'cracking' tools. Regularly scan the operating system for threats with reputable antivirus or anti-spyware software and eliminate detected threats immediately. If your computer is already infected with Ako, we recommend running a scan with Malwarebytes for Windows to automatically eliminate this ransomware.

Text presented in one variant of Ako ransomware 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 web page of the Tor website:

ako ransomare tor website initial-page

Text on this page:

We apologize!

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

Screenshot of the main page of the Tor website:

ako ransomware tor website second page

Text on 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 message:

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 spam email campaigns to spread Ako ransomware. These emails contain 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 file ("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

Update April 9, 2020 - Crooks have recently released yet another variant of Ako ransomware, which drops a different ransom note and provides a different Tor website. The file extension remains the same - a random string.

Screenshot of the updated Ako ransomware's text file ("Ako-ReadMe.txt"):

Updated Ako ransomware text file (Ako-ReadMe.txt)

Text presented within this file:

Your network has been hacked and locked.

All files on each host in the network have been encrypted with a strong algorithm.

Backups were either encrypted or deleted or backup disks were formatted.
Shadow copies also removed. Any 3rd party software may damage encrypted data but not recover.

We have decryption software for your situation.
No decryption software is available in the public.

DO NOT RESET OR SHUTDOWN - files may be damaged.
DO NOT RENAME OR MOVE the encrypted and readme files.
DO NOT DELETE readme files.

To get info (decrypt your files) follow this instructions:
1) [Recommended] via Tor Browser:
  a) Download and install Tor Browser: hxxps://www.torproject.org/download/
  b) Open our website in TOR: hxxp://kwvhrdibgmmpkhkidrby4mccwqpds5za6uo2thcw5gz75qncv7rbhyad.onion/AXYIRRUPSQTS3AHT

2) If you have any problems connecting or using TOR network:
  a) Open our website: hxxps://buydecrypt.hk/AXYIRRUPSQTS3AHT
  b) Follow the instructions on the site.

The faster you get in contact - the lower price you can expect.

Ext: .A4Wz1b
When you open our page, paste this key in form:

-

Screenshot of the updated Tor website:

Ako ransomware updated file

Screenshot of the files encrypted by the updated Ako ransomware (random extension):

Files encrypted by the updated Ako ransomware

Update April 21, 2020 - Crooks have recently released yet another variant of Ako ransomware, which now appends ".AKO" extension and drops different ransom notes ("AkoReadMe.txt" and "AkoReadMe.html").

Screenshot of the updated Ako ransomware's text file ("AkoReadMe.txt"):

Ako ransomware text file (AkoReadMe.txt)

Text presented within:

Your network has been hacked and locked.

All files on each host in the network have been encrypted with a strong algorithm.
Do not worry, we have decryption software for your situation.

We have also downloaded a lot of sensitive information from your network, so in case of not paying this data will be released.
If you dont believe we have any data you can contact us and ask a proof.
Dont forget about GDPR.

When you pay us the data will be removed from our disks and decryptor will be given to you, so you can restore all your files.

To get info (decrypt your files) contact us at and send your key (see it below):

dtddecrypt@protonmail.com or dtddesht@tutanota.com

To confirm our honest intentions, you can decrypt any file for free.
The faster you get in contact - the lower price you can expect.

Decryption of your files with the help of third-party company may cause increased price. (they add their fee to our)
Do not reset or shutdown - files may be damaged.
Do not rename or move the encrypted and readme files.
Do not delete readme files.

Machine ID: .861C7c
Your key:

-

Screenshot of the updated Ako ransomware's HTML file ("AkoReadMe.html"):

Ako ransomware HTML file (AkoReadMe.html)

Text presented within:

To get info (decrypt your files) contact us at (email) and send your key (see it below)
dtddecrypt@protonmail.com or dtddesht@tutanota.com


The faster you get in contact - the lower price you can expect.

Machine ID: .861C7c
Key:

-

Screenshot of files encrypted by the updated Ako ransomware (".AKO" extension):

Files encrypted by the Ako ransomware (.AKO extension)

Update May 13, 2020 - The developers of Ako ransomware are continually leaking data stolen from the infected devices. The data contains information about employees from various companies, hospital patients, and so on so forth.

Screenshot of website (stored in Tor network) that Ako developers use to leak data:

Ako ransomware data leaking website

Update May 14, 2020 - It is worth mentioning that aside from asking for a decryption ransom, developers also ask for a second payment in exchange for deletion of stolen data. However, they typically target large companies that have a lot of resources and value extremely value their data. Leakage of certain information may cause companies way higher losses than paying the ransom, which is why certain medical organizations and few other huge companies agree to pay. Depending on the size of company, ransom fluctuates between $100,000 and $2,000,000. Price for data deletion is typically higher than the decryption price. On top of that, it is rather uncommon to see cyber criminals making such huge demands, since in most cases ransomware developers ask for several thousands of dollars only.

Ako 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 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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