How to remove CryLock ransomware from the operating system?

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

CryLock ransomware removal instructions

What is CryLock?

CryLock is the name of a malicious program, which is a new variant of the Cryakl ransomware. Its discovery is credited to Albert Zsigovits. This malware is designed to encrypt data and then demand payment for the decryption. During the encryption process, all affected files are retitled according to this pattern - developers' email address, victim's unique ID and an extension consisting of three random letters, the extension is randomized for every file. For example, files originally named "1.jpg", "2.jpg" and "3.jpg" would appear as something similar to "1.jpg[grand@horsef***er.org][512064768-1578909375].ycs", "2.jpg[grand@horsef***er.org][512064768-1578909375].wkm and "3.jpg[grand@horsef***er.org][512064768-1578909375].muc - respectively. After the completion of this process, the CryLock ransomware displays a pop-up window that contains the ransom note.

The message in the pop-up states that all of the data has been encrypted, files like documents, databases, backups and so on. According to the note, the only way to decrypt them is to purchase a unique decryption key (generated individually for each victim). The price of the key is left unmentioned, however it is stated that it will depend on how quickly users establish contact with the cyber criminals behind the infection. Additionally, this window has two countdown timers, which represent the time left until the ransom increases and decryption becomes impossible. Communication is to be initiated via email and victims are instructed to use reliable email clients (e.g. Gmail, ProtonMail, AOL, etc.). The criminals' mail will not be up indefinitely and following 2-4 weeks - the email address will be blocked. The letters users send must have their External IP addresses and the unique IDs (located in both the note and in the filenames of compromised files). They can also have up to three encrypted files attached to them, should victims wish to test decryption free of charge. The total size of these test files cannot exceed 5Mb (non-archived) and they must not contain valuable information (e.g. databases, backups, large excel sheets, etc.). The message warns users that attempting to decrypt the files with third party software - may result in permanent data loss. Unfortunately, it is true that in most cases of ransomware infections, decryption is impossible without the involvement of individuals responsible. It might be, if the malware in question is still in development and/or has bugs (flaws). Whatever the case, it is strongly advised against contacting and/or meeting the demands of cyber criminals. Often, despite paying - victims do not received the promised decryption tools/keys. Therefore, not only do their files remain damaged beyond repair but they experience significant financial losses as well. To prevent CryLock from further encryptions - it must be eliminated form the operating system. However, removal will not restore already encrypted data. The only viable solution is recovering it from a backup, provided if one was made prior to the infection and was stored in a different location.

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

CryLock decrypt instructions (pop-up)

PicocodeAdhubllkaSivo are a few examples of other ransomware. Malicious software under this classification encrypts data of infected systems and demands payment for the appropriate decryption tools. There are two main differences between them - the cryptographic algorithm they use (symmetric or asymmetric) and the ransom size. The latter range between three and four digits (in USD). Cyber criminals tend to prefer digital currencies (e.g. cryptocurrencies, pre-paid vouchers, etc.) for these payments, as transactions of such are difficult/impossible to trace. To protect files form data encrypting attacks, it is recommended to store backups in remote servers and/or unplugged storage devices (ideally, in multiple locations).

How did ransomware infect my computer?

Ransomware and other malware primarily proliferate through spam campaigns, trojans, software "cracking" (activation) tools, fake updaters and untrustworthy download sources. Spam campaigns are used to send deceptive emails by the thousand. These letters are usually disguised as "official", "important" and/or "urgent". They have infectious files attached (or contain links leading to them). These attachments come in a variety of formats (e.g. Microsoft Office and PDF documents, archive and executable files, JavaScript, etc.); once they are opened - the infection process begins (i.e. they start downloading/installing malware). Trojans are malicious programs, capable of causing chain infections. Rather than activate licensed product, "cracking" tools can download/install malicious software. Fake updaters cause infections by abusing flaws of outdated programs and/or by simply installing malware instead of the updates. Untrustworthy download channels like: unofficial and free file-hosting websites, P2P sharing networks (BitTorrent, Gnutella, eMule, etc.) and other third party downloaders can offer malicious software, by presenting it as ordinary content and/or bundled with such).

Threat Summary:
Name CryLock virus
Threat Type Ransomware, Crypto Virus, Files locker
Encrypted Files Extension [cyber_criminals'_email_address][victim's_ID].[3_random_letters]
Ransom Demanding Message Text presented in the pop-up window
Cyber Criminal Contact grand@horsef***er.org and horsef***er@tuta.io
Detection Names Avast (Win32:Trojan-gen), BitDefender (Gen:Heur.Ransom.REntS.Gen.1), ESET-NOD32 (A Variant Of Win32/Filecoder.EQ), Kaspersky (HEUR:Trojan.Win32.Generic), 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 CryLock 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?

It is recommended not to open suspicious and/or irrelevant emails. Any attachments (or links) present in suspect mail - must never be opened, due to the threat of potential malware infections. All downloads should be done from official and verified sources. Program activation and updating should be done using functions/tools provided by legitimate developers, as illegal activation ("cracking") tools and third party updaters are considered to be high-risk. It is advised to have a reputable anti-virus/anti-spyware suite installed and kept up-to-date. Furthermore, this software is to be used for regular system scans and removal of detected threats. If your computer is already infected with CryLock, we recommend running a scan with Spyhunter for Windows to automatically eliminate this ransomware.

Text presented in CryLock ransomware's ransom note:

Price is raised! Your files have been encrypted... Price is raised!Your files will be lost after

What happened?
All your documents, databases, backups and other important files have been encrypted due to a security problem with your PC. The only way to recover files is to purchase a unique private decryption key. If you want to recover files, write to us by e-mail: grand@horsef***er.org with the following details:
External IP
You unique ID [512064768-1578909375] [copy]
The price depends on how fast you write to us, on timers you can see how many time do you have before price increasing. After payment we will send you the tool that will decrypt all your files. In case of no answer in 24 hours write us to this e-mail: horsef***er@tuta.io [copy]

Any guarantees?
Before paying you can send us up to 3 files for free decryption. The total size of files must be less than 5Mb (non archived), and files should not contain valuable information. (databases, backups, large excel sheets, etc.)

Attention!

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.
Use trusted email clients (gmail.com, protonmail.com, aol.com, etc.) for communication; sometimes your letters do not reach us from corporate letters.
Communication with us lasts 2-4 weeks, then we block mail for communication
Your ID [512064768-1578909375] [copy] Write to grand@horsef***er.org [copy]

The appearance of CryLock ransomware pop-up (GIF):

CryLock ransomware pop-up gif

Screenshot of files encrypted by CryLock ("[cyber_criminals'_email_address][victim's_ID].[3_random_letters]" extension):

Files encrypted by CryLock ransomware ([cyber_criminals_email_address][victim_ID].[3_random_letters] extension)

CryLock ransomware removal:

Instant automatic removal of CryLock 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 CryLock 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 CryLock 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 CryLock 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 CryLock 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 CryLock 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 CryLock, 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 CryLock 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 CryLock 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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Malware activity

Global malware activity level today:

Medium threat activity

Increased attack rate of infections detected within the last 24 hours.

QR Code
CryLock 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 CryLock virus on your mobile device.
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Platform: Windows

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