Z9 ransomware removal instructions
What is Z9?
Z9 is belongs to the Dharma ransomware family, it was discovered by Raby. As a rule, ransomware-type programs encrypt victim's files, change their filenames and create and/or display ransom notes. Z9 renames encrypted files by adding victim's ID, firstname.lastname@example.org email address and appending the ".Z9" extension to their filenames. For example, "1.jpg" gets renamed to "1.jpg.id-1E857D00.[email@example.com].Z9", and so on. Also, this ransomware creates a text file/ransom note called "FILES ENCRYPTED.txt" and displays a pop-up window. Both of them contain instructions on how to contact cyber criminals who are behind this ransomware.
As stated in a pop-up window, Z9 encrypts all files and the only way to decrypt them is by using a decryption tool and key that can be purchased from Z9 developers. In order to get instructions on how to make a payment victims have to contact cyber criminals by writing them an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. Also, they have to provide the appointed ID and can attach one encrypted file. These cyber criminals offer a free decryption as a way to prove that they have tools that can decrypt the rest of encrypted data. Additionally, victims are warned not to rename any of the encrypted files and try to decrypt them with some other software because it may cause permanent data loss. Unfortunately, there are no free tools that could decrypt files encrypted by this ransomware and cyber criminals behind Z9 are the only ones who can provide the right decryption tools. However, victims who pay a ransom tend to get scammed, cyber criminals often do not send decryption tools and/or keys even when all their demands are met. It is worth mentioning that files remain encrypted even if ransomware is uninstalled from the operating system. Removal of ransomware only prevents it from causing further encryptions. In most cases the only way to recover data without losing any money is to restore them from a backup.
Screenshot of a message encouraging users to pay a ransom to decrypt their compromised data:
There is a great number of various ransomware-type programs, some examples are Nosu, Kodc and BWNG. Typically, they are designed to block access to data and create and/or display a ransom note that contains instructions on how to contact cyber criminals, pay a ransom and/or other details related to data recovery. In most cases the only main differences are price of a decryption software and/or key and cryptographic algorithm (symmetric or asymmetric) that ransomware uses to encrypt files. As we mentioned in the previous paragraph, most of the times cyber criminals who designed ransomware are the only ones who can provide tools that can decrypt victim's data. It is possible to avoid having to use their tools only when ransomware contains some bugs, flaws, or other vulnerabilities. Unfortunately, it does not happen of then and that is why it is even more important to always have data backed up and keep it on a remote servers or unplugged storage device.
How did ransomware infect my computer?
|Threat Type||Ransomware, Crypto Virus, Files locker|
|Encrypted Files Extension||.Z9|
|Ransom Demanding Message||FILES ENCRYPTED.txt and a pop-up window.|
|Cyber Criminal Contactfirstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com|
|Detection Names||Avast (Win32:RansomX-gen [Ransom]), BitDefender (Trojan.Ransom.Crysis.E), ESET-NOD32 (A Variant Of Win32/Filecoder.Crysis.P), Kaspersky (Trojan-Ransom.Win32.Crusis.to), 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.|
To eliminate Z9 virus our malware researchers recommend scanning your computer with Spyhunter.
How to protect yourself from ransomware infections?
We recommend not to open attachments or web links that are included in irrelevant emails, especially if they are received from unknown, suspicious addresses. All software and files should be downloaded from official, trustworthy websites and via direct links. Other sources, tools like third party downloaders (and installers) Peer-to-Peer networks like torrents, eMule, questionable, unofficial websites, etc., should not be used. Furthermore, installed software should be updated via tools and/or implemented functions that are provided by official developers. The same applies its activation. It is worth mentioning that it is not legal to activate software by using various 'cracking tools (unofficial activation tools) One more important thing is to scan the operating system for threats regularly and do that with a reputable anti-spyware or antivirus software software that is always up to date. If your computer is already infected with Z9, we recommend running a scan with Spyhunter for Windows to automatically eliminate this ransomware.
Text presented in the pop-up window:
All FILES ENCRYPTED "RSA1024"
All YOUR FILES HAVE BEEN ENCRYPTED!!! IF YOU WANT TO RESTORE THEM, WRITE US TO THE E-MAIL firstname.lastname@example.org
IN THE LETTER WRITE YOUR ID, YOUR ID 1E857D00
IF YOU ARE NOT ANSWERED, WRITE TO EMAIL:email@example.com
YOUR SECRET KEY WILL BE STORED ON A SERVER 7 DAYS, AFTER 7 DAYS IT MAY BE OVERWRITTEN BY OTHER KEYS, DON'T PULL TIME, WAITING YOUR EMAIL
FREE DECRYPTION FOR PROOF
You can send us up to 1 file for free decryption. The total size of files must be less than 1Mb (non archived), and files should not contain valuable information. (databases,backups, large excel sheets, etc.)
When you make sure of decryption possibility transfer the money to our bitcoin wallet. As soon as we receive the money we will send you:
1. Decryption program.
2. Detailed instruction for decryption.
3. And individual keys for decrypting your files.
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 Z9's text file ("FILES ENCRYPTED.txt"):
Tex in this file:
all your data has been locked us
You want to return?
write email firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
Screenshot of files encrypted by Z9 (".Z9" extension):
Z9 ransomware removal:
Instant automatic removal of Z9 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 Z9 virus. Download it by clicking the button below:
- What is Z9?
- STEP 1. Z9 virus removal using safe mode with networking.
- STEP 2. Z9 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 Z9 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 Z9 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 Z9 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 Z9 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 Z9 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 Z9 ransomware: