Remove .harma (Ouroboros) ransomware from the operating system

Also Known As: .harma (Ouroboros) virus
Distribution: Low
Damage level: Severe

.harma (Ouroboros) ransomware removal instructions

What is .harma (Ouroboros)?

Discovered by malware researcher S!Ri, .harma (Ouroboros) is a ransomware-type malicious program belonging to the Ouroboros malware family. Systems infected with it have their data encrypted and victims receive ransom demands for the decryption tools/software. During the encryption process, all affected files are retitled with the ".harma", this extension has been used by another ransomware from the Dharma family. To elaborate how files would appear following encryption, a filename like "1.jpg" would appear as "1.jpg.harma". After this process is complete, two files - "INFO.exe" and "ReadMe.txt" - are dropped onto the desktop, they contain the ransom notes.

The text file informs victims that their data has been encrypted. To restore the files, users are instructed to establish contact with the ransomware's developers via the email addresses provided. The title of their letters must be the unique ID and contain their personal keys. The pop-up window (opened by "INFO.exe") is a more detailed ransom note. It repeats the information written in "ReadMe.txt" and adds that victims can test decryption by sending one encrypted file to the cyber criminals behind .harma (Ouroboros). This test file cannot be larger than 1Mb and/or contain valuable information (e.g. database, backup, large excel sheet and similar). The ransom size is not stated, however it must be paid in Bitcoin cryptocurrency. This note also lists links to websites detailing how to and from where to acquire Bitcoins. It warns users that renaming the compromised files and/or attempting decryption with third party software - can lead to permanent data loss. Unfortunately, it is true that in most cases of ransomware infections - decryption is impossible without the interference of the criminals responsible. It might be viable, if the malware is still in development and/or has bugs/flaws. Whatever the case, it is strongly advised against meeting the ransom demands of cyber criminals. Often, despite paying - victims do not receive the promised decryption tools/software. Therefore, not only do their files remain encrypted but they also experience significant financial losses. To prevent .harma (Ouroboros) ransomware from further encryptions, it has to be removed from the operating system. However, removal will not restore already affected data. The sole solution is recovering it from a backup, if one was created 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:

.harma (Ouroboros) decrypt instructions (INFO.exe)

RagnarokDevosNosu are a couple examples of other ransomware. Malicious programs classified as such are designed to encrypt data and demand payment for the decryption. The crucial differences between them include: the cryptographic algorithm they use (symmetric or asymmetric) for the encryption and the ransom size. The latter typically range between three and four digit sums (in USD). Digital currencies (mainly cryptocurrencies) are preferred by cyber criminals, due to transactions of them being difficult/impossible to trace. To ensure data safety, it is recommended to keep backups in remote servers and/or unplugged storage devices.

How did ransomware infect my computer?

Ransomware and malware primarily spread through trojans, spam campaigns, illegal activation tools ("cracks"), fake updaters and untrustworthy download sources. Trojans are a type of malware, designed to cause chain infections (i.e. download/install additional malicious programs). Spam campaigns are used to send deceptive emails on a mass scale. This mail is usually disguised as "official", "urgent", "important" and so on. The letters have infectious files attached to them (or contain links leading to such). These attachments come in various formats (e.g. archive and executable files, PDF and Microsoft Office documents, JavaScript, etc.); when they are opened - it starts the infection process. Software "cracking" (activation) tools can download/install malware. Fake updaters infect systems by abusing weaknesses in outdated programs and/or by simply installing malware instead of the updates. Untrustworthy download sources (e.g. unofficial and free file-hosting websites, Peer-to-Peer sharing networks and other third party downloaders) - can offer malicious content, presented as ordinary software and/or bundled with it.

Threat Summary:
Name .harma (Ouroboros) virus
Threat Type Ransomware, Crypto Virus, Files locker
Encrypted Files Extension .harma
Ransom Demanding Message INFO.exe and ReadMe.txt
Cyber Criminal Contact and
Detection Names Fortinet (MSIL/Kryptik.QBJ!tr), McAfee (Artemis!01816325E9CB), ESET-NOD32 (A Variant Of MSIL/Kryptik.QBJ), Kaspersky (Trojan.Win32.DelShad.cgn), 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.
Additional Information The added extension (.harma) has been used by ransomware from the Dharma malware family.
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 .harma (Ouroboros) 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?

Suspicious and/or irrelevant emails should not be opened, especially ones received from unknown addresses. Any attachments (or links) found in dubious mail - must never be opened, as doing so can trigger an infection. It is recommended to only use official and verified download channels. All programs should be activated and updated with tools/functions provided by legitimate developers. Illegal activation tools ("cracks") and third party updaters carry a high risk of malware installation, therefore they are advised against use. It is important to device/user safety to have a reputable anti-virus/anti-spyware suite installed and kept updated. This software is to be used for regular system scans and removal of detected/potential threats. If your computer is already infected with .harma (Ouroboros), we recommend running a scan with Spyhunter for Windows to automatically eliminate this ransomware.

Text presented in .harma (Ouroboros) ransomware's pop-up ("INFO.exe"):

Your Files Has Been Encrypted

How To Recover :
Your Data Has Been Encrypted Due The Security Problem
If You Want To Restore Your Files Send Email to Us
Before Paying You Can Send 1MB file For Decryption Test to guarantee that your Files Can Be Restored
Test File Should Not Contain Valuable Data ( Databases Large Excels , Backups )
Do Not Rename Files or Do Not Try Decrypt Files With 3rd Party Softwares , It May Damage Your Files
And Increase Decryption Price

Your ID : 1E857D00
Our Email : Or
How To Buy Bitcoin :
Payment Should Be With Bitcoin
You Can learn how To Buy Bitcoin From This Links :

Screenshot of .harma (Ouroboros)'s text file ("ReadMe.txt"):

.harma (Ouroboros) ransomware text file (ReadMe.txt)

Text presented in this file:

[+] 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
 [+] Personal Key:
 [+] Please send this to our email
 [+] Your Personal KEY: -

Screenshot of files encrypted by .harma (Ouroboros) (".harma" extension):

Files encrypted by .harma (Ouroboros) ransomware (.harma extension)

.harma (Ouroboros) ransomware removal:

Instant automatic removal of .harma (Ouroboros) 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 .harma (Ouroboros) 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 .harma (Ouroboros) 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 .harma (Ouroboros) 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 .harma (Ouroboros) 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 .harma (Ouroboros) 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 .harma (Ouroboros), 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 .harma (Ouroboros) 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 .harma (Ouroboros) 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.

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
.harma (Ouroboros) 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 .harma (Ouroboros) virus on your mobile device.
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Platform: Windows

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