How to remove Crown (Dharma) ransomware from a computer?

Also Known As: Crown (Dharma) virus
Distribution: Low
Damage level: Severe

Crown (Dharma) ransomware removal instructions

What is Crown (Dharma)?

Crown (Dharma) belongs to the family of ransomware named Dharma. Like most malicious programs of this type, it encrypts files, changes their filenames and provides victims with instructions on how to contact its developers. Crown (Dharma) renames all files by adding victim's ID, its developers email address and appending the ".crown" extension to their filenames. For example, it renames "1.jpg" to "1.jpg.id-1E857D00.[crown_desh@aol.com].crown", and so on. Also, Crown (Dharma) creates a text file named "FILES ENCRYPTED.txt" and displays a pop-up window.

Victims supposed to contact cyber criminals who designed Crown (Dharma) via crown_desh@aol.com email address and wait for further instructions. Typically, victims who contact ransomware developers receive information such as price of a decryption tool and/or key and how to pay for it. As stated in the pop-up window displayed by Crown (Dharma), victims should not try to rename encrypted files or decrypt them with some third party software because it may cause permanent loss. Unfortunately, software like Crown (Dharma) encrypts data with strong encryption algorithms and it is impossible to decrypt files without tools that only their developers have. Another problem is that cyber criminals cannot be trusted because they often do not send decryption tools even after a payment. Simply said, victims who pay a ransom tend to get scammed. There are no other and/or free tools that could decrypt files that are encrypted by Crown (Dharma) at the moment. It means that the only way to recover files for free is to restore them from a backup. It is worth mentioning that files remain encrypted even if victims uninstall ransomware from the operating system. By uninstalling ransomware victims only prevent it from causing further encryptions.

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

Crown (Dharma) decrypt instructions (crown_desh@aol.com pop-up)

Some more examples of ransomware are Onix, Dharma (.WHY) and Parrot. Usually software of this type is designed to prevent victims from accessing their files by encrypting them and create and/or display some ransom note that contain instructions on how to contact cyber criminals, pay a ransom and/or other details. Two main variables usually are price of a decryption tool and/or key and cryptographic algorithm (symmetric or asymmetric) that ransomware uses to lock/encrypt data. There are not many cases where data can be decrypted without tools that can be provided by developers of a particular ransomware. It is possible only if ransomware is not finished, has some bugs, flaws, etc. In most cases the only free way to recover files is to restore them from a backup. Therefore, we recommend to always have data backup and keep it on a remote server (e.g., Cloud) or unplugged storage device.

How did ransomware infect my computer?

It is common that cyber criminals spread malicious programs like ransomware through spam campaigns, untrustworthy download sources, unofficial (fake) software updating tools, Trojans and software 'cracking' tools. They use spam campaigns as tools to trick recipients into infecting systems through attachments (or web links that download malicious files). If opened, those files/attachments install malicious programs. Some examples of files that cyber criminals usually attach to their emails are Microsoft Office, PDF documents, archive files like RAR, ZIP, executable files (.exe and other files of this kind) and JavaScript files. Peer-to-Peer networks (like torrent clients, eMule), freeware download websites, free file hosting websites, third party downloaders, installers, unofficial pages, etc., can be used to proliferate ransomware and other malicious programs too. Cyber criminals use them to host malicious files that they usually disguise as legitimate. By opening files downloaded through channels of this kind people often cause installation of malware by themselves. Fake, unofficial tools that supposed to update installed software infect operating systems by exploiting bugs, flaws of the outdated software or by installing malicious software instead of updates, fixes. Trojans are malicious programs that can cause damage only if they already installed. Very often programs of this type are designed to spread other various malware/cause chain infections. Software 'cracking' tools supposed to activate software for free (bypass its activation). However, it is common that tools of this type are designed to install malicious software like ransomware and other high-risk malware.

Threat Summary:
Name Crown (Dharma) virus
Threat Type Ransomware, Crypto Virus, Files locker
Encrypted Files Extension .crown
Ransom Demanding Message pop-up window and FILES ENCRYPTED.txt
Cyber Criminal Contact crown_desh@aol.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.
Additional Information There's another ransomware-type infection that appends an almost identical extension - ".CROWN" (all uppercase). However it is a completely different malware.
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 Crown (Dharma) 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 not recommended to open files/attachments and/or website links in irrelevant emails that are sent from unknown, suspicious addresses. Even if such emails are presented as important and legitimate. Files or/and software should be downloaded from official websites, none of the channels that we mentioned in the paragraph above can be trusted. Installed programs must be updated with tools and/or implemented functions that are designed by official developers. Software 'cracking' (unofficial activation) tools should not be used as well, they often install malicious software and are not legal. Also, it is strongly recommended to have a reputable antivirus or anti-spyware software installed and scan the operating system for threats with it regularly. If your computer is already infected with Crown (Dharma), we recommend running a scan with Spyhunter for Windows to automatically eliminate this ransomware.

Text presented in Crown (Dharma) ransomware's pop-up window:

YOUR FILES ARE ENCRYPTED
Don't worry,you can return all your files!
If you want to restore them, follow this link:email crown_desh@aol.com YOUR ID 1E857D00
If you have not been answered via the link within 12 hours, write to us by e-mail:crown_desh@aol.com
Attention!
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 Crown (Dharma)'s text file:

Crown (Dharma) ransomware text file (FILES ENCRYPTED.txt)

Screenshot of files encrypted by Crown (Dharma) (".crown" extension):

Files encrypted by Crown (Dharma) ransomware (.crown extension)

Crown (Dharma) ransomware removal:

Instant automatic removal of Crown (Dharma) 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 Crown (Dharma) 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 Crown (Dharma) 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 Crown (Dharma) 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 Crown (Dharma) 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 Crown (Dharma) 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 Crown (Dharma), 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 Crown (Dharma) 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 Crown (Dharma) 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
Crown (Dharma) virus QR code
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Platform: Windows

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