How to remove LX ransomware and prevent it from further encryptions?

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

LX ransomware removal instructions

What is LX?

LX is a piece of malicious software, belonging to the Crisis/Dharma ransomware family. Discovery is credited to Jakub Kroustek. It operates by encrypting the data of infected systems, in order to demand payment for the decryption tools/software. As this malware encrypts, all affected files are retitled according to this pattern: original filename, unique ID, cyber criminals' email address and the ".LX". For example, a file like "1.jpg" would appear as something similar to "1.jpg.id-1E857D00.[help.crypt@aol.com].LX", and so on. Afterwards, a text file - "FILES ENCRYPTED.txt" is created on the desktop and a pop-up window is displayed.

The ransom note in the text file ("FILES ENCRYPTED.txt") informs victims that their data has been "locked" and to recover it, they are instructed to write to the email addresses of the cyber criminals behind the infection. The text presented in the pop-up window provides a bit more information. It clarifies that the victims' files have been encrypted, but it is possible to restore them. To recover the encrypted data, it is repeated that users must initiate communication via email. Their letter must contain the unique ID assigned to them. Should victims receive no response within 12 hours, they are to use the other email address. The note in the pop-up ends with warnings. Users are alerted that renaming the encrypted files and/or attempting to decrypt them with third party tools - may lead to permanent data loss. Unfortunately, in most cases of ransomware infections, without the involvement of the individuals responsible - decryption is impossible. It might be, if the malware is still in development and/or has bugs (flaws). Whatever the case, it is expressly advised against communicating with and/or meeting the ransom demands of cyber criminals. Since often, despite paying - victims do not receive the promised decryption tools/software. Hence, their files remain encrypted and they experience financial losses. To prevent LX ransomware from further encryptions - it must be removed from the operating system. However, removal will not restore already affected data. The only possible solution is recovering it from a backup, if ones was created before the infection and was stored in a different location.

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

LX decrypt instructions (pop-up)

Tongda2000R44sDECPUzuvnkyh are a few examples of other ransomware-type programs. They are designed to encrypt data and demand payment for the decryption. There are some crucial differences in-between them: the cryptographic algorithm used for the encryption and the size of the demanded ransom. The latter range from three to four digit sums (in USD). Digital currencies (e.g. cryptocurrencies, pre-paid vouchers, etc.) are typically used for these payments, since transactions of them are difficult/impossible to trace. To avoid data loss, it is strongly recommended to keep backups in unplugged storage devices and/or remote servers (ideally, in several separate locations).

How did ransomware infect my computer?

Ransomware and other malware primarily spread through trojans, spam campaigns, illegal activation ("cracking") tools, illegitimate updates and untrustworthy download sources. Trojans are malicious programs with varied abilities, which can include stealthy download/installation of additional malware. The term "spam campaign" defines deceptive/scam emails sent on a mass scale. The letters are usually presented as "official", "important", "priority" and similar. They have infectious files attached to (or inked inside) them. Virulent files can be in various formats (e.g. PDF and Microsoft Office documents, archive and executable files. JavaScript, etc.); when they are opened - it initiates the infection process. Illegal activation tools ("cracks") can download/install malicious software, instead of activating licensed product. Fake updaters cause infections by abusing flaws of outdated products and/or simply install malware, rather than the promised updates. Untrustworthy download channels, e.g. unofficial and free file-hosting sites, Peer-to-Peer sharing networks (BitTorrent, Gnutella, eMule, etc.) and other third party updaters - can offer malicious programs for downloading, disguised as or bundled with ordinary products.

Threat Summary:
Name LX virus
Threat Type Ransomware, Crypto Virus, Files locker
Encrypted Files Extension .LX (files are also appended with a unique ID and cyber criminals' email address)
Ransom Demanding Message Text presented in the pop-up window and FILES ENCRYPTED.txt
Cyber Criminal Contact help.crypt@aol.com and decode.help@protonmail.ch
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.
Removal

To eliminate malware infections our security researchers recommend scanning your computer with Spyhunter.
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How to protect yourself from ransomware infections?

It is ill-advised to open suspicious and/or irrelevant emails, especially any attachments (or links) present in them - can result in a high-risk infection. All downloads should be done only from official and verified sources. It is just as important to activate and update software with tools/functions, provided by legitimate developers. Illegal activation ("cracking") tools and third party updaters are often used to proliferate malware. To protect device integrity and user safety, it is crucial to have a dependable anti-virus/anti-spyware installed and kept updated. Furthermore, such programs should be used to run regular system scans and to remove all detected threats/issues. If your computer is already infected with LX, we recommend running a scan with Spyhunter for Windows to automatically eliminate this ransomware.

Text presented in LX 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 help.crypt@aol.com YOUR ID 1E857D00
If you have not been answered via the link within 12 hours, write to us by e-mail:decode.help@protonmail.ch
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 LX's text file ("FILES ENCRYPTED.txt"):

LX ransomware text file (FILES ENCRYPTED.txt)

Text presented in this file:

all your data has been locked us
You want to return?
write email help.crypt@aol.com or decode.help@protonmail.ch 

Screenshot of files encrypted by LX (".LX" extension):

Files encrypted by LX ransomware (.LX extension)

LX ransomware removal:

Instant automatic malware removal: 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 malware. 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 LX 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 LX 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 LX 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 LX 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 LX, 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 LX 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 LX 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
LX 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 LX virus on your mobile device.
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