How to uninstall Opqz ransomware?

Also Known As: Opqz virus
Distribution: Moderate
Damage level: Severe

Opqz ransomware removal instructions

What is Opqz?

Opqz is one of the malicious programs that are part of the Djvu ransomware family. It is designed to encrypt files, modify their filenames and create a ransom note. Opqz renames encrypted files by appending the ".opqz" extension to their filenames. For instance, it renames a file named "1.jpg" to "1.jpg.opqz", "2.jpg" to "2.jpg.opqz", and so forth. Opqz provides victims with a ransom note which is a text file named "_readme.txt".

As stated in a ransom note that Opqz creates, victims can decrypt their files with a decryption tool and key that can be purchased for $980 or $490. Their price depends on how fast victims will contact Opqz's developers via helpdatarestore@firemail.cc or helpmanager@mail.ch. In their email victims have to include the assigned personal ID and can attach one encrypted file that Opqz's developers should decrypt for free. Like most ransomware-type programs, Opqz encrypts files with a strong encryption algorithm and the only way to decrypt encrypted data is by using the right decryption tool and key. Typically, cyber criminals behind a particular ransomware are the only ones who can help their victims to decrypt files. However, it is common that they do not send decryption tools even if victims meet all their demands (contact them, pay them a ransom). Therefore, no cyber criminals should be trusted. At the moment there are no free tools that could be capable of decrypting files encrypted by this ransomware. Therefore, the only way to recover them without losing money is to restore them from a backup. It is worthwhile to mention that possible further encryptions can be prevented by uninstalling ransomware from the operating system. Although, all files will remain even after its removal.

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

Opqz decrypt instructions (_readme.txt)

As a rule, ransomware is designed to block access to data by encrypting it and create and/or display some ransom note that contains instructions on how to contact cyber criminals (and/or pay them a ransom). Cryptographic algorithm (symmetric or asymmetric) that ransomware uses to lock/encrypt files and price of a decryption tool and/or key (size of a ransom) usually are the only two main variables. Unfortunately, in most cases it is impossible to decrypt files without tools that only developers or a particular ransomware have. It is possible only when ransomware has some bugs, flaws, etc., which does not happen often. Typically, victims have only one free option - restore files from a backup. Therefore, it is important to always have data backed up and keep it on a remote server or some unplugged storage device. Here are the names of other malicious software that is classified as ransomware too: N2019cov, Vhd and UPPER.

How did ransomware infect my computer?

Typically, cyber criminals attempt to proliferate ransomware and other malware through emails, unreliable software download channels, Trojans, third party software updating tools and unofficial activation ('cracking') tools. Very often they send emails with malicious attachments in them. If opened, those attachments cause installation of malicious software. Some examples of files that cyber criminals can attach to their emails are Microsoft Office documents, PDF documents, archive files (like ZIP, RAR), JavaScript files and executable files (like .exe). Additionally, their emails can contain website links that are designed to download malicious files as well. Furthermore, they can use Peer-to-Peer (P2P) networks (e.g. torrent clients, eMule), freeware download websites, third party downloaders, free file hosting pages and other similar channels as tools to spread malware too. When users download and opene files/programs through such channels, they risk to install ransomware or other high-risk malware. Trojans are malicious programs that often are designed to open backdoor for other malware: when installed, they cause installations of other software of this kind. Unofficial updating tools infect systems by installing malicious software instead of updating or fixing installed software, or by exploiting its bugs, flaws. Unofficial activation ('cracking') tools are programs that supposed to activate licensed software for free (to bypass its activation). However, it is common that they are used as tools to distribute malware and infect computers with malicious programs.

Threat Summary:
Name Opqz virus
Threat Type Ransomware, Crypto Virus, Files locker
Encrypted Files Extension .opqz
Ransom Demanding Message _readme.txt
Ransom Amount $980/$490
Cyber Criminal Contact helpdatarestore@firemail.cc, helpmanager@mail.ch
Detection Names Avast (Win32:CoinminerX-gen [Trj]), BitDefenderTheta (Gen:NN.ZexaF.34104.SqW@aeB6yseG), ESET-NOD32 (A Variant Of Win32/Kryptik.HCGQ), Kaspersky (UDS:DangerousObject.Multi.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.
Additional Information This malware is designed to show a fake Windows Update window and modify the Windows "hosts" file to prevent users from accessing cyber security websites (more information below).
Distribution methods Infected email attachments (macros), torrent websites, malicious ads, unofficial activation and updating tools.
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.
Malware Removal (Windows)

To eliminate possible malware infections, scan your computer with legitimate antivirus software. Our security researchers recommend using Malwarebytes.
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How to protect yourself from ransomware infections?

Various attachments and website links in irrelevant emails should not be trusted (opened), especially when emails are sent from unknown, suspicious addresses. There is always a high possibility that such emails are sent by cyber criminals who attempt to spread malware. All software and files should be downloaded from official websites. Other channels (third party downloaders, unnofficial pages, etc.) can be used to distribute malicious programs. Therefore, it is not safe to download files or programs through them. Furthermore, software must be updated and activated through tools and/or functions that are designed by official developers. Various 'cracking' (unofficial activation) and third party updating tools can be designed to install malware. Besides, it is not legal to use third party tools to activate any licensed software. And finally, it is recommended to regularly scan computers for threats with a reputable antivirus or anti-spyware suite and eliminate detected threats as soon as possible. If your computer is already infected with Opqz, we recommend running a scan with Malwarebytes for Windows to automatically eliminate this ransomware.

Text presented in Opqz ransomware's text file ("_readme.txt"):

ATTENTION!

Don't worry, you can return all your files!
All your files like photos, databases, documents and other important are encrypted with strongest encryption and unique key.
The only method of recovering files is to purchase decrypt tool and unique key for you.
This software will decrypt all your encrypted files.
What guarantees you have?
You can send one of your encrypted file from your PC and we decrypt it for free.
But we can decrypt only 1 file for free. File must not contain valuable information.
You can get and look video overview decrypt tool:
hxxps://we.tl/t-sBwlEg46JX
Price of private key and decrypt software is $980.
Discount 50% available if you contact us first 72 hours, that's price for you is $490.
Please note that you'll never restore your data without payment.
Check your e-mail "Spam" or "Junk" folder if you don't get answer more than 6 hours.


To get this software you need write on our e-mail:
helpdatarestore@firemail.cc

Reserve e-mail address to contact us:
helpmanager@mail.ch

Your personal ID:
-

Screenshot of files encrypted by Opqz (".opqz" extension):

Files encrypted by Opqz ransomware (.opqz extension)

Screenshot of fake Windows update pop-up displayed during the encryption:

Fake Windows pop-up displayed by Opqz during the encryption

IMPORTANT NOTE! - As well as encrypting data, ransomware-type infections from the Djvu malware family also add a number of entries to the Windows "hosts" file. The entries contain URLs of various websites, most of which are related to malware removal. This is done to prevent users from accessing malware security websites and seeking help. Our website (PCrisk.com) is also on the list. Removing these entries, however, is simple - you can find detailed instructions in this article (note that, although the steps are shown in the Windows 10 environment, the process is virtually identical on all versions of the Microsoft Windows operating system).

Screenshot of websites added to Windows hosts file:

Tro Ransomware adding websites to Windows Hosts file

There are currently two versions of Djvu ransomware infections: old and new. The old versions were designed to encrypt data by using a hard-coded "offline key" whenever the infected machine had no internet connection or the server was timing out/not responding. Therefore, some victims were able to decrypt data using a tool developed by cyber security researcher, Michael Gillespie, however, since the encryption mechanism has been slightly changed (hence the new version, released in August, 2019), the decrypter no longer works and it is not supported anymore. If your data has been encrypted by an older version, you might be able to restore it with the another tool developed by Emsisoft and Michael Gillespie. It supports a total of 148 Djvu's variants and you can find more information, as well as download link and decryption instructions in Emsisoft's official page.

Screenshot of Djvu decryption tool by Emsisoft and Michael Gillespie:

Djvu ransomware decrypter by Michael Gillespie and Emsisoft

Additionally, Emsisoft is now providing a service that allows to decrypt data (again, only if it was encrypted by Djvu variants released before August, 2019) for those victims who have a pair of the same file before and after the encryption. All victims have to do is upload a pair of original and encrypted file to Emsisoft's Djvu decryption page and download the aforementioned decryption tool (the download link will be provided after uploading files). Note that the file processing may take some time so be patient. It is also worth mentioning that the system must have an Internet connection during the entire decryption process, otherwise it will fail.

Screenshot of Emsisoft's Djvu decryption service page:

Djvu ransomware decryption service by Emsisoft

Opqz ransomware removal:

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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 Opqz 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 Opqz 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 Opqz 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 Opqz 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 Opqz, 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 Opqz 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 Opqz 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
Opqz 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 Opqz virus on your mobile device.
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