How to remove the Rubly screenlocker from the operating system

Also Known As: Rubly virus
Damage level: Severe

What is the Rubly screenlocker?

Discovered by malware analyst Karsten Hahn, Rubly is screenlocker malware. It operates by locking the screen, displaying a full-screen window, and damaging the Master Boot Record (MBR) so that ransom demands can be made.

Rubly also claims to have encrypted the data stored on the infected system, which is a common characteristic of ransomware-type malicious programs.

Screen locked by Rubly

The text presented in the locked screen states that all important files on the system have been encrypted. To receive more information about how to obtain a decryption key, users are instructed to send an email using the address provided. When the system is restarted/rebooted, the damaged MBR displays another message.

It informs victims that their device has been infected by the Rubly Trojan. Additionally, the message claims that all of the data has been encrypted. The users are instructed that they have three attempts to type the correct decryption key. This message repeats that, to receive the key, victims are to establish contact using the email addresses provided.

You are strongly advised against communicating with and/or meeting the ransom demands of cyber criminals - they often do not uphold their end of any agreement, despite being paid. It is notable that the email addresses provided are from public email service providers (gmail, web.de).

Furthermore, one of the addresses is from a German provider, which possibly suggests that the criminals are located in Germany. These sloppy attempts at ensuring anonymity on their part may be due to the cyber criminals being amateurs. Whatever the case, Rubly screenlocker is high-risk malware and should be removed without delay.

Threat Summary:
Name Rubly virus
Threat Type Ransomware, Crypto Virus, Files locker.
Cyber Criminal Contact InfoMalte@web.de and rublytrojan@gmail.com
Detection Names Avast (Win32:Malware-gen), BitDefender (Gen:Variant.Ulise.100359), ESET-NOD32 (A Variant Of Win32/KillMBR.NDS), Kaspersky (Trojan.Win32.DiskWriter.ceo), 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 the 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.
Malware Removal (Windows)

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"McAfee has Blocked your Windows", "Your Windows has been banned", "CRITICAL WARNING!" and "StalinLocker" are example of other screenlockers. Malware of this type often incorporates various fake claims. For example, to trick users into believing that they are communicating with technical support or law enforcement.

To elaborate, it might be claimed that the device's screen has been locked by the operating system itself or an anti-virus product (e.g. Windows or McAfee, such as in the provided examples) due to a serious threat/issue. This scam model is commonly used to encourage people into calling expensive fake "tech support" numbers and/or to request payment for "services rendered".

Another model states that access to the device has been blocked by local law authorities, due to illegal material detected on the system. The ransom for unlocking in these scams is disguised as a fine for possession of illicit content. Regardless of what this malware claims or how it operates, the end-goal is identical: to generate revenue for the cyber criminals responsible.

How did ransomware install on my computer?

The most common proliferation methods of malware are via Trojans, spam campaigns, illegal activation ("cracking") tools, bogus updates and untrusted download channels. Trojans are malware infections that have various capabilities, which can include the capability to cause chain infections (i.e., download/installation of additional malware).

Spam campaigns are used to distribute deceptive/scam emails on a large scale. These messages have infectious files attached to them or, alternatively, can contain download links of malicious content. Infectious files come in various formats (e.g. Microsoft Office and PDF files, archive and executable files, JavaScript, etc.).

When they are executed, run or otherwise opened, the infection process is triggered. Rather than activating licensed products, illegal activation tools ("cracks") can download/install malware. Fake updaters infect the system by exploiting flaws of outdated products and/or simply by installing malicious programs rather than the promised updates.

Untrustworthy download sources such as unofficial and free file-hosting websites, P2P sharing networks (BitTorrent, Gnutella, eMule, etc.) and other third party downloaders can offer malware disguised as and/or bundled with normal products.

How to avoid installation of potentially unwanted applications

You are advised against opening suspicious or irrelevant emails, especially any attachments or links present in them, as that can result in high-risk infection. Use only official and verified download channels. Activate and update products with tools/functions provided by genuine developers.

Illegal activation ("cracking") tools and third party updaters should not be used, since they are often used to spread malware. To protect device integrity and user safety, it is crucial to have an anti-virus/anti-spyware suite installed and kept up to date. Use this software to run regular system scans and to remove detected/potential threats.

If your computer is already infected with PUAs, we recommend running a scan with Combo Cleaner Antivirus for Windows to automatically eliminate them.

Text presented in the screen locked by Rubly:

Oops your importent files are encrypted

If you want to have your decryption key send an e-mail to InfoMalte@web.de 

Screenshot of the screen-encompassing message displayed during system reboot:

Rubly screenlocker ransom note

Text presented in this message:

Your PC have been f***ked by the Rubly Trojan.
All your importent files are encrypted.

Note: After you have fixed the MBR your files are encrypted
you have 3 attempts to type the right key.

For the key please contact:
rublytrojan@gmail.com or InfoMalte@web.de 

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Quick menu:

"Rubly" virus removal:

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 starting process press the F8 key on your keyboard multiple times until you see the Windows Advanced Option menu, 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: Go to the Windows 8 Start Screen, type Advanced, in the search results select Settings. Click on Advanced Startup options, in the opened "General PC Settings" window select Advanced Startup. Click on the "Restart now" button. Your computer will now restart into "Advanced Startup options menu".

Click on the "Troubleshoot" button, then click on "Advanced options" button. In the advanced option screen click on "Startup settings". Click on the "Restart" button. Your PC will restart into the Startup Settings screen. Press "5" to boot in Safe Mode with Networking Prompt.

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 "Rubly" 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 viruses using "Safe Mode with Command Prompt" and "System Restore":

1. During your computer starting 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 "Rubly" 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 remnants of the "Rubly" virus.

If you cannot start your computer in Safe Mode with Networking (or with Command Prompt), boot your computer using a rescue disk. Some viruses disable Safe Mode making it's removal complicated. For this step, you require access to another computer.

After removing "Rubly" virus from your PC, restart your computer and scan it with legitimate anti-spyware software to remove any possible remnants of this security infection.

Other tools known to remove this scam:

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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.

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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.

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