How to uninstall NEPHILIM ransomware?

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

NEPHILIM ransomware removal instructions

What is NEPHILIM?

The NEPHILIM ransomware was discovered by dnwls0719. Typically, software of this type is designed to encrypt victim's data (make files inaccessible), rename every encrypted file and create (and/or display) some ransom note with instructions on how to contact cyber criminals, pay a ransom and/or other details. NEPHILIM renames encrypted files by appending the ".NEPHILIM" extension to their filenames. For example, it renames a file named "1.jpg" to "1.jpg.NEPHILIM", and so forth. Instructions on how to contact cyber criminals who designed this ransomware are provided in a text file named "NEPHILIM-DECRYPT.txt".

As explained in a ransom note created by NEPHILM, this ransomware encrypts all files with military grade algorithms and the only way to recover them is to decrypt them with a software that can be purchased from NEPHILM's developers. In order to get instructions on how to purchase that software victims have to write them an email to deanlivermore@protonmail.com, robertatravels@mail.com or bernardocarlos@tutanota.com address. An email can contain up to two encrypted files, NEPHILM's developers offer to decrypt them for free. It is mentioned that if victims will not contact them, then their files will be leaked by uploading them to some Tor website. The biggest problem with programs like NEPHILIM is that they encrypt files with strong encryption algorithms and it is impossible (or almost impossible) to decrypt them without tools that only cyber criminals who designed ransomware have. It is common that victims do not get those tools even if they pay for them. Therefore, cyber criminals cannot be trusted. In such cases the only way to recover files without risking to lose any money is to restore them from a created backup. It is worthwhile to mention that removal of ransomware does not help to recover files (they remain encrypted), however, it prevents ransomware from causing further encryptions.

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

NEPHILIM decrypt instructions (NEPHILIM-DECRYPT.txt)

Some examples of other ransomware are Protect, Math and Sekhmet. As a rule, software of this type blocks access to files by encrypting them and creates and/or displays a ransom note (or notes). Usually two main variables are cryptographic algorithm (symmetric or asymmetric) that ransomware uses for encryption and size of a ransom. Unfortunately, in most cases files cannot be decrypted without tools that only cyber criminals behind particular ransomware can provide. It is possible to decrypt files without their tools only when ransomware has some bugs, flaws, is not fully developed. Since it does not happen often, it is recommended to always have a data backed up and keep it stored on some remote server (e.g., Cloud) or unplugged storage device.

How did ransomware infect my computer?

There is more than one way to sped malicious programs. Usually cyber criminals attempt do that through spam campaigns, untrustworthy download channels, unofficial (fake) software updating tools, Trojans and software 'cracking' tools. It is common that they send emails that contain malicious attachments (or web links that download malicious files) and seek to trick recipients into opening them. If opened, those files/attachments install malicious software. Examples of files that cyber criminals 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., are examples of channels that can be used to malicious programs too. Cyber criminals use them to host, upload malicious files and hope that users will download and execute them. By executing those files users cause installation of malware by themselves. Fake, unofficial tools that supposed to update installed programs infect computers by exploiting bugs, flaws of the outdated software or by installing malicious software instead of updates and/or fixes. Trojans are malicious programs that can cause damage only if they already installed. Quite often malware of type is designed to spread other various software of this kind, in other words, to cause chain infections. Unofficial activation/'cracking' tools supposed to activate licensed software for free. However, instead of bypassing its activation they often install some malicious software.

Threat Summary:
Name NEPHILIM virus
Threat Type Ransomware, Crypto Virus, Files locker
Encrypted Files Extension .NEPHILIM
Ransom Demanding Message NEPHILIM-DECRYPT.txt
Cyber Criminal Contact deanlivermore@protonmail.com, robertatravels@mail.com, bernardocarlos@tutanota.com
Detection Names Avast (Win32:Evo-gen [Susp]), BitDefender (Gen:Variant.Symmi.7095), ESET-NOD32 (A Variant Of Win32/Filecoder.Nemty.F), Kaspersky (Trojan-Ransom.Win32.Cryptor.dev), Full List Of Detections (VirusTotal)
Rogue Process Name weeli.exe (its name may vary)
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.
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?

It is not safe to open files (and/or website links) attached to irrelevant emails, especially if they are sent from some unknown, suspicious addresses. Cyber criminals often disguise their emails as important, official. Either way, email contents should be opened only when there is no reason to suspect that it is not safe/could lead to installation of some malware. Third party downloaders, installers and other channels that are mentioned in the previous paragraph can be used to proliferate malware. Therefore, software (and files) should be downloaded from official, trustworthy websites and via direct links. Installed programs must be updated and/or activated properly - by using tools or functions that are designed by their official developers. Unofficial tools can be (and often are) designed to cause installation of various malware. Besides, it is not legal to activate licensed programs with unofficial tools. Computers should be regularly scanned for threats with a reputable antivirus or anti-spyware software and detected threats have to be removed as soon as possible. If your computer is already infected with NEPHILIM, we recommend running a scan with Malwarebytes for Windows to automatically eliminate this ransomware.

Text presented in NEPHILIM ransomware's text file ("NEPHILIM-DECRYPT.txt"):

Two things have happened to your company.
============
All of your files have been encrypted with military grade algorithms.
The only way to retrieve your data is with our software.
Restoration of your data requires a private key which only we possess.
============
Information that we deemed valuable or sensitive was downloaded from your network to a secure location.
We can provide proof that your files have been extracted.
If you do not contact us we will start leaking the data periodically in parts.
============
To confirm that our decryption software works email to us 2 files from random computers.
You will receive further instructions after you send us the test files.
We will make sure you retrieve your data swiftly and securely and that your data is not leaked when our demands are met.
If we do not come to an agreement your data will be leaked on this website.
TOR link: hxxp://hxt254aygrsziejn.onion

Contact us via email:
Deanlivermore@protonmail.com
robertatravels@mail.com
Bernardocarlos@tutanota.com

NEPHILIM running in Task Manager as "weeli.exe" (its name may vary):

nephilim weeli.exe malicious process

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

Files encrypted by NEPHILIM ransomware (.NEPHILIM extension)

NEPHILIM ransomware removal:

Instant automatic malware removal: Manual threat removal might be a lengthy and complicated process that requires advanced computer skills. Malwarebytes is a professional automatic malware removal tool that is recommended to get rid of malware. Download it by clicking the button below:
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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 NEPHILIM 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 NEPHILIM 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 NEPHILIM 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 NEPHILIM 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 NEPHILIM, 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 NEPHILIM 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 NEPHILIM 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
NEPHILIM 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 NEPHILIM virus on your mobile device.
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