How to uninstall ZoNiSoNaL ransomware?

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

ZoNiSoNaL ransomware removal instructions

What is ZoNiSoNaL?

ZoNiSoNaL is a part of the Xorist ransomware family. It encrypts files and renames them by appending the ".ZoNiSoNaL" extension. For example, it renames a file named "1.jpg" to "1.jpg.ZoNiSoNaL", "2.jpg" to "2.jpg.ZoNiSoNaL", and so on. Also, it drops the "HOW TO DECRYPT FILES.txt" file, a ransom note in every folder that contains encrypted files and displays another ransom note in a pop-up window.

As stated in a ransom note, victims cannot decrypt files for free. They have do use a decryption key which costs 0.14 of Bitcoin. A ransom has to be paid by transferring the aforementioned amount of Bitcoin to the provided BTC wallet. After transaction victims have to contact ZoNiSoNaL's developers by writing them an email to zonis@gmx.com and wait for a decryption key, and instructions on how to use it. It is common that victims who pay cyber criminals a ransom get scammed. In other words, quite often cyber criminals do not send a decryption tool and/or key even after a payment. Therefore, neither ZoNiSoNaL's developers or other cyber criminals can be trusted. Unfortunately, there are no free tools (keys) that could decrypt data encrypted by ZoNiSoNaL, at least not at the moment. It is not uncommon that cyber criminals who designed ransomware are also the only one who have decryption tools. Usually, the only way to recover encrypted files for free is to restore them from a backup. It is worthwhile to mention that ransomware-type programs can be prevented from causing further encryptions by uninstalling them. Although, files remain encrypted even after their uninstallation.

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

ZoNiSoNaL decrypt instructions (HOW TO DECRYPT FILES.txt)

There is a great number of other programs that are classified as ransomware, a couple examples are QolkuzNbVcG, Zeronine and GlUTe. As a rule, they are designed to encrypt files and keep them inaccessible unless victims decrypt them with a tool and/or key that can be purchased only from their developers. Two main and most common variables are price of a decryption and encryption algorithm (symmetric or asymmetric) that ransomware uses to block victims from accessing their files. Victims can decrypt their files without having to buy decryption tools only when ransomware has some bugs, flaws (is not finished). Unfortunately, it happens quite rarely. Therefore, it is recommended to always have data backed up and keep it stored on some remote server or unplugged storage device.

How did ransomware infect my computer?

There are various ways to get tricked into installing ransomware or some other malware on the operating system. It is very common that cyber criminals attempt to trick users into infecting computers by using spam campaigns. They send emails that contain a website link designed to download some malicious file or a malicious attachment. Their main goal is to deceive recipient into opening a malicious file/attachment that, when opened, installs some malicious software. Some examples of files that cyber criminals attach to their emails are Microsoft Office, PDF documents, JavaScript files, executable files (like .exe and other files), and archive files like ZIP, RAR. Another way to distribute malware is by using unreliable file, software download channels. For example, unofficial pages, Peer-to-Peer networks (e.g., torrent clients, eMule), third party downloaders (and installers), free file hosting and freeware download pages. Users who use such channels risk to download malicious files that, when opened, would install malware. Unofficial activation ('cracking') tools that supposed to help users to bypass software activation often are designed to install malware too, the same applies to unofficial updating tools. Fake updaters download, install malicious programs instead of updates, fixes, or exploit bugs, flaws of some outdated software that is installed on the operating system. One more way to spread malware is through Trojans. Installed Trojans often are designed to install additional malware. However, it happens only when these malicious programs are already installed on the computers.

Threat Summary:
Name ZoNiSoNaL virus
Threat Type Ransomware, Crypto Virus, Files locker
Encrypted Files Extension .ZoNiSoNaL
Ransom Demanding Message HOW TO DECRYPT FILES.txt and pop-up window
Ransom Amount 0.14 of Bitcoin
BTC Wallet Address 1L2fbTgoSWKDhNp3cmXYFygd1fX2cF8YqJ
Cyber Criminal Contact zonis@gmx.com
Detection Names Avast (Win32:Dh-A [Heur]), BitDefender (Trojan.Ransom.AIG), ESET-NOD32 (A Variant Of Win32/Filecoder.Q), Kaspersky (Trojan-Ransom.Win32.Xorist.ln), 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.
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?

Software and files should be downloaded from official websites and through direct links. Other channels, tools that are mentioned in the previous paragraph can be and often are used to distribute malicious software, files. Installed software must be updated and activated only through tools and/or functions that are designed, provided by official developers. It is never safe to use third party updaters or activators. Besides, it is not legal to use unofficial activation programs as tools to activate licensed software. Attachments and website links in irrelevant emails that are received form unknown, suspicious addresses should not be opened. It is common that such emails are used to distribute malware. One more way to keep operating computers safe is to regularly scan them with a reputable antivirus or anti-spyware suite, always eliminate detected threats as soon as possible and keep security software up to date. If your computer is already infected with ZoNiSoNaL, we recommend running a scan with Malwarebytes for Windows to automatically eliminate this ransomware.

Text presented in ZoNiSoNaL's text file and pop-up window:

ATENTION!!!

 

I am truly sorry to inform you that all your important files are crypted.

 

Atention! I do not offer for free the decrypt key's, for that you have to pay 0.14 BITCOIN.

 

You can get bitcoin very easy on this site: www.localbitcoins.com
You have to create an account and to buy 0.14 BITCOIN from a seller located in your city.
Then you have to send the amount at this BTC adress: 1L2fbTgoSWKDhNp3cmXYFygd1fX2cF8YqJ

 

After that, contact me at this email adress: zonis@gmx.com
With this subject: KEYSIDFOR-NB0T1C40912341

After the payment you will receive the key's to decrypt your files and a tutorial

 

Here is another list where you can buy bitcoin:
hxxps://bitcoin.org/en/exchanges

Sceenshot of ZoNiSoNaL's pop-up window:

zonisonal ransom note pop-up window

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

Files encrypted by ZoNiSoNaL ransomware (.ZoNiSoNaL extension)

ZoNiSoNaL 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 ZoNiSoNaL 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 ZoNiSoNaL 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 ZoNiSoNaL 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 ZoNiSoNaL 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 ZoNiSoNaL, 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 ZoNiSoNaL 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 ZoNiSoNaL 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
ZoNiSoNaL virus QR code
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