How to remove Black Kingdom / GAmmAWare ransomware from the system?

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

Black Kingdom ransomware removal instructions

What is the Black Kingdom ransomware?

Black Kingdom, also known as GAmmAWare is a malicious program, classified as ransomware. Systems infected with this malware experience data encryption and receive ransom demands for the decryption tools. As Black Kingdom encrypts, the filenames of affected files are appended with the ".DEMON" extension. For example, a file originally named something like "1.jpg" would appear as "1.jpg.DEMON" - following encryption. Once this process is complete a ransom note is created in a full-screen pop-up window and in "README.txt" text files, which are dropped into compromised folders.

The ransom-demanding message (in the pop-up window and "README.txt" files) informs victims that they have been attacked by the GAmmA Group and reassures them that it is possible to recover their data. It is clarified that the files have been encrypted and to restore them, users need to purchase a decryption key from the cyber criminals behind the infection. Decryption will not be available indefinitely and the note states that the necessary arrangements must be made (i.e. the ransom paid) within ten hours. The size of the demanded payment is 0.052 BTC (Bitcoin cryptocurrency), at the current exchange rate worth approximately 500 USD (note, exchange rates constantly fluctuate). After this sum is transferred to the criminals' cryptowallet, victims are instructed to write to the provided emails address - within the letter indicating their IP address / hostname and the transaction ID. Unfortunately, in most cases of ransomware infections, without involvement of the cyber criminals responsible - decryption is impossible. It might be, if the malicious program has significant bugs (flaws) and/or is still in development. Whatever the case, it is expressly advised against meeting the ransom demands. Since often, despite paying - users do not receive the promised decryption tools. Therefore, they experience financial loss and their data remains encrypted, which is virtually the same as being permanently damaged. To prevent Black Kingdom malware from further encryptions, it must be eliminated from the operating system. However, removal will not restore already affected files. The only viable solution is recovering them from a backup, if one was made before the attack and was stored in a different location.

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

Black Kingdom decrypt instructions (pop-up)

Typically, ransomware operates by encrypting data for the purpose of making ransom demands for the decryption tools/software. Cov19, DragonCyber, Qensvlcbymk and Eking are a few examples of malicious programs within this category. There are two main differences between them - the cryptographic algorithm they use (symmetric or asymmetric) and size of the demanded payment. The latter tends to vary between three and four digit sums (in USD), especially when leveraged against average users. Cyber criminals usually demand the ransoms to be paid in digital currencies (e.g. cryptocurrencies, pre-paid vouchers, etc.), due to transactions of such being difficult/impossible to trace. To avoid permanent data loss, it is strongly recommended to keep backups in unplugged storage devices and/or remote servers (ideally, in several different locations).

How did ransomware infect my computer?

Ransomware and other malware are primarily distributed through spam campaigns, trojans, illegal activation tools ("cracks"), illegitimate updates and untrustworthy download sources. Large scale operations called "spam campaigns" are used to send thousands of scam emails. These letters are typically presented as "official", "urgent", "priority" and so on. They contain malicious content in the form of download links and/or attachments. Such virulent files can be in various formats (e.g. archive and executable files, PDF and Microsoft Office documents, JavaScript, etc.) and when they are executed, run or otherwise opened - the infection process is triggered (i.e. malware download/installation begins). Trojans are malicious programs, some types of which are capable of causing chain infections. Illegal activation ("cracking") can download/install malicious software instead of activating licensed product. Fake updaters cause infections by exploiting weaknesses of outdated products and/or simply install malware, rather than the promised updates. Dubious download channels, like: unofficial and free file-hosting sites, Peer-to-Peer sharing networks and other third party downloaders - can offer malware for downloading, disguised as or bundled with ordinary content.

Threat Summary:
Name GAmmAWare virus
Threat Type Ransomware, Crypto Virus, Files locker
Encrypted Files Extension .DEMON
Ransom Demanding Message Text presented in the full-screen pop-up window and README.txt
Ransom Amount 0.052 BTC (Bitcoin cryptocurrency)
Cyber Criminal Contact Cryptowallet Address 1sd2WD1fEJnUPkGgfTEciWENKtLeUGMQe (Bitcoin)
Cyber Criminal Contact GAmmA37@protonmail.ch
Detection Names AVG (FileRepMalware), BitDefender (Trojan.GenericKD.43142296), ESET-NOD32 (Python/Filecoder.CL), Kaspersky (HEUR:Trojan.Win32.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.
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?

To avoid malware infections spread via spam campaigns, it is advised not to open suspicious and/or irrelevant emails, especially any attachments or links found in them. Additionally, all downloads must be done from official and verified sources. It is recommended to always activate and update products with tools/functions provided by legitimate developers, as illegal activation tools ("cracks") and third party updaters are commonly used to proliferate malware. To protect device integrity and user safety, it is paramount to have a dependable anti-virus/anti-spyware suite installed. This software is to be kept updated, used to perform regular system scans and to remove detected/potential threats. If your computer is already infected with Black Kingdom, we recommend running a scan with Malwarebytes for Windows to automatically eliminate this ransomware.

Text presented in Black Kingdom ransomware's ransom note:

Tango Down B**ch!

 

Seems like you got hit by GAmmA Group!

 

Don't Panic, you get to have your files back!

 

GAmmAWare uses a basic encryption script to lock your files.
This type of ransomware is known as CRYPTO.
You'll need a decryption key to unlock your files.

 

Your files will be deleted when the timer runs out, so you better hurry.
You have 10 hours to find your key!

 

Payment is accepted with Bitcoin only, Or Google [How to buy Bitcoin]
Payment 0.052 BTC to: 1sd2WD1fEJnUPkGgfTEciWENKtLeUGMQe  
After Payment is confirmed Please Email: GAmmA37@protonmail.ch with your IP/hostname & BTC transaction ID to receive your decryption key.

 

Kind regards,

 

GAmmA GrouP

Screenshot of Black Kingdom's text file ("README.txt"):

Black Kingdom ransomware text file (README.txt)

Screenshot of files encrypted by Black Kingdom (".DEMON" extension):

Files encrypted by Black Kingdom ransomware (.DEMON extension)

Black Kingdom 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 Black Kingdom 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 Black Kingdom 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 Black Kingdom 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 Black Kingdom 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 Black Kingdom, 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 Black Kingdom 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 Black Kingdom 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.

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GAmmAWare virus QR code
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