How to uninstall Covm ransomware?

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

Covm ransomware removal instructions

What is Covm?

Covm belongs to the ransomware family called Djvu. It encrypts files, changes their filenames and creates a ransom note. Covm renames files by appending the ".covm" extension to their filenames, for example, it renames "1.jpg" to "1.jpg.covm", "2.jpg" to "2.jpg.covm", and so on. It creates a ransom note named "_readme.txt" and drops it in all folders that contain encrypted data.

As explained in the "_readme.txt" ransom note, victims can encrypt their files with a decryption tool and unique key that can be purchased either for $980 or $490. Their price depends on how fast victims contact Covm's developers which can be done by writing an email to helpmanager@mail.ch or restoremanager@firemail.cc address. An email has to include the assigned ID. It is stated that it is impossible to decrypt data encrypted by Covm without tools that can be purchased only from its developers. Unfortunately, it is true. It is common that victims do not receive decryption tools even if they had paid 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 files that were not encrypted by installed ransomware can be protected from being encrypted later by uninstalling it. Although, files that are already encrypted remain encrypted even after its uninstallation.

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

Covm decrypt instructions (_readme.txt)

Some more examples of malware that is classified as ransomware too are Koti, BANG and Black Kingdom. As a rule, software of this type encrypts victim's data and creates (and/or displays) a ransom note containing instructions on how to contact its developers, pay a ransom and/or other information. Two most common and main variables are price of a decryption tool and/or key, and encryption algorithm (symmetric or asymmetric) that ransomware uses for data encryption. Unfortunately, it is possible to decrypt files encrypted by ransomware without tools that can be purchased only from cyber criminals when ransomware has some bugs, flaws, is not finished, and it does not happen often. Therefore, it is recommended to always have a data backup backed keep it stored on some remote server and/or unplugged storage device.

How did ransomware infect my computer?

In most cases computers get infected with various malicious programs through spam campaigns, fake, unofficial software updaters, Trojans, untrustworthy software download channels and unofficial software activation ('cracking') tools. It is common that users get tricked into installing malware by opening attachments (or web links that are designed to download malicious files) that cyber criminals send via email. Usually, they attach malicious Microsoft Office documents, JavaScript files, archives (like ZIP, RAR), PDF documents, executables (.exe files), etc., and attempt to trick recipients into opening them. When opened, those files infect computers with malware. Fake (unofficial) software updating tools often are designed to install malicious programs instead of updates, fixes, or exploit bugs, flaws of outdated software that is already installed on a computer. Therefore, it is common that by using them people unknowingly install malicious software. Trojans are malicious programs that can be designed to distribute (install) other software of this kind. However, it happens only when a computer is already infected with a Trojan. Third party downloaders, free file hosting, freeware download websites, Peer-to-Peer networks (like torrent clients, eMule, and so on) and other download channels of this kind are often used to proliferate malware too. Computers get infected when users execute downloaded malicious files. It is common that those files are disguised as legitimate, regular. Programs that supposed to activate licensed software for free (bypass its activation) often install malicious software instead of activating installed software.

Threat Summary:
Name Covm virus
Threat Type Ransomware, Crypto Virus, Files locker
Detection Names AVG (FileRepMalware), BitDefender (Trojan.GenericKDZ.67323), ESET-NOD32 (A Variant Of Win32/Kryptik.HDNW), Kaspersky (Trojan.Win32.Miner.astla), Full List Of Detections (VirusTotal)
Encrypted Files Extension .covm
Ransom Demanding Message _readme.txt
Ransom Amount $980/$490
Cyber Criminal Contact helpmanager@mail.ch, restoremanager@firemail.cc
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.
▼ Download Malwarebytes
To use full-featured product, you have to purchase a license for Malwarebytes. 14 days free trial available.

How to protect yourself from ransomware infections?

In order to keep computer safe, it is recommended to avoid opening email attachments without being sure that it is safe. If received email contains some attachment or website link, it is sent from unknown, suspicious address and seems to be irrelevant, then it should be ignored. Another important thing is to download software only from official, trustworthy websites and through direct links. Various third party downloaders, installers , Peer-to-Peer networks and other download, installation channels are often used to distribute malware. Additionally, installed software must be update and activated (if necessary) through implemented functions or tools that are provided by the official developers. Third party tools should never be used for that, besides, it is not even legal to activate licensed software with various unofficial ('cracking') tools. One more recommendation is to scan a computer for threats regularly and do that with a reputable antivirus or anti-spyware software. If your computer is already infected with Covm, we recommend running a scan with Malwarebytes for Windows to automatically eliminate this ransomware.

Text presented in Covm 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-28bBaI3ZOZ
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:
helpmanager@mail.ch

Reserve e-mail address to contact us:
restoremanager@firemail.cc

Your personal ID:
-

Screenshot of files encrypted by Covm (".covm" extension):

Files encrypted by Covm ransomware (.covm extension)

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

Fake Windows pop-up displayed by Covm 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

Covm 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:
▼ DOWNLOAD Malwarebytes By downloading any software listed on this website you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. To use full-featured product, you have to purchase a license for Malwarebytes. 14 days free trial available.

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 Covm 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 Covm 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 Covm 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 Covm 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 Covm, 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 Covm 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 Covm 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.

Our malware removal guides are free. However, if you want to support us you can send us a donation.

Malware activity

Global malware activity level today:

Medium threat activity

Increased attack rate of infections detected within the last 24 hours.

QR Code
Covm 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 Covm virus on your mobile device.
We Recommend:

Get rid of Windows malware infections today:

▼ REMOVE IT NOW
Download Malwarebytes

Platform: Windows

Editors' Rating for Malwarebytes:
Editors ratingOutstanding!

[Back to Top]

To use full-featured product, you have to purchase a license for Malwarebytes. 14 days free trial available.