How to remove SIGARETA ransomware?

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

SIGARETA ransomware removal instructions

What is SIGARETA?

SIGARETA is one of the malicious programs that belong to the NEFILIM ransomware family, this particular ransomware was discovered by GrujaRS. Typically, malware of this type encrypts victim's files, modifies their filenames and creates and/or displays a ransom note. SIGARETA renames encrypted files by appending the ".SIGARETA" extension to their filenames. For example, it renames "1.jpg" to "1.jpg.SIGARETA", "2.jpg" to "2.jpg.SIGARETA", and so on. Instructions on how to contact cyber criminals behind SIGARETA can be found in "SIGARETA-RESTORE.txt" text file/ransom note.

As stated in a ransom note, SIGARETA encrypts files with military grade algorithms and the only way retrieve files is to decrypt them with a certain software and private key that can be purchased from SIGARETA's developers. In order to receive instructions on how to pay for decryption tools victims supposed to write an email to DineshSchwartz1965@protonmail.com, RupertMariner1958@protonmail.com or StephanForenzzo1985@protonmail.com, an email can include two encrypted files. Cyber criminals behind this ransomware offer to decrypt them for free. Additionally, victims are warned that if they will not contact SIGARETA's developers, then their data will be leaked on/uploaded to hxxp://corpleaks.net and hxx://hxt254aygrsziejn.onion websites. Unfortunately, there are no other tools that could decrypt files that are encrypted by SIGARETA, at least not at the moment. Nevertheless, it is strongly recommended not to pay its developers a ransomware, there is high possibility that they will not send the promised decryption tools even after a payment. Typically, the only way to avoid getting scammed and recover files for free is to restore them from a backup. Also, files that were not encrypted by ransomware can be prevented from being encrypted by uninstalling that malware from a computer. Although, encrypted files remain encrypted even when ransomware is no longer installed.

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

SIGARETA decrypt instructions (SIGARETA-RESTORE.txt)

SIGARETA is quite similar to most of the other programs of this type, for example, VIVELAG, Space and !Shadow. Most of them are designed to encrypt data (prevent victims from accessing files) and keep it inaccessible unless victims pay a ransom. Typically, two main and most common variables are price of a decryption tool and/or key and cryptographic algorithm (symmetric or asymmetric) that ransomware uses to encrypt data. Unfortunately, it is impossible to decrypt files for free only if ransomware is has some bugs, flaws, it is not finished and it does not happen often. Therefore, it is recommended to always have data backed up and store it on a remote server like Cloud and/or unplugged storage device.

How did ransomware infect my computer?

Usually ransomware and other malicious software is distributed through spam campaigns, Trojans, untrustworthy software download channels, software 'cracking' tools and fake software updaters. One of the most common ways to trick users into installing malware is to send emails that contain malicious attachments (or web links that are designed to download malicious files). Cyber criminals attach malicious Microsoft Office documents, archive files (like ZIP, RAR), executable files (like .exe), PDF documents and JavaScript files and hope that recipients will open them. When opened, those files infect operating system with malware. Trojans are malicious programs that, if installed, may open backdoors for other malware. Simply said, malware of this type often is designed to cause chain infections by installing other malware. Untrustworthy software download channels like free file hosting, freeware download websites, Peer-to-Peer networks (like torrent clients, eMule), unofficial pages, etc., can be used to distribute malicious programs too. It is common that such channels are used to distribute, host malicious files that are disguised as legitimate, harmless. When users download and open them, they install of malware by themselves. Software 'cracking'  (unofficial activation) tools are programs that some users use to activate licensed software for free. Although, it is not legal and they often are designed to install some malware. Fake software updaters infect systems by exploiting vulnerabilities of outdated software that is installed on the operating system or by simply installing malicious software instead of updates, fixes.

Threat Summary:
Name SIGARETA virus
Threat Type Ransomware, Crypto Virus, Files locker
Encrypted Files Extension .SIGARETA
Ransom Demanding Message SIGARETA-RESTORE.txt
Cyber Criminal Contact DineshSchwartz1965@protonmail.com, RupertMariner1958@protonmail.com, StephanForenzzo1985@protonmail.com
Detection Names Arcabit (Trojan.Trickbot.3), BitDefender (Gen:Heur.Trickbot.3), ESET-NOD32 (A Variant Of Win32/Filecoder.Nemty.G), Kaspersky (Trojan-Ransom.Win32.Cryptor.dki), 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.
Additional Information Cyber criminals threaten to publish files if victims will ignore them
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?

Links and files in irrelevant emails should not be opened, especially if such emails are received from unknown, suspicious addresses. It is important to be sure that it is safe to open email contents before doing so. Furthermore, it is strongly recommend to download software only from official websites and through direct links. None of the other channels that we mentioned above (unofficial pages, third party downloaders, Peer-to-Peer networks, etc.) can be trusted. Third party installers should not be used as well. Furthermore, installed programs and operating system must be activated and/or updated only through implemented functions (or tools) that are provided by official software developers. Third party, unofficial tools often are designed to distribute malware. Also, it is not legal to bypass activation of licensed software with such tools. One more way to computers safe is to scan them for viruses regularly, it should be done by using reputable antivirus or anti-spyware software. If your computer is already infected with SIGARETA, we recommend running a scan with Malwarebytes for Windows to automatically eliminate this ransomware.

Text presented in SIGARETA ransomware's text file ("SIGARETA-RESTORE.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.

 

Website: hxxp://corpleaks.net
TOR link: hxxp://hxt254aygrsziejn.onion

 

Contact us via email:
DineshSchwartz1965@protonmail.com
RupertMariner1958@protonmail.com
StephanForenzzo1985@protonmail.com

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

Files encrypted by SIGARETA ransomware (.SIGARETA extension)

SIGARETA 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 SIGARETA 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 SIGARETA 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 SIGARETA 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 SIGARETA 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 SIGARETA, 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 SIGARETA 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 SIGARETA 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
SIGARETA virus QR code
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