How to uninstall Egregor ransomware?

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

Egregor ransomware removal instructions

What is Egregor?

Egregor belongs to the family of ransomware called Sekhmet. It appends a string or random characters as the new extension of each encrypted file. For example, it renames a file named "1.jpg" to "1.jpg.JhWeA", "2.jpg" to "2.jpg.JhWeA", and so on. Also, Egregor creates the "RECOVER-FILES.txt" text file/ransom note in all folders that contain encrypted files.

As explained in the "RECOVER-FILES.txt" text file, Egregor locks computers and servers, and downloads data. Victims have to contact its developers within three days, otherwise their data will be published. Cyber criminals behind Egregor can be contacted through the provided websites with live chat (one of the websites can be opened only with the Tor browser, another one is accessible with all browsers). At the time of the research Egregor's developers demanded $1,2000,000 for data recovery, however, different victims may be asked to pay different amount of ransom. Unfortunately, there are no third party tools that could decrypt files encrypted by Egregor. Most of the times cyber criminals behind ransomware are the only ones who have a decryption software and/or key that can decrypt files that are encrypted by it. However, it is not recommended to trust cyber criminals/pay them a ransom. Very often victims who pay it get scammed - they do not receive any decryption tools even after a transaction. Typically, the only way to recover files for free is to restore them from a backup. Also, victims can prevent installed ransomware from encrypting unencrypted files by uninstalling it. However, it does not make already encrypted files accessible, they remain encrypted.

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

Egregor decrypt instructions (RECOVER-FILES.txt)

More examples of malware of this type are ExecutorV3, JB88 and Copa. As a rule, it is designed to encrypt data and to display and/or generate some ransom note with instructions on how to contact its developers and/or other details. Most common and main differences are price of a decryption and the cryptographic algorithm (symmetric or asymmetric) that is used to encrypt victim's data. Unfortunately, most of the times these programs encrypt files with strong encryption algorithms and it is impossible to decrypt files without the right tools that only cyber criminals have. It is possible to decrypt them without their tools only if ransomware has bugs, flaws, it is not finished. Since it does not happen often, it is recommended to always have data backed up and keep it stored on a remote server or unplugged storage device.

How did ransomware infect my computer?

In most cases cyber criminals try to deceive users into installing ransomware (and other malware) by using malspam campaigns, Trojans, fake software updating tools, software 'cracking' tools and untrustworthy software download sources. They use malspam campaigns to trick users into infecting systems through malicious attachments or links designed to download malicious files. Usually they send emails that contain malicious Microsoft Office or PDF documents, archive files like ZIP, RAR, executable files like .exe, or JavaScript files. When executed, those attachments install malicious software. Trojans can infect systems only when they are already installed. There are certain Trojans that can install other malicious programs. Fake (unofficial) software updating tools can be designed either to install malware instead of the updates, fixes for installed software, or exploit bugs, flaws of outdated software that is installed on a computer. Tools that supposed to illegally activate licensed software for free cause damage in a similar way. Instead of activating installed software 'cracking' tools install malicious one. Free file hosting, freeware download websites, Peer-to-Peer networks (e.g., torrent clients, eMule) third party downloaders, unofficial pages and other similar download sources often are used as tools to distribute malware too. It gets installed when users open malicious files that were downloaded through the aforementioned (and similar) sources. Typically, malicious files there are disguised as legitimate, regular.

Threat Summary:
Name Egregor virus
Threat Type Ransomware, Crypto Virus, Files locker
Encrypted Files Extension Random extension (e.g., ".JhWeA")
Ransom Demanding Message RECOVER-FILES.txt
Ransom Amount $1,2000,000 (it may vary)
Cyber Criminal Contact Live chat on the provided websites
Detection Names Avast (Win32:CrypterX-gen [Trj]), BitDefender (Gen:Variant.Zusy.313821), ESET-NOD32 (A Variant Of Win32/Kryptik.HEDE), Microsoft (Trojan:Win32/Ymacco.AAAE), 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)

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How to protect yourself from ransomware infections?

Files and programs should be downloaded only from official websites and via direct download links. Other sources that are mentioned in the paragraph above can be used to distribute unwanted, malicious programs. Therefore, they should not be trusted/used. Various attachments and/or website links in irrelevant emails that are sent from unknown, suspicious addresses should not be opened without being sure that it is completely safe. Installed software (and operating system) must be updated with tools and/or implemented functions that are provided/designed by its official developers. Other, third party activation and/or updating tools should not be used neither to activate or update any installed software. Additionally, it is not legal to activate licensed programs with them. And finally, a computer should be regularly scanned for threats with a reputable antivirus or anti-spyware suite, that suite should be always up to date. If your computer is already infected with Egregor, we recommend running a scan with Malwarebytes for Windows to automatically eliminate this ransomware.

Appearance of the "RECOVER-FILES.txt" text file (GIF):

egregor ransom note appearance

Text presented in this file:

------------------
| What happened? |
------------------

Your network was ATTACKED, your computers and servers were LOCKED,
Your private data was DOWNLOADED.

----------------------
| What does it mean? |
----------------------

It means that soon mass media, your partners and clients WILL KNOW about your PROBLEM.

--------------------------
| How it can be avoided? |
--------------------------

In order to avoid this issue,
you are to COME IN TOUCH WITH US no later than within 3 DAYS and conclude the data recovery and breach fixing AGREEMENT.

-------------------------------------------
| What if I do not contact you in 3 days? |
-------------------------------------------

If you do not contact us in the next 3 DAYS we will begin DATA publication.

-----------------------------
| I can handle it by myself |
-----------------------------

It is your RIGHT, but in this case all your data will be published for public USAGE.

-------------------------------
| I do not fear your threats! |
-------------------------------

That is not the threat, but the algorithm of our actions.
If you have hundreds of millions of UNWANTED dollars, there is nothing to FEAR for you.
That is the EXACT AMOUNT of money you will spend for recovery and payouts because of PUBLICATION.

--------------------------
| You have convinced me! |
--------------------------

Then you need to CONTACT US, there is few ways to DO that.

I. Recommended (the most secure method)

   a) Download a special TOR browser: hxxps://www.torproject.org/
   b) Install the TOR browser
   c) Open our website with LIVE CHAT in the TOR browser: hxxp://egregor4u5ipdzhv.onion/A804640A8E2CA2F2
   d) Follow the instructions on this page.

II. If the first method is not suitable for you
 
   a) Open our website with LIVE CHAT: hxxps://egregor.top/A804640A8E2CA2F2
   b) Follow the instructions on this page.

Our LIVE SUPPORT is ready to ASSIST YOU on this website.

----------------------------------------
| What will I get in case of agreement |
----------------------------------------

You WILL GET full DECRYPTION of your machines in the network, FULL FILE LISTING of downloaded data,
confirmation of downloaded data DELETION from our servers, RECOMMENDATIONS for securing your network perimeter.

And the FULL CONFIDENTIALITY ABOUT INCIDENT.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Do not redact this special technical block, we need this to authorize you.
---EGREGOR---
-
---EGREGOR--

Screenshot of the Egregor's Tor website:

egregor tor website

Text in this website:

Egregor
Greetings
We have hacked your network, downloaded and encrypted your data.
You can recover your data and prevent data leakage to public.
Please upload your note RECOVER-FILES.txt using the form below and start recovering your data.
After you upload note, you will be provided with further instructions.

Screenshot of Egregor's live chat:

egregor tor chat

Text in this chat:

Instructions
Buy bitcoins

 

To recover your data and prevent leakage to public, you must pay in bitcoins.
Your current price must be discussed in chat.
Contact us in chat and we give you further details.
The information on how to buy bitcoins is written under the Buy Bitcoins tab.
Support chat
14:23:05 26-09-2020    You    
file: RECOVER-FILES.txt
Support    17:30:04 26-09-2020    
Price for you is $1,200,000. We have downloaded a lot of critical data, which will be published on our news website if you do not make a payment. After the payment we will decrypt all your systems, give you listing of files that we have taken, remove data from our servers and give you proofs of deletion. Also we will provide you with security report, so you can fix all your vulnerabilities and be safe again. We are ready to talk to you and discuss on this matter.
Support    17:31:50 26-09-2020
What chat do you prefer for further conversation?

Screenshot of files encrypted by Egregor (random extension):

Files encrypted by Egregor ransomware (.JhWeA extension)

Egregor ransomware removal:

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Quick menu:

Isolating the infected device:

Some ransomware-type infections are designed to encrypt files within external storage devices, infect them, and even spread throughout the entire local network. For this reason, it is very important to isolate the infected device (computer) as soon as possible.

Step 1: Disconnect from the internet.

The easiest way to disconnect a computer from the internet is to unplug the Ethernet cable from the motherboard, however, some devices are connected via a wireless network and for some users (especially those who are not particularly tech-savvy), disconnecting cables may seem troublesome. Therefore, you can also disconnect the system manually via Control Panel:

Navigate to the "Control Panel", click the search bar in the upper-right corner of the screen, enter "Network and Sharing Center" and select search result: Disconnecting computer from the Internet (step 1)

Click the "Change adapter settings" option in the upper-left corner of the window: Disconnecting computer from the Internet (step 2)

Right-click on each connection point and select "Disable". Once disabled, the system will no longer be connected to the internet. To re-enable the connection points, simply right-click again and select "Enable". Disconnecting computer from the Internet (step 3)

Step 2: Unplug all storage devices.

As mentioned above, ransomware might encrypt data and infiltrate all storage devices that are connected to the computer. For this reason, all external storage devices (flash drives, portable hard drives, etc.) should be disconnected immediately, however, we strongly advise you to eject each device before disconnecting to prevent data corruption:

Navigate to "My Computer", right-click on each connected device and select "Eject": Ejecting external storage devices

Step 3: Log-out of cloud storage accounts.

Some ransomware-type might be able to hijack software that handles data stored within "the Cloud". Therefore, the data could be corrupted/encrypted. For this reason, you should log-out of all cloud storage accounts within browsers and other related software. You should also consider temporarily uninstalling the cloud-management software until the infection is completely removed.

Identify the ransomware infection:

To properly handle an infection, one must first identify it. Some ransomware infections use ransom-demand messages as an introduction (see the WALDO ransomware text file below).

Identify ransomware-type infection (step 1)

This, however, is rare. In most cases, ransomware infections deliver more direct messages simply stating that data is encrypted and that victims must pay some sort of ransom. Note that ransomware-type infections typically generate messages with different file names (for example, "_readme.txt", "READ-ME.txt", "DECRYPTION_INSTRUCTIONS.txt", "DECRYPT_FILES.html", etc.). Therefore, using the name of a ransom message may seem like a good way to identify the infection. The problem is that most of these names are generic and some infections use the same names, even though the delivered messages are different and the infections themselves are unrelated. Therefore, using the message filename alone can be ineffective and even lead to permanent data loss (for example, by attempting to decrypt data using tools designed for different ransomware infections, users are likely to end up permanently damaging files and decryption will no longer be possible even with the correct tool).

Another way to identify a ransomware infection is to check the file extension, which is appended to each encrypted file. Ransomware infections are often named by the extensions they append (see files encrypted by Qewe ransomware below).

Identify ransomware-type infection (step 2)

This method is only effective, however, when the appended extension is unique - many ransomware infections append a generic extension (for example, ".encrypted", ".enc", ".crypted", ".locked", etc.). In these cases, identifying ransomware by its appended extension becomes impossible.

One of the easiest and quickest ways to identify a ransomware infection is to use the ID Ransomware website. This service supports most existing ransomware infections. Victims simply upload a ransom message and/or one encrypted file (we advise you to upload both if possible).

Identify ransomware-type infection (step 3)

The ransomware will be identified within seconds and you will be provided with various details, such as the name of the malware family to which the infection belongs, whether it is decryptable, and so on.

Example 1 (Qewe [Stop/Djvu] ransomware):

Identify ransomware-type infection (step 4)

Example 2 (.iso [Phobos] ransomware):

Identify ransomware-type infection (step 5)

If your data happens to be encrypted by a ransomware that is not supported by ID Ransomware, you can always try searching the internet by using certain keywords (for example, ransom message title, file extension, provided contact emails, cryptowallet addresses, etc.).

Search for ransomware decryption tools:

Encryption algorithms used by most ransomware-type infections are extremely sophisticated and, if the encryption is performed properly, only the developer is capable of restoring data. This is because decryption requires a specific key, which is generated during the encryption. Restoring data without the key is impossible. In most cases, cyber criminals store keys on a remote server, rather than using the infected machine as a host. Dharma (CrySis), Phobos, and other families of high-end ransomware infections are virtually flawless, and thus restoring data encrypted without the developers' involvement is simply impossible. Despite this, there are dozens of ransomware-type infections that are poorly developed and contain a number of flaws (for example, the use of identical encryption/decryption keys for each victim, keys stored locally, etc.). Therefore, always check for available decryption tools for any ransomware that infiltrates your computer.

Finding the correct decryption tool on the internet can be very frustrating. For this reason, we recommend that you use the No More Ransom Project and this is where identifying the ransomware infection is useful. The No More Ransom Project website contains a "Decryption Tools" section with a search bar. Enter the name of the identified ransomware, and all available decryptors (if there are any) will be listed.

Searching for ransomware decryption tools in nomoreransom.org website

Restore files with data recovery tools:

Depending on the situation (quality of ransomware infection, type of encryption algorithm used, etc.), restoring data with certain third-party tools might be possible. Therefore, we advise you to use EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard Pro. This tool supports over a thousand data types (graphics, video, audio, documents, etc.) and it is very intuitive (little knowledge is necessary to recover data).

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EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard Pro

By downloading any software listed on this website you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. Trial version of EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard Pro is capable of scanning drives and listing recoverable files - to restore them, you must purchase a license.

Step 1: Perform a scan.

Hover your mouse over the partition you wish to scan and select "Scan". You can also select a specific folder, or click shortcut icons to scan the Desktop or Recycle Bin: Scanning the storage drive with EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard PRO (step 1)

Wait for EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard Pro to complete the scan. The scanning duration depends on the volume of files (both in quantity and size) that you are scanning (for example, several hundreds gigabytes could take over an hour to scan). Therefore, be patient during the scanning process. We also advise against modifying or deleting existing files, since this might interfere with the scan. If you add additional data (for example, downloading files/content) while scanning, this will prolong the process: Scanning the storage drive with EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard PRO (step 2)

Step 2: Recover data.

Once the process is complete, select the folders/files you wish to restore and simply click "Recover". Note that some free space on your storage drive is necessary to restore data. Note also that the trial version of EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard Pro is only capable of scanning drives and listing recoverable files - to restore them, you must purchase a license: Recovering data with EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard Pro

Step 3: Save the scan session (optional).

We recommend that you save the scanning session once you have completed recovery, in case you decide to recover additional files later. Simply click the "Save Scan Session" icon in the upper-right corner of the screen and choose the location for the file to be saved. This will save a lot of time, since you will not need to re-scan the storage drive the next time you wish to restore something. Bear in mind, however, that data removed after the scanning session has finished will not be listed: Saving scan session in EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard Pro

Create data backups:

Proper file management and creating backups is essential for data security. Therefore, always be very careful and think ahead.

Partition management: We recommend that you store your data in multiple partitions and avoid storing important files within the partition that contains the entire operating system. If you fall into a situation whereby you cannot boot the system and are forced to format the disk on which the operating system is installed (in most cases, this is where malware infections hide), you will lose all data stored within that drive. This is the advantage of having multiple partitions: if you have the entire storage device assigned to a single partition, you will be forced to delete everything, however, creating multiple partitions and allocating the data properly allows you to prevent such problems. You can easily format a single partition without affecting the others - therefore, one will be cleaned and the others will remain untouched, and your data will be saved. Managing partitions is quite simple and you can find all necessary information on Microsoft's documentation web page.

Data backups: The most reliable backup method is to use an external storage device and keep it unplugged. Copy your data to an external hard drive, flash (thumb) drive, SSD, HDD, or any other storage device, unplug it and store it in a dry place away from sun and extreme temperatures. This method is, however, quite inefficient, since data backups and updates need to be made regularly. You can also use a cloud service or remote server. Here, an internet connection is required and there is always the chance of a security breach. Therefore, you should consider using an application to create data backups locally.

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EaseUS Todo Backup

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We recommend using the EaseUS Todo Backup application. The "Home" edition of EaseUS Todo Backup is usually more than adequate for regular users, however, the "Business" edition is more suitable for companies and large computer networks. The EaseUS Todo Backup application provides extensive data protection features. You can easily create backups, and encrypt and compress them for enhanced protection and storage saving purposes. It also allows you to set backup schedules, create bootable devices, and restore the system if a crash occurs. You can easily choose where to store the created backup: locally; uploaded to an external drive; FTP; cloud storage, or elsewhere. In summary, EaseUS Todo Backup is an all-in-one tool, which provides all features required to properly backup your data.

Creating a data backup:

The backup process is virtually identical regardless of the item (file, partition, entire system) you wish to backup. Taking the File Backup feature as an example:

Step 1: Choose which item to backup.

Click on the "Menu" icon in the upper-left corner of the screen to reveal the menu and select "File Backup": Creating data backups with EaseUS Todo Backup tool (step 1)

Select the files you want to backup. You can also enter a name and description of the backup that will be created: Creating data backups with EaseUS Todo Backup tool (step 2)

Step 2: Change the default settings.

The EaseUS Todo Backup application provides a variety of additional options that can be added/modified while creating the backup. For example, you can encrypt data (add a password), select the compression rate (how much the backup should be compressed), performance (how many system resources should be allocated), add an email notification (you receive an email once the process is complete) and so on.

To open the options window, click the "Backup options" button in the lower-left corner of the screen: Creating data backups with EaseUS Todo Backup tool (step 3)

Select the settings you want to change and click "Save". You can also reset your changes by clicking "Reset to initial settings": Creating data backups with EaseUS Todo Backup tool (step 4)

Step 3: Select the backup destination.

As mentioned above, EaseUS Todo Backup allows you to choose where backups are saved - locally or externally.

Click the "Browse..." button and select the location you want the backup to be saved: Creating data backups with EaseUS Todo Backup tool (step 5)

Step 4: Safety measures and process completion.

Depending on the location you have chosen, there are a number of measures you should or should not take. If you are uploading to an internet-connected location (for example, Cloud storage, FTP, etc.), be sure to maintain your internet connection, otherwise you will have to start again. The same applies to external storage devices - do not unplug them until the process is complete.

The progress bar displays estimated time remaining until completion. Large backups (hundreds of gigabytes) can take hours to create (depending on storage device speed, internet connection, etc.). Therefore, the application also allows you to optionally choose what the system should do (shut down, sleep or hibernate) once the process has finished: Creating data backups with EaseUS Todo Backup tool (step 6)

The best way to avoid damage from ransomware infections is to maintain regular up-to-date backups.

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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Egregor virus QR code
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