Ransomware Removal : An Overview
Ransomware is a type of malicious software that encrypts your system’s files and holds them hostage until you pay a ransom. In many cases, the attacker uses a Trojan virus to penetrate your system.
Below is a basic breakdown of how to remove ransomware. The steps also work if you are looking to learn how to remove ransomware from a server.
Step 1: Cut Off Internet Access
First, remove all internet connections, both physical and virtual, including wireless and wired gadgets, external hard drives, all forms of storage media, and cloud accounts. This can stop malware from spreading throughout the network.
Step 2: Investigate Using Your Internet Security Software
Use an internet security program to run a virus scan. Once it identifies threats, quarantine or delete any dangerous files. With antivirus software, you may either manually delete harmful files or have the program do it for you. Only experienced computer professionals should manually mitigate a ransomware infection.
Step 3: Use a Ransomware Decryption Tool
You will need a suitable decryption tool if the ransomware has encrypted your files. If you have identified which ransomware has attacked your system, you can contact a security expert and see if they have any tools available. Decryption tools are often offered free of charge.
Step 4: Restore from a Backup
Use a data backup that has not yet been encrypted by ransomware. Cleaning and repairing your computer is far more difficult without backups, so make it a priority to establish a backup system as soon as possible. Frequently create backups to prevent reverting to one that is so old it is missing critical data. You can also opt for cloud backup services, which can refresh your backups automatically at predetermined intervals.
Is It Possible to Remove Ransomware?
It is hard to remove ransomware. In some cases, it is possible to get rid of ransomware, but in many cases, it is not. Therefore, your primary objective as an organization is to reduce the possibility of any malware, including ransomware, infiltrating your network.
Signs That Indicate You Are Infected by Ransomware
Here are a few fast techniques to determine if your machine has been infected with ransomware, assuming you did not receive a ransom notice:
- Check for encrypted files: If you try to open a file and find that it has been encrypted, ransomware is definitely present.
- Run an antivirus scan on the computer and see if it identifies anything suspicious: Unless ransomware has managed to get past your antivirus solution or the attack is unknown, antivirus software can detect known ransomware.
- Check for files that have been renamed: If you discover files with names other than the ones you gave them initially, this may be a sign that ransomware has encrypted your data.
- Verify your files have the correct extensions: Your operating system may hide file extensions by default. Look through your files and display the extensions. You have been hit by ransomware if popular file extensions like ".docx" or ".jpg" have been replaced by strange letter combinations.
- Check for abnormal network activity: The majority of ransomware variants communicate with a command-and-control server, and you can use detection tools to spot the kind of network traffic these communications produce.
- Check for increased CPU or hard disk activity: Ransomware may cause an increase in system resource usage. Check if your system is using the CPU more than usual by shutting down regular programs and processes to see if this eases the burden on your CPU or hard drive. If it does not produce a significant effect, this can be a sign of ransomware running in the background.
3 Simple Steps for Ransomware Removal
Here are some steps you can take if you have been infected with malware:
- Isolate compromised systems: To stop malware from spreading across your network or contacting command-and-control systems, immediately disconnect any computers showing symptoms of infection from both Wi-Fi and wired networks.
- Determine the type of infection: You may use a free application like Crypto Sheriff to determine the kind of malware your computer or system is infected with.
- Report the ransomware attack to the authorities: By reporting the attack, you are giving law enforcement agencies more information about assaults and enabling them to take action against offenders. You may report a crime online in the US via the FBI Internet Crime Complaint Center.
Cost and Time Estimation for Ransomware Removal
Depending on the size of your organization, the severity of the ransomware attack, and the country in which your company is based, the cost of ransomware recovery may vary. Common expenses include downtime, labor to mitigate the attack, network repairs, lost income opportunities, the cost of the ransom, and other damages.
On top of these, there are indirect costs to consider, such as:
- Losses from business interruption
- Legal expenses
- Government fines
- Damage to your brand or reputation
10 Tools to Detect and Remove Ransomware
Here are 10 tools that can help you detect and get rid of ransomware:
You can use this software to determine which kind of ransomware has encrypted your data. First you have to upload the encrypted file the hacker put on your computer as well as their ransom note, which includes payment details.
No More Ransom
With No More Ransom, you also need to upload the encrypted file. It then lets you know if there is a way to decrypt the file. If you already know which ransomware has attacked your system, you may simply download the accompanying decryption tool.
You can use Spyware Scanner by Enigma to check if your computer has the LeChiffre or CryptoLocker ransomware. The free version allows you to scan your computer for ransomware. But if any ransomware is identified, you have to purchase a malware cleanup program.
If your computer has screen locker ransomware, you can use Trend Micro's Screen Unlocker program. A screen locker may either prevent your computer from running in normal mode but allow it to run in safe mode or prevent it from running in either mode.
Also, if you have any of the following ransomware on your system, Trend Micro already has a decryptor program you can use: 777, AutoLocky, BadBlock, Chimera, Crypt, Crysis, DXXD, Jigsaw, LeChiffre, MIRCOP, Nemucod, SNSLocker, Stampado, TeslaCrypt, XORBAT, and Xorist.
Thor Premium Home
Thor Premium Home is a complete ransomware and antivirus package that is known to find and get rid of several kinds of ransomware. You would have to check with Thor Premium’s producers to see if the kind of ransomware you have can be removed with their tools.
MalwareBuster is good for when you do not know how much malware is on your computer. With this program, your entire system gets a deep scan, and every threat found is automatically eliminated. Additionally, it prevents brand-new malware from infecting your computer.
To be sure that MalwareBuster can handle the ransomware on your system, however, you would have to check with someone on their team.
Avast Premium Security
Computers, smartphones, and tablets can all be protected against viruses using Avast Premium Security, which can also identify and remove ransomware viruses. If your computer is already under the control of ransomware, however, there is a chance Avast Premium Security may not be able to help.
The Kaspersky No Ransom project includes several decryption tools to help organizations recover their data from ransomware. By connecting with their team and describing the ransomware you are dealing with, you can figure out if their solution can fix your problem.
VirusTotal is one of the most well-known services for examining files for viruses, Trojan horses, worms, and other malware. You simply scan a suspicious file and see what VirusTotal reveals. If it identifies ransomware, it can remove the file. However, if your files have already been encrypted, you may have to use another solution to regain control.
You can retrieve your files using several decryption tools provided by Emsisoft. Similar to the solutions mentioned above, this will only work if Emsisoft already has a decryption tool that addresses the specific kind of ransomware you are dealing with.
How Fortinet Can Help
With a FortiGate Next-Generation Firewall (NGFW), you can take a proactive stance against ransomware, blocking it from ever penetrating your system. In addition to stopping ransomware attacks that have already been identified by FortiGuard, FortiGate uses machine learning to identify zero-day attacks by analyzing the behavior of data packets as they try to enter or exit your system. In this way, FortiGate keeps you a step ahead of both known and new ransomware.
How to remove ransomware?
You can remove ransomware by using a decryptor produced by a cybersecurity company or an individual security specialist.
What are the costs to remove ransomware?
Common expenses include downtime, labor to mitigate the attack, network repairs, lost income opportunities, the cost of the ransom, and other damages.