Monday, March 27, 2017

Vortex ransomware removal instructions

Vortex ransomware removal instructions

What is Vortex?

Vortex is a ransomware-type virus developed using AESxWin - an open-source file encryption project. This malware is virtually identical to the Polski and Flotera viruses. Following successful infiltration, Vortex encrypts various files using AES-256 cryptography and appends the ".aes" extension to the name of each encrypted file. For example, a file such as "sample.jpg" might be renamed to "sample.jpg.aes". Once the files are encrypted, Vortex creates a text file ("ODZSZYFRUJ-DANE.txt"), placing it on the desktop.
The text file contains a ransom-demand message in Polish stating that files are encrypted and the only way to restore them is to purchase a unique decryption key. As mentioned above, Vortex employs AES cryptography and, thus, claims that files cannot be restored without a key are unfortunately accurate. Cyber criminals (developers of Vortex ransomware) store this key on a remote server and generate revenue by blackmailing victims to receive it. The size of ransom is $199. To submit payment, victims are encouraged to contact criminals via email addresses ("rsapl@openmailbox.org" or "polskiransom@airmail.cc") provided, and to follow the instructions. Victims are also permitted to attach two selected files, which are then decrypted and returned - presumably as proof that decryption is possible. Despite these demands and threats, never trust these people. Cyber criminals often ignore victims, once payments are submitted. You should never attempt to contact these people or pay any ransom - you will support their malicious businesses. Furthermore, there is a high probability that you will be scammed. There are currently no tools capable of cracking AES cryptography and restoring files encrypted by Vortex. The only solution to this problem is to restore files/system from a backup.
Screenshot of a message encouraging users to pay a ransom to decrypt their compromised data:
Vortex decrypt instructions
There are dozens of ransomware-type viruses similar to Vortex. The list of examples includes CryptoDevilKarmenMatrixFileLocker, and Enjey Crypter. As with Vortex, these viruses also encrypt files and make ransom demands. The only noticeable differences are type of encryption algorithm (symmetric/asymmetric) used and cost of decryption key. Cyber criminals often proliferate ransomware-type viruses by employing trojans, fake software updaters, spam emails (infectious attachments, and third party software download sources (freeware download and free file hosting websites, torrents, etc.) Therefore, use a legitimate anti-virus/anti-spyware suite and keep installed applications up-to-date. Bear in mind, however, that criminals often use fake updaters to proliferate malware, so never update software via third party tools. Furthermore, be cautious when opening files received from suspicious emails, and when downloading software from unofficial sources.
Text presented within Vortex ransomware text file ("ODZSZYFRUJ-DANE.txt"):
ᏉᎾᏒᏆᎬx ᏒᎪᏁsᎾmᎳᎪᏒᎬ
Nie możesz znaleźć potrzebnych plików na dysku twardym ? Zawartość Twoich plików jest nie do otwarcia?
Jest to skutek działania programu który zaszyfrował większość Twoich danych przy pomocy silnego alogrytmu AES-256,
używanego min. przez służby mundurowe do zatajania danych przesyłanych drogą elektroniczną.
Jedyna metoda aby odzyskać Twoje pliki to wykupienie od nas programu deszyfrującego, wraz z jednorazowym kluczem wygenerowanym unikalnie dla Ciebie!
Gdy już postanowisz odzyskać swoje dane skontaktuj się z nami pod adrem e - mail: rsapl@openmailbox.org lub polskiransom@airmail.cc
2 Pliki odszyfrujemy za darmo aby udowodnić że jesteśmy w stanie tego dokonać, Za resztę niestety musisz zapłacić !
Cena za odszyfrowanie wszystkich plików: 199$
Uwaga !Nie marnuj czasu, czas to pieniądz za 4 dni cena wzrośnie o 100 % !
Screenshot of a pop-up displayed by Vortex ransomware:
Vortex text file
Screenshot of files encrypted by Vortex ransomware (".aes" extension):
Files encrypted by Vortex

Vortex ransomware removal:

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 Vortex 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 need assistance removing vortex , give us a call 24/7:
1-866-208-0865
By downloading any software listed on this website you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. SpyHunter’s free scanner is for malware detection. To remove the detected infections you will need to purchase a full version of this product. More information on SpyHunter. If you wish to uninstall SpyHunter follow these instructions. All the products we recommend were carefully tested and approved by our technicians as being one of the most effective solutions for removing this threat.
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 Vortex 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 Vortex 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 Vortex 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 Vortex, 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 Vortex ransomware.
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 Vortex ransomware:

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