Leex is a new Ransomware virus programmed to locate and encrypt important user files that are stored on an infected computer. The encryption that Leex uses on the targeted files renders them inaccessible without the application of a decryption key.
We assume that you have been infected with Leex since you are on this page. That’s why, in the following paragraphs, we will try to explain what this malware really does, how it performs its malicious activities, and why it is described as one of the most dangerous virus types that a computer system can face. Furthermore, we will give you some additional information on how to remove Leex and how to potentially recover some of the files it has encrypted.
The Leex virus
The Leex virus is a file-locking Ransomware infection created to extort money from infected users through a blackmailing scheme. The Leex virus uses an encryption code to restrict access to your most valuable files and then ask you to pay a ransom for their release.
Due to these abilities, Ransomware infections like this one and Neer, Piiq are among the most alarming threats that a computer may ever face. The usual way in which such threats access your machine is either through a Trojan Horse backdoor or through an email containing the harmful payload.
The first job of the virus once it gets inside the system is to start scanning your hard drives to determine which files you are using the most. After that it makes a list of all these files and starts encrypting them one by one. That’s how you end up with your most valuable information becoming inaccessible. It is important to mention that the entire file-encryption process can typically go under the radar of most security programs. That’s why the attack of the Ransomware usually comes as a surprise for the victims. The malware is only detected after it is too late and a ransom message has already been generated on the screen.
The Leex file
The Leex file is a file that cannot be opened or accessed like a normal file and is not recognized by any software. The Leex file can only be opened with a corresponding decryption key which is in the hands of the hackers behind the Ransomware.
Usually, the Ransomware victims are confused about whether or not they should fulfill the hackers’ demands and make the ransom payment. Unfortunately, nobody can give a concrete answer to what they should do because the decision is entirely up to the victims. Many security experts, however, share the opinion that it is NOT a good idea to trust the cyber criminals who develop such infections, and we subscribe to that idea. One of the reasons is there is no assurance that they will give you access to your files. In fact, paying the ransom will just motivate hackers to continue with their blackmailing activities and with their attempts to extort more money from you. That’s why our advice is to explore some alternative solutions or consult an expert from your city before agreeing to fulfill the demands of the criminals.
The removal guide below could also be a solution since it can help you remove Leex from your system. As far as the recovery of the encrypted files is concerned, we suggest you check out the file-recovery section of the guide or use your external backups (if you have any).
|Danger Level||High (Ransomware is by far the worst threat you can encounter)|
|Symptoms||Very few and unnoticeable ones before the ransom notification comes up.|
|Distribution Method||From fake ads and fake system requests to spam emails and contagious web pages.|
Some threats reinstall themselves if you don't delete their core files. We recommend downloading SpyHunter to remove harmful programs for you. This may save you hours and ensure you don't harm your system by deleting the wrong files.
Before you start Before you begin to complete this guide, there are several important factors that you should bear in mind.
- The first one is that it’s best if you keep your computer disconnected from the web while you are trying to eliminate Leex. This is to prevent any potential interaction and communication between the virus and the server of its creators.
- Secondly, you are also advised to plug out any external devices with storage space of their own (e.g. phones, external HDDs, flash memory sticks, etc.) – this will hopefully prevent the virus from encrypting the data stored on them.
- The third thing we should mention is that you should probably postpone the Leex removal if you have decided to pay the ransom (something that we discourage) for when you have already acquired the decryption key. If you delete the threat, you may not be able to retrieve the decryption key after paying the requested sum.
- Lastly, may Ransomware threats automatically delete themselves once they’ve completed the encryption of the victim’s files in order to leave no traces of themselves that may help with the decryption. If you think Leex is already gone from your computer, we still advise you to complete the next guide in order to be sure that the threat is indeed not in the system.
Remove Leex Ransomware
To remove Leex, it is crucial that you delete any potentially hazardous programs and stop all questionable processes in the PC.
- Use the list of program installs in the Control Panel to see all programs on your computer and eliminate the ones you think may be problematic.
- Check the processes listed in the Task Manager – if you think any of them are from Leex, quit them.
- Reverse any changes made by the virus in the System Registry, the Hosts file, or the Startup items list.
- Finally, to remove Leex from your computer, search your PC for virus files and delete them.
Detailed explanation and helpful tips for each step can be found below.
There is a list of all the programs on your computer that can be accessed by going to Start Menu > Control Panel > Programs > Programs and Features. In that list, you must look for anything installed close to the date Leex infected you and uninstall it if it seems suspicious or unfamiliar.
If you decide that a given program should be deleted, select it in the list, then go to the Uninstall option from the top, and follow the steps that appear in the uninstallation wizard that pops-up. Do not allow the uninstaller to keep any data related to the unwanted program on your computer – make sure that everything gets eliminated.
WARNING! READ CAREFULLY BEFORE PROCEEDING!
Press (together) the following keys from your keyboard, [Ctrl]+[Shift]+[Esc] and go to Processes in the next window. Try to find in the list any processes that may be related to the Leex Ransomware (note that it’s likely that the virus processes are no longer running). There are two main red flags that may show you which of the processes could be from the Ransomware.
The first one is if the process is using unusually high amounts of processing power (CPU) or virtual memory (RAM) as shown in the list.
The second one is if the process itself has an unusual or unknown to you name.
If, considering those two factors and using your common sense and personal judgement, you think you’ve found a process that may be harmful, try finding some information about it on the Internet – chances are that, if the process is indeed from the virus, you will quickly find relevant information that confirms your suspicions.
There’s also one other way to see if the process may be harmful that we recommend. Right-click the suspected process, click the File Location option (the first one), and then use a reliable scanner tool to test the files located there. We’ve provided below such a scanner that you can use for free directly from the current page.
Naturally, if any of the files you scan are shown to be threats, this means the process is likely malicious and should be stopped, so go ahead and do that and then delete tits entire location folder.
The next thing you need to do is get the PC into Safe Mode – in most cases, this should prevent the virus from launching any more of its processes and disrupting your progress with its removal.
Now you should make hidden files and folders on your PC visible and then find and delete any Ransomware data present on your PC.
Start by opening the Start Menu, typing in it Folder Options, and hitting the Enter key. After that, select the View section and find and check the Show Hidden files, folders, and drives option. Next, uncheck the Hide extensions for known file types and Hide empty drives in the Computer folder options and click on OK.
After that, paste in your Start Menu each of the next lines and press the Enter button after each one.
Delete only the most recent files (the ones created since the virus arrived) in each folder except Temp, where you must delete everything.
The next thing to do is to go to the System Configuration settings by typing msconfig in the Start Menu and selecting the first icon. Then you must check the Startup section for questionable and unfamiliar apps/programs/services and/or ones that have unknown developers. Such items need to be disabled after which you should click on OK.
After that, you need to also check the Hosts file by going to Computer/(C:)/Windows/System32/drivers/etc and opening the Hosts file from there.
Select the Notepad app when asked to choose a program and then copy the text written below Localhost (see the picture) and paste it in the comments section. We will have a look at it and let you know if it is from the virus and if it needs to be deleted.
Next, go to the system’s Registry, by clicking on the Start Menu, typing regedit, selecting the first shown app, and then clicking on Yes.
Now open the Registry Editor search by pressing Ctrl + F, type the Leex name, and perform the search. Any item that gets found should be deleted, after which you must do another search to look for more Leex items.
Make sure that everything from Leex is deleted and then proceed with finding these three locations in the left panel of the Registry:
- HKEY_CURRENT_USER > Software
- HKEY_CURRENT_USER > Software > Microsoft > Windows > CurrentVersion > Run
- HKEY_CURRENT_USER > Software > Microsoft > Internet Explorer > Main
There, look for sketchy-looking items with random names such as “dh9r83h29f498u1398j249f82984r” and if you find any, delete them. If you cannot be sure about a given item, ask for our help through the comments instead of deleting the item, as it may not be from the virus, in which case deleting it could cause further problems.
If the manual steps didn’t help If deleting the virus manually doesn’t seem to be feasible in your case, we recommend trying out the removal tool posted on this page. The reason why you may need to use such a professional removal program to take care of the Leex infection is because it is possible that there’s a secondary virus in your computer that is helping the Ransomware remain in the PC in spite of your removal attempts. For that reason, it is highly advisable that you scan and clean your computer with a reliable security program such as the one we just mentioned.
How to Decrypt Leex files
To decrypt Leex files, delete the virus and then try the available alternative data-recovery methods that do not involve paying the ransom. You can try to pay the ransom to decrypt Leex files, but it is not recommended as the hackers cannot be trusted.
To ensure there’s no harmful data left in the system, you can always use the free online scanner we’ve provided on our site. Once the threat is fully gone, we suggest you have a look at the data-recovery instructions in the How to Decrypt Ransomware article that we have here.