If your computer has been infected by [email protected] then you have a really serious problem. [email protected] infects your files with the .fff file extension and belongs to a family of viruses known as Ransomware, which are among the nastiest viruses an average user can encounter. These viruses are characterized by their ability to render all useful data on your computer worthless. This is done through a process called encryption and we’ll explain the way this virus functions in detail below. Ransomware viruses have existed since the nineties, but they only became more prominent in the past few years. The two famous ransomware viruses were named CryptoLocker and Cryptowall. By all accounts they were created and released in Russia at first, but then quickly spread all over the globe. Experts estimate that those two viruses alone have extorted more than $20 million from victims.
|Danger Level||Medium (May try to install other dangerous software on your machine on spy on your browsing habits)
|Symptoms||Unwanted Ads appearing when a page is loaded, random toolbars and search engines getting installed on your PC, slowdown of processing speed.|
|Distribution Method||Software bundles and online Ads, email attachments.|
Typically the virus is accompanied by a pop up message titled “VIRUSFUCKEDYOURFILES” and an email where you can reach whoever created this. If you write to that email you receive the following message:
- Hello. I f you wish to get all your files back, you need to pay 3 BTC. How to get BitCoins? Google first Bitcoin ATMsSecond localbitcoins google dot com3rd Google: buy BitCoinsThis is the only way to get your files back. There’s no way to decrypt Them without the original key. The price is non-negotiable. After paying 3 BTC and emailing the confirmation of payment you will be providedwith a decoder. If you do not trust me, you can email one of your files, I will decode it and send it back to you. Referring to: if the file you’re Requesting decode it is valuable, I will send you Either a quote from it or a screenshot. I apologize for any inconvenience Caused. Let me know if you want to Proceed. Thank you for cooperation.
[email protected] – method of operation
When [email protected] first makes contact with a computer it begins a search on all drives connected to the computer – this can include both Flash Drives and external HDDs in addition to the physical drives on your machine. Once the scan is complete the virus will target all popular and useful data types for encryption.
Encryption is a process where a data string is to transformed into another data string through the help of a key/code. Once encrypted with the .fff file extension, a file is completely unreadable (and unusable) without the key that can be used to reverse this process – this is called decryption. The original file is then deleted, but the encrypted copy remains. Once [email protected] finishes encrypting your files it will make itself known to you and demand ransom for the decryption key, which will always be demanded in BitCoins – an online currency that is completely untraceable. The hackers also have the gall to provide polite and detailed instructions on how to obtain BitCoins for real money. Of course, the warning will also contain warnings that if you temper with the files they will be completely unrecoverable and whatever else non-sense the hackers may think of in order to dissuade them from recovering your files for free.
Please remember that while [email protected] is a Ransomware virus and has nothing to do with your internet browsers the most likely way your PC was infected by it is via a Trojan Horse. Regardless of whether you are using Firefox, Chrome or Internet Explorer you should search your browser for the presence of this Trojan. It is recommended that you download professional software to scan your machine since Trojans are often hidden under different names and a manual search is likely to prove futile.
Lets discuss your options
Let us be clear. Removing [email protected] from your computer is important, because any new files you install will also get encrypted. Unfortunately simply uninstalling the virus won’t revert your encrypted files to normal. And to make things worse the hackers are actually telling the truth – unless you pay for the key those files cannot be decrypted and any anti-virus that promises you that is likely a scam.
What you can actually do is recover the deleted originals. The guide to do so is explained below, but keep in mind that this may not recover all files perfectly. Success rate depends on the empty space of your HDD at the time of deletion and also how many data was written on the drive afterwards. But remember – as long as you don’t delete the encrypted copies you can always choose to pay if unsuccessful.
Your other option is to simply pray and hope for the best. We STRONGLY recommend AGAINST this course of action. You are dealing with criminals that extort money from you. Anything you give them will be re-invested into other, more powerful viruses to be used on you in the future. Further they are not bound by anything to adhere to their word and there is absolutely no guarantee you will get your data back even if you decide to pay them.
Or you could always choose to suck it up and simply delete the data if it is not so important to you. Just make sure you delete the virus afterwards lest you be faced with another “VIRUSFUCKEDYOURFILES” message.
Ultimately the choice is yours, but the best course of action is to exhaust all other alternatives before paying the ransom money. Ignore whatever messages [email protected] generates to dissuade you from doing so.
Remove [email protected]
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STEP 1: [email protected] Removal
For Windows 98, XP, Millenium and 7 Users:
Restart your computer. To be sure you don’t miss the time when you need to press it, just spam F8 as soon as the PC starts booting. In the new menu, choose Safe Mode With Networking.
Proceed to Step 2.
For W. 8 and 8.1 Users:
Click the Start button ,then Control Panel —> System and Security —> Administrative Tools —> System Configuration.
Then check the Safe Boot option and click OK. Click Restart in the new pop-up.
Proceed to Step 2.
For Windows 10 Users:
- Open the Start menu.
- Click the power button icon in the right corner of the new Start menu to show the power options menu.
- Press and hold down the SHIFT key on the keyboard and click the Restart option while still holding down the SHIFT key.
Windows 10 will perform the reboot. Next do the following:
Click the Troubleshoot icon, then Advanced options —> Startup Settings. Click Restart.
After the reboot click on Enter Safe Mode With Networking (Fifth Option).
Continue with Step 2.
There are several ways to get rid of [email protected] Unfortunately, it is quite hard to make a proper removal guide for this locker, because the directories [email protected] installs itself in change with each iteration. However we can help you with the following:
- Type regedit in the Windows Search Field. Search for the ransomware (try typing its name) in your registries and delete anything with that name. But be extremely careful – if you delete the wrong thing here, you can permanently damage your system.
- Type %temp% in the Windows Search Field and delete all the files in the folder you are transported to.
Hopefully these two things can remove the virus for you. However if it does not, your only solution is likely to employ a professional [email protected] remover.
STEP 3: How to Decrypt files infected with [email protected]
There is only one known way to remove this virus successfully, barring actually giving in the to the demands of the people who created the virus – reversing your files to a time when they were not infected with the .fff file extension.
There are two options you have for this:
The first is to do a full system restore. This can take care of the file extension for you completely. To do this just type System Restore in the windows search field and choose a restore point. Click Next until done. At the moment it seems that users are split into two groups: those for whom system restore works, and those for whom the .fff file extension remains even after a system restore.
Your second option is a program called Shadow Volume Copies.
Open the Shadow Explorer part of the package and choose the Drive (C or D usually) you want to restore information from. Right click on any file you want to restore and click Export on it.
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