Zouu Virus

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*Zouu is a variant of Stop/DJVU. Source of claim SH can remove it.


Zouu is a ransomware virus created to blackmail web users for a ransom payment by blocking access to their digital data. Usually, Zouu uses a complex file encryption to encode the victim’s most important files and then displays a ransom message on their screen.

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The Zouu Ransomware will leave a _readme.txt file with instructions

If you’ve reached our post, you’re obviously interested in finding out more about Zouu and the methods to remove it. This is why, in the next lines, we will address all the typical features of this ransomware and the alternative methods that you can use to effectively deal with it.

We don’t want to frighten you right from the start, but when it comes to money extortion, this virus is extremely effective. Nonetheless, you don’t have to become the next victim of the ransomware’s blackmail scenario because we have provided a removal guide to help you get rid of the malware and a file-recovery section with some free file-restoration alternatives that are worth the try.

The Zouu virus

The Zouu virus is blackmail software designed to encrypt user files and extort money from its victims in the form of a ransom payment. The Zouu virus demands a cryptocurrency payment from the victim users in exchange for the liberation of their encrypted files.

A ransomware virus such as Zouu, Bpsm, Bpto and Zoqw can most commonly access your personal computer when you click on an infected link, download a compromised file or a software installer. Once inside, the ransomware determines which of your files you use the most and begins to lock them with an encryption one by one. At the end of the file-encryption process, you end up with a bunch of encoded files that you cannot open or use no matter what you try and a threatening ransom notification on your screen.

The notification may include ransom payment instructions, a deadline to complete the payment and further threats or details. Some of these additional threats may include telling you that you will lose your encrypted data forever if you attempt to remove the virus, or that the ransom amount will be increased if you don’t pay immediately. Typically, the hackers behind the Zouu virus promise to send you a secret decryption key which can restore your files as soon as you make the payment.

Whether the hackers will keep their word, however, nobody can guarantee. Besides, nobody can tell if such a decryption key really exists either. It’s a matter of taking a risk. You may either decide to risk losing your money and hope to receive a decryption solution from the crooks or refuse to fulfill their demands and deal with the Zouu ransomware on your own.

The .Zouu file encryption

The .Zouu file encryption is a method that allows hackers to blocks access to user data. The .Zouu file encryption is typically irreversible without the application of a matching decryption key that is kept secret by the hackers behind the ransomware.

Zouu File

To be frank, neither of these solutions can guarantee that your encrypted data will be successfully retrieved. The only thing that is certain is that, by paying the ransom, you will actually support those who are threatening you, which is not very clever. That’s why our suggestion is to check out the removal guide below or contact a cyber expert of your choice to help you effectively fight off the ransomware and remove it from your system.


Danger LevelHigh (Ransomware is by far the worst threat you can encounter)
Detection Tool

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*Zouu is a variant of Stop/DJVU. Source of claim SH can remove it.

Before you begin this guide

There are several important things you ought to consider before you begin the removal of Zouu:

  • Smartphones, tablets, external HDDs, flash drives, or other devices that have files stored on them, that are connected to your computer at the moment must be unplugged ASAP!
  • It’s recommended that you do not pay the ransom, but if you have no other option, then our advice is to proceed with the removal process after you’ve sent the money, and after you have hopefully received a working decryption key.
  • Even if it seems like Zouu has automatically erased itself from your system, you still need to make sure that the computer is malware-free by performing the steps we’ve shown below.

Remove Zouu Ransomware

To remove Zouu, you can perform the next manual removal steps, or you can delete the virus with the help of a specialized anti-malware tool:

  1. Find and delete any program in the Programs and Features list that you suspect of being related to the Ransomware attack.
  2. End any malware processes you may notice in the Task Manager.
  3. Erase any malicious files that may be found in the WinDir, LocalAppData, ProgramData, AppData, and Temp folders.
  4. Check and restore the settings of your computer, including the Registry, the Startup items list, the Hosts file, and the Task Scheduler.

The way each of those steps needs to be performed is explained within the next lines. There, you will also find a powerful anti-malware tool that can help you delete the virus automatically and ensure your system doesn’t get infected again.

Detailed removal instructions

Step 1

Click the Start Menu, type appwiz.cpl, press the Enter key, and explore the newly-opened list of programs. Search for anything that has been installed recently and that looks untrusted. If there’s a program in that list that you suspect of being linked to the malware, right-click on it, and click Uninstall. Then perform whatever removal steps appear on your screen. If there’s a detailed uninstaller with different settings, use the settings that would ensure that all data and settings for the questionable program get deleted.

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Step 2


*Zouu is a variant of Stop/DJVU. Source of claim SH can remove it.

Start the Task Manager tool (press Ctrl + Shift + Esc to open it), then click its Processes section, and there look for questionable processes that:

  • Use suspiciously-high amounts of memory and CPU
  • Have suspicious and unfamiliar names
  • Don’t appear to have any relation to any of the regular programs that are on your computer and/or seem to be connected to any programs you may have tried to uninstall in Step 1

Look up the names of any such processes you may come across in the Task Manager, and also check the files in their location folders for malware code. To do the latter, right-click the suspected process, select open File Location, and then, with the help of the following free online malware scanner, test each file in the newly-opened folder for malware.

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    This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is task-manager1.jpg

    If you have enough reason to believe one or more of the processes that are currently running on your PC are malicious, be sure to first quit them (right-click the process and select End Process) and then to delete their entire location folders (and not only the files that the scanner may have detected as malware).

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    Step 3

    Even if you have stopped the Zouu processes, the virus may try to re-launch them. For this reason, you must now boot your PC in Safe Mode in order to prevent this from happening.

    Step 4

    *Zouu is a variant of Stop/DJVU. Source of claim SH can remove it.

    Go to the Start Menu, search in it for Folder Options, and click on the Folder Options icon. Then open the View tab, enable Show hidden files, folders, and drives, and select OK.

    After that, open the Start Menu again, type %Temp%, and press Enter. When the Temp folder opens, press Ctrl + A, then press Del, and click Yes to confirm that you want to delete the selected items (all items in Temp must be deleted).

    Next, in the same way, visit the next four folders, but in them only delete the most recently-created items – everything that has been created since the Ransomware infected your PC:

    • %AppData%
    • %WinDir%
    • %LocalAppData%
    • %ProgramData%

    Step 5

    If your computer is running on Windows 10, you must once again open the Task Manager and this time go to the Startup section. If you have Windows 7 on your computer, then you  must type msconfig in the search bar of the Start Menu, hit Enter, and then click on the Startup tab when the System Configuration window shows up. When you have the list of startup items shown on your screen, look through them carefully, and if you notice once that seem unfamiliar, suspicious, or related to Zouu, disable them, and then click OK.

    After this, you must open your C: drive, find the Windows\Syste32\drivers\etc folder, and double-click on the Hosts file that’s located in that folder. Select Notepad when you must choose what program to use to open the file with, and when the file opens, copy any text that may be written in it under the “Localhost” lines (at the bottom). Send us the copied text (likely some strange IP addresses) down in the comments and wait for us to reply to your comment, telling you if that text must be erased from the Hosts file on your PC. 

    This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is hosts2.jpg

    Use the Start Menu search to find the Task Scheduler tool, open that tool, and click on Task Scheduler Library in the top-left. Now see what tasks get listed and if there are ones that seem questionable or malicious, right-click them, select Delete, and confirm the deletion of the task.

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    Step 6

    Open the Registry Editor by searching for regedit.exe in the Start Menu, pressing Enter, and then clicking Yes to provide your Admin permission. When the Registry Editor window appears on your screen, click the Edit menu from the top, select Find, type the name of the virus in the search box, and search related items. If a search result shows up, delete it, and search for more malware entries in order to delete them as well. Once no more results are getting found, search for the name of the program from Step 1 and delete anything related to it that may get found.

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    Lastly, open the Registry locations shown below in the left panel of the Editor, search them for items with strange names that look like this “3209ru8943ur390yt3490gyu53t0jf094ut90j“, and let us know in the comments if you see any such items – we will soon reply to your comment, informing you if the item/s in question must be erased.

    • HKEY_CURRENT_USER > Software
    • HKEY_CURRENT_USER > Software > Microsoft > Windows > CurrentVersion > Run
    • HKEY_CURRENT_USER > Software > Microsoft > Internet Explorer > Main

    If Zouu is still in the system

    In some instances, manually deleting a virus like Zouu may not be a viable option due to different reasons – the virus may have nested itself too deep inside the system, other malware may be helping it stay on the computer, and so on. It’s, therefore, advised that, if the steps you’ve completed thus far didn’t allow you to fully delete Zouu, you use a specialized removal tool to clean your system. The anti-malware program linked in the guide is what we’d recommend you use to get rid of Zouu – it is a powerful removal software that will not only allow you to maker your PC malware-free again, but will also ensure that the system stays that way in the future.

    How to Decrypt Zouu files

    To decrypt Zouu files, the recommended course of action is to use a free decryptor tool created specifically for this virus. There aren’t such tools for each Ransomware virus, but there’s one that may help you decrypt Zouu files, so we advise you to give it a try.

    There are two conditions that must be met before using the decryptor tool that we will tell you about shortly:

    First, the computer must no longer have any malware in it, so you must have completed the guide and/or used the removal tool linked in it to ensure that Zouu is removed. If there’s any data left on your PC that may be linked to the virus, use the free malware scanner we have on our site to test those files for malicious code, so that you’d know to delete them if they get flagged as malware.

    The second condition is that you need to have a couple of file pairs, where one of the files is encrypted by Zouu and the other one is the accessible, original version of that file. Search through your other devices, email accounts, or cloud storages to find some original and still accessible file versions of their encrypted counterparts. The condition concerning the files is that they should to be bigger than 150 KB.

    If your PC is malware-free and you have the needed file pairs, here is how to decrypt Zouu files on your PC:

    1. First, visit this link, select the first of the two Choose File options, navigate to the encrypted file version from one of the file pairs, and open it.
    2. Next, click the other Choose File option, find the original version of the encrypted file from the previous step, and open it too.
    3. Select Submit and wait for the needed decryption key to get extracted. If the process fails, try it again using another file pair.
    4. Once a decryption key has been found, open this link and download the tool available there.
    5. Go to the downloaded tool, right-click it, select Open as Administrator, and select Yes.
    6. Agree to the Terms and Conditions of the program, and then click OK, after reading the instructions.
    7. Select a drive or browser to a specific location where there are encrypted files, and then click on Decrypt. This process should now unlock the encrypted files in the selected drive/location. If any of the files get skipped and don’t get unlocked, this means that a different key is needed to decrypt them. You can try to extract a different key using another file pair, but know that it’s possible that the needed decryption key may be absent from the decryptor’s database.

    About the author


    Lidia Howler

    Lidia is a web content creator with years of experience in the cyber-security sector. She helps readers with articles on malware removal and online security. Her strive for simplicity and well-researched information provides users with easy-to-follow It-related tips and step-by-step tutorials.

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