.Zqqw is currently one of the most problematic malware threats out there and the number of its victims has been rapidly going up fast. .Zqqw belongs to the malicious software category of ransomware and is used in an elaborate extortion scheme.
Getting all of your personal files locked by some nasty malware virus can be an especially unpleasant and frustrating experience, especially if the sealed data is important for your work or if it holds some kind of personal value to you. Regardless, nobody wants to have their personal data rendered inaccessible by some nasty cyber threat’s encryption, yet, unfortunately, there are a lot of virus programs out there that are capable of doing exactly that. The collective term used to refer to such nasty programs is cryptoviruses. The cryptovirus malware category is part of a bigger category of PC viruses that you might have already heard about – the infamous ransomware malware category. The cryptovirus class is only one of the several ransomware sub-types.
This particular one is known as the most problematic and the most advanced and if your data has been locked by a ransomware cryptovirus, we need to tell you that there might not be many ways you could counteract such an infection. Still, it’s important not to lose hope and to remain calm in the face of such a predicament as this is the first and most important step towards handling this problem in an optimal way.
Below, we will give you some advice with regards to dealing with ransomware infections mainly focusing on .Zqqw which is among the newest and the nastiest of cryptoviruses. This is, in fact, likely the reason why many of you have come here in the first place. If you want to ensure that your files never fall victim to this noxious cyber threat, be sure to familiarize yourself with the specifics of this virus by reading this current write-up.
Also, if your data has already been locked by the encryption used by .Zqqw, you might want to assess your available options and choose the best one among them as it’s really important to be considerate with regards to how you should act in the event of a ransomware cryptovirus contamination.
The .Zqqw virus
Probably the most typical trait of variants like the .Zqqw virus is their use of encryption as a method to lock the files of their victims. The important thing about the .Zqqw virus, though, is that it is not going to directly damage anything on your system an your files will stay intact even after they have been rendered inaccessible by the encryption.
The reason this matters is because the lack of any visible damage might actually make things more difficult for the victim as this would mean that there will be pretty much no infection symptoms that might help you notice the infection on time. Even antivirus programs oftentimes have hard time detecting and intercepting the activities of a cryptovirus infection because they might simply not see it as a threat and allow it to finish its task.
Because of all this, most ransomware infections with viruses like .Zqqw go totally unnoticed and the user only finds out about what has happened when their data is no longer accessible and there’s a ransom notification on their screen that tells them the only way to restore their data is to pay a certain amount of money to the hackers in order to receive the special decryption key for the files.
Despite all that, you should still keep your eyes open – sometimes threats like .Zqqw need excessive amounts of RAM, CPU and HDD space in order to complete their task and if you notice that your PC is using unusually high amounts of resources, this might be an indication that there’s ransomware currently running its encryption on your PC in which case you should take immediate action to have the threat removed.
The .Zqqw file encryption
If .Zqqw file encryption has locked your data, you can, of course, issue the payment and hope for the best. However, remember that you might simply be wasting your money as the hackers might easily decide to keep the money without sending you a key for the .Zqqw file encryption.
One alternative we can offer you is the guide we’ve posted on this page and we advise you to use it in order to try to help yourself without paying anything. There is no guarantee that it will work for you but trying it will cost you nothing.
As far as the future protection of your PC and files is concerned, remember to stay away from shady Internet locations and to never click on content that seems questionable and shady. Also, back up your valuable data. This is a great method to secure your files and keep them safe from any ransomware cryptovirus, no matter how severe and advanced it might be.
|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 begin Here are several important notes that you must take into account before starting the guide:
- First, it’s best if you keep your PC disconnected from the Internet while completing the next steps – this will prevent the virus from making any attempts at communicating with the hacker’s server and receiving instructions from there.
- All external drives and other devices with storage memory (USB sticks, phones, tablets, etc.) must be disconnected to prevent the encryption of the data stored in them.
- Those of you who consider the ransom payment as an option (we advise against using this option) should probably leave the removal of the virus for after the payment is made and the decryption key received. If the virus gets removed prior to that, you may not be able to receive the decryption key even if you pay.
- Finally, bear in mind that some Ransomware threats automatically delete themselves after the encryption. Still, even if you don’t notice the presence of .Zqqw anymore, we still recommend completing the guide to e sure that the PC is clean.
To remove .Zqqw, the following actions need to be completed:
- You must find and uninstall any suspicious programs that may be in your PC.
- You should also stop any processes that may be related to .Zqqw and delete their data.
- Any changes made by the virus to the Hosts file, the Registry, or the Startup items list must be revoked.
- Finally, to remove .Zqqw, you must manually find and delete any malicious files that the virus may have created in the computer.
Detailed description of each step alongside some bonus tips can be found below.
The easiest way to look for potentially malicious programs on the computer is to go to the Control Panel and click on the Uninstall a Program option (you can find the Control Panel by searching for it in the Start Menu).
Once you go to Uninstall a Program, you will see all programs installed on the computer – look at the installation dates and see if there are any suspicious entries added close to the day you think the Ransomware infected you. If you do find anything that you suspect of being related to the infection, select it, then click the Uninstall option shown above the list, and go through the on-screen steps of the uninstallation manager.
Important note: do not let the uninstaller keep anything related to the unwanted program on your computer, including temporary data or personalized settings. If you get the option to keep such data, opt out of it.
WARNING! READ CAREFULLY BEFORE PROCEEDING!
The next important task you need to complete is try to quit any rogue processes currently running in the background. To do this, first evoke the Task Manager by pressing Ctrl + Shift + Esc and go to the tab labelled Processes.
Now, you will most likely not see a process named .Zqqw or anything similar in there – use your own intuition and judgement to determine which of the processes may be malicious and related to the Ransomware. Usually, if there is a Ransomware process that’s still running in your system, it will most likely be using considerable amounts of memory and CPU as indicated in the Task Manager and will have a name that is unfamiliar to you and/or that looks suspicious. Another major red flag is if you see two processes that have very similar names like, for instance, Chrome and Google Chrome. In such cases, one of the two similarly-named processes is highly likely to be a malware process that is trying to remain unnoticed.
If you find a suspicious-looking process in the list that you don’t trust, a good way to find out if it is malicious is to simply look it up – if it is indeed harmful, there would likely be numerous post shared on security forums that confirm the process in question is related to a malware program.
Another method of checking whether a given process is linked to a malicious program is to scan its files – right-click the process, click the Open File Location option, and scan all the files shown in the newly-opened folder. We recommend using the powerful online scanner from below – it’s free to use for the readers of our site and requires no installation, so you can use it directly from this page.
Finding any malware files (even a single one) in the location folder indicates that the process is malicious and mus be stopped, so right-click the process again and click the End Process option.
After that, delete its folder and if that can’t be done at the moment, delete as many files as you can from the folder and return to delete the rest once you finish the remaining steps from the guide.
Now you need to enter Safe Mode – the goal is to prevent .Zqqw from re-launching its processes and potentially hindering your attempts to remove the virus.
Now you must delete the virus files – there are several folders where they are most likely to be stored, but before you go there, you should make the hidden files and folders on your computer visible because the virus is likely to have hidden its data to make deleting it more difficult.
Go to the Start Menu, type Folder Options and hit Enter. Following that, click on the View tab, and find and enable an option labelled Show Hidden Files, Folders, and Drives. Also, we suggest checking/enabling these two other options:
- Hide extensions for known file types
- Hide empty drives in the Computer folder
Once you are done with that, click on OK and then copy the following folder names (along with the “%” symbols on both sides) and place them one by one in the search bar below the Start Menu. Press Enter after each folder name to open the folder.
In the first four folders, delete only the files created after the infection with .Zqqw took place. In the last folder, Temp, simply delete everything.
In this step, the first thing you should do is clean the Startup Items list – you can go to it by typing msconfig in the Start Menu, hitting Enter, and selecting Startup in the next window. See what items are in the list and if there are ones that you do not recognize, uncheck them. Also, uncheck anything with an unknown manufacturer unless you know and trust that program. Once you are done here, click OK to save the changes.
The next thing you must do is check the Hosts file – you can find it in this location: Computer/(C:)/Windows/System32/drivers/etc – go there, open the Hosts file with the Notepad tool, and then copy anything that may be written in the file after the second “Localhost” word. If there is any text or IP addresses after that word, it means the file has been changed by a third-party program, likely the Ransomware. However, we must first have a look at that text before we can say for sure. Therefore, send us in the comments the copied text, and we will soon reply to you, telling you if that text must be removed from the file on your computer. If there was nothing after “Localhost“, simply continue with the next step.
Click on the Start Menu, type regedit, and click on the icon labelled regedit.exe. Before the app opens, you will be asked for Admin permission – click on yes when this happens (you must be logged in to an Admin profile).
In the Registry Editor, press Ctrl and F, and this will open the Editor’s search bar. Type .Zqqw in it and hit Enter to begin the search. Delete whatever (if anything) gets found, and then perform a second search for .Zqqw to see if there are more items. Search and delete until .Zqqw results stop showing up.
Once you’ve deleted all .Zqqw-related items, find these Registry folders in the left pane of the Editor:
- HKEY_CURRENT_USER > Software
- HKEY_CURRENT_USER > Software > Microsoft > Windows > CurrentVersion > Run
- HKEY_CURRENT_USER > Software > Microsoft > Internet Explorer > Main
In them, if you see anything with a long and random-looking name that looks like this “09ru2309tj2f009t340r093092rujef0e8j40“, delete it. If you are unsure if something should be removed, we strongly recommend writing us a comment in which you ask us about the questionable item. It’s important to only delete rogue items – if anything else gets deleted, it may cause serious problems for the computer.
If the manual steps didn’t help If you weren’t able to solve your .Zqqw problem with the help of this guide, there could be a number of reasons for that. One possible explanation is that there could be a hidden Rootkit or Trojan Horse in your system that’s keeping .Zqqw from getting deleted. For that reason, our recommendation in case you didn’t manage to manually delete the Ransomware is to either bring your machine to a specialist or to install a reliable anti-malware program on your system that can scan everything and delete all rogue data present on the computer. There is one such reliable and tested removal tool shared on this page that you can make quick work of the Ransomware and any other malware hiding in your computer, saving you tons of time that you’d otherwise spend taking the computer to an IT professional.
How to Decrypt .Zqqw files
To decrypt .Zqqw files, we recommend using the alternative five recovery methods that are available to you rather than paying the ransom. Before you attempt to decrypt .Zqqw files, it’s strongly recommended to make sure that the virus is no longer in the system.
If there are files on your computer that you suspect could be related to the Ransomware, it’s advisable that you use the online scanner available on our site to test them for malicious code. Once you have taken care of the Ransomware, it is time to visit our specialized How to Decrypt Ransomware guide, where you will learn about the different alternative recovery methods and find detailed explanations on how they can be used.