We have good news and terrible news for you if you want to know how to remove ransomware from your Windows PC. The good news is that it’s not easy, but it’s doable. The bad news is that it isn’t always feasible. Ransomware attacks and programmes are becoming increasingly complex. As a result, victims are having a harder time cleaning their systems and retrieving their contents.
Is it possible to get rid of ransomware?
Ransomware removal can range from straightforward to hard, depending on the sort of assault. Scareware, for example, instals harmful software that may be uninstalled in minutes. However, the most prevalent forms, dubbed filecoders or encryption ransomware, are significantly more dangerous: They encrypt your sensitive data. Even if you are successful in removing the malware, you will still need to decrypt your data in order to access it. In this situation, the attacker’s encryption holds your files hostage until you pay for a decryption key, rather than deleting or damaging your files or stealing your identity.
How to Remove Ransomware From Your Windows PC?
A ransomware assault is similar to an abduction, except that instead of a person, attackers hold your digital files and personal information hostage. They may threaten to delete important files or reveal sensitive information unless the victim pays a ransom.
While ransomware attackers are more likely to target businesses, consumers are not immune to such attacks. In fact, according to Security magazine, remote workers will be targeted more than ever before in 2021.
If your computer is one of the low-hanging fruit that hackers have targeted, the following instructions can assist you in removing ransomware. To begin, you should determine whether or not your computer has been infected with ransomware.
Ransomware warning signs
Ransomware is now more stealthy than ever before. When you start experiencing one or more of the following indicators, you’ve most likely been infected with malware.
Files that have been encrypted
When Windows notifies you that you don’t have authorization to open your own photographs, videos, or documents, you know your files have been encrypted. It’s a dead giveaway for ransomware. You won’t be able to recover your files unless you have a backup unless you have the decryption key.
The contents of the file have been scrambled.
When the contents of your files are scrambled for no apparent reason, this is another symptom that your machine has been infected with ransomware. Only the decryption key can return them to their original state, and obtaining it usually necessitates paying the ransom.
You can’t get into your computer because it’s locked.
Rather than encrypting your data or folders, ransomware may prevent you from using your device at all. It locks you out of your computer and displays instructions on how to pay the ransom on the screen. When you turn on your computer, you may notice a red lock on the screen.
The internet browsers have been disabled.
Your web browsers may be targeted by ransomware. After your browsers have been infected, you will most likely receive a notification requesting a bitcoin payment in order to regain access.
What is the best way to get rid of ransomware?
If you’ve confirmed the symptoms and discovered that your PC is infected, you’ll need to learn how to remove ransomware so you can reclaim your device. Don’t be alarmed; we’ll get through it together. To get your files back, follow these procedures.
Step 1: Make a record of the attack’s evidence.
Begin recording evidence as soon as you see indicators of an attack. If you decide to make a police report, this information will be useful. You may not be able to capture a screenshot if you don’t have access to the device, so take a picture with your phone instead.
Step 2: Disconnect the infected device as soon as possible.
Another first measure you should take is to turn off your computer’s internet connection. This will stop the ransomware from propagating to other network devices. Disconnect all other devices that were linked to the infected PC and check if they are also infected.
Examine all of your PCs, tablets, smartphones, flash drives, external hard drives, shared and unshared network drives, and cloud storage accounts thoroughly.
Step 3: Make a backup of your system.
If you still have access to your system, make a backup of all the encrypted files. Decryptors, which are tools for decrypting ransomware-affected data, are not always reliable and can cause damage to files during recovery. This is frequently the case with ransomware variants with concealed payloads. After a while, they wind up overwriting or erasing encrypted files. In such instances, an encrypted backup is preferable to no backup at all. Save as much as you can.
Step 4: Turn off any cleaning or optimization applications.
It’s possible that the ransomware that has infected your machine is stored in your Temporary Files folder. It’s also possible that your cleanup software’s scheduled runs will delete it. You might need the ransomware files for diagnostics, so make sure any software that would accidentally delete them is disabled.
Step 5: Figure out what kind of ransomware you’re dealing with.
The next stage in eliminating ransomware is to identify it. Because the techniques for eradicating different varieties of ransomware can differ, it’s easier to fix the problem if you know what you’re dealing with.
Crypto Sheriff from No More Ransom, a project by IT Security organisations and law enforcement focused at undermining cybercriminal businesses, is one technique to determine the sort of ransomware infecting your system. The site will prompt you to deliver your encrypted files as well as any ransom information provided by the attackers. They’ll then try to identify the malware and see if any solutions are accessible.
You could also conduct your own research. Use a different device or restart your computer and look into it in safe mode.
People can learn about the current ransomware infestations by visiting Reddit (r/Ransomware), Bleeping Computer, Computer Hope, and Microsoft Community forums. Look through the comments to see if there are any experiences that are comparable to yours.
Some comments may advise manual methods for removing ransomware infections. Because most commentators aren’t cybersecurity professionals, don’t take just any suggestion. In the meantime, concentrate on locating the malware. Understanding the various varieties of ransomware will aid you in finding the most relevant information.
Scareware may appear as pop-up adverts for a security product that demands payment to solve fictitious PC problems. The attackers may also send you scary but badly phrased texts requesting that you pay the ransom as soon as possible.
Scareware is the least intrusive of the ransomware strains, and it is easy to delete using anti-malware software.
When the attackers not only hold your files ransom but also threaten to use them, you know you’re being victimised by doxxing or doxxing-related ransomware. They may send you a message or an email notifying you that they have your usernames and passwords and that if you do not pay the ransom, they will make your sensitive files public.
The ransomware that locks your screen prevents you from accessing your own device. You may receive notifications informing you that you have broken the law and must pay a fine in order to restore access to your computer. These notifications appear to be from legitimate agencies such as the FBI or the US Department of Homeland Security, but they are actually frauds.
Filecoders, sometimes known as encrypting ransomware, encrypt your files as well as your entire hard drive. It’s the most dangerous ransomware variant, accounting for over 90% of all infections.
For the decryption keys, cybercriminals usually demand payment. They usually give you a deadline and threaten to delete or lock your files if you don’t pay up.
Step 6: Uninstall ransomware
Strong cybersecurity software can be used to eradicate ransomware. A cybersecurity specialist must be able to assist you at every step of the ransomware eradication process with the ransomware removal tool. Prepare yourself, as retrieving all of your files is not always possible.
You can also manually restore your system to get rid of ransomware. Almost every device has a System Restore option that can be activated with only a few mouse clicks.
Step 7: Locate and recover any data that have been hidden or encrypted.
It’s time to retrieve your encrypted files now that you’ve removed the underlying infection. You might want to consider the following options:
Use a backup to restore your system and files.
Have you taken any precautions to ensure the safety of your operating system? If you answered yes, now is the moment to reap the benefits of your labour. You can quickly restore backup files as long as they haven’t been encrypted. Simply look for the System Restore option in your device’s advanced settings. Remember to look at the date of the last backup. You must understand that any files created after that date will not be recoverable.
Windows searches your system and records file changes on a regular basis. You can try to recover these shadow copies by gaining access to them. You can also restore prior file versions using the File History tool. These approaches may work for simple filecoder attacks, but they will not work in a complex doxxing scenario where a hacker is holding your personal information hostage.
If the ransomware has only hidden your files, you may restore them with these quick and easy remedies for Windows 10, 8.1, and 7.
Make use of decryption software.
As previously stated, you may rely on the No More Ransom platform to decrypt your files. They can assist you in determining the sort of ransomware that is wreaking havoc on your computer. They also have a store of decryption software and keys.
There aren’t decryptors for all varieties of ransomware in No More Ransom. They can, however, assist you in resolving the problem if they have created a solution for the exact strain that has infected your computer.
FAQ – Ransomware Virus
The following commonly asked questions may be of assistance to you:
How did my computer become infected?
In most cases, computer infections are unintentional. Here are some of the ways ransomware infiltrates your computer:
If your computer is connected to a virus-infected network
When you browse untrustworthy websites with dubious or ambiguous content, or when you open attachments from dangerous emails
When you click on harmful links in instant messaging, emails, or social media posts, you are putting yourself at risk.
When you install pirated software or files, you are committing a crime.
Is it necessary for me to pay the ransom?
While the decision to pay is ultimately yours, bear the following factors in mind. Only 19 percent of victims who pay a ransom obtain the decryption tool needed to retrieve their files, according to CyberEdge Group. Their ransom payments also contribute to the development of even more complex ransomware assaults.
How do I decrypt ransomware-encrypted files?
Platforms like No More Ransom and MalwareHunterTeam can help you decrypt the files. Both programmes are free, but they can only assist you if they already have decryptors for the ransomware strain in question.
Another alternative is to pay the ransom and ask the attackers for the decryption tool. However, you should try to avoid it as much as possible and only use it as a last resort because… (For more information, check the previous section.)
Avoid being a ransomware victim.
Because there is no straightforward way to fight ransomware, you should learn how to prevent it from infecting your computer. While it’s impossible to detect every conceivable virus source, you can protect your computer by using a trustworthy cybersecurity software solution.
If you’re worried about ransomware infecting your Mac, iOS, or Android device, Clario can help. When you go online, our all-around safety is just what you need.