Access is the name of a virus that targets Windows computers. Compared to other infections, this one can be remarkably devastating because of its ability to lock all the files that were stored on the infected computer with the help of a cryptographic algorithm. The motive of the creators of Access is to force their victims to pay them money in exchange for fixing the files. That’s not the only way to restore the encrypted data but whether or not the files will get decrypted is not certain.
Access Ransomware Access Files quicklinks
- How to remove Access ransomware
- Automatic Malware removal tools
- How to restore Access files
- How to recover Access Ransomware (.access files) encrypted files and remove the virus
- Step 1. Restore system into last known good state using system restore
- 1. Reboot your computer to Safe Mode with Command Prompt:
- 2.Restore System files and settings.
- Step 4. Use Data Recovery programs to recover Access Ransomware (.access files) encrypted files
If you noticed that some or all of your files can’t be opened anymore and that a new file type, “Access”, has been attached to their names, those are the signs of an infection by the ransomware dubbed “Access”. This virus usually spreads through cracking software, activators, or unofficial downloads. If you’ve downloaded some file or program recently and ran it without scanning it with an antivirus program, then that file must have been the Access virus in disguise.
How to remove Access ransomware
In order to get back the control of your computer, you will need to remove the virus from it. That’s doubly important because Access might have also installed a password-stealing trojan called AZORult. This is based on the fact that Access belongs to the STOP ransomware family and previous versions have definitely spread AZORult. Some victims of STOP even noticed their social media accounts being hacked after the trojan stole their passwords. So, do not use social media, online banking, or anything else that’s personally or financially sensitive on the infected computer until after you’ve removed the virus. For that, you can use Spyhunter, or any other strong antivirus program. Your usual antivirus tool might not work for this if Access managed to disable it — you will need to fix that later. If Access is not being removed or quarantined, try using Safe Mode.
Automatic Malware removal tools
Afterward, don’t forget to change your passwords and enable 2-factor authentication where possible, check your hosts file for unwanted edits, and update your antivirus software.
How to restore Access files
The .access files which your data has been turned into are not dangerous and neither are the _readme.txt files that Access has dotted around your folders. If you read the _readme.txt file, you’ll learn that the criminals who developed Access demand from $490 to $980 for reversing the encryption of the documents, films, photos, drawings, text files, and other files that the ransomware affected. This price might be prohibitive to a lot of people, especially knowing that paying the ransom is no guarantee that the files will be fixed: according to this CyberEdge report, lots of people lose their data despite having paid the ransom.
Access uses encryption to make the files unreadable while keeping available the possibility of decryption — restoring the files to their previous state. In fact, there are ransomware viruses which have had free decrypters released: some early versions of GlobeImposter, Dharma, as well as LooCipher. Even though Access does not have a decrypter at the moment, there is a tool for some versions of STOP ransomware that can decrypt the files, provided the virus experienced some technical difficulties. There is a chance that the tool (called STOPDecrypter and developed by Demonslay335) will be updated for Access, provided that researchers are able to uncover some data about the virus. So, wait for news about this tool while keeping your encrypted files.
You do not need to do this, however, if you have a good-enough backup. If you remove the virus, replacing the encrypted files with ones from your backup should be easy. But if your backups were stored on the infected computer, there is a chance that they were broken by the Access virus. The guide below this post details how to access System Restore and you should definitely try it, but be ready for it to not work. Data recovery might be able to work, as well.
How to recover Access Ransomware (.access files) encrypted files and remove the virus
Step 1. Restore system into last known good state using system restore
1. Reboot your computer to Safe Mode with Command Prompt:
for Windows 7 / Vista/ XP
- Start → Shutdown → Restart → OK.
- Press F8 key repeatedly until Advanced Boot Options window appears.
- Choose Safe Mode with Command Prompt.
for Windows 8 / 10
- Press Power at Windows login screen. Then press and hold Shift key and click Restart.
- Choose Troubleshoot → Advanced Options → Startup Settings and click Restart.
- When it loads, select Enable Safe Mode with Command Prompt from the list of Startup Settings.
2.Restore System files and settings.
- When Command Prompt mode loads, enter cd restore and press Enter.
- Then enter rstrui.exe and press Enter again.
- Click “Next” in the windows that appeared.
- Select one of the Restore Points that are available before Access has infiltrated to your system and then click “Next”.
- To start System restore click “Yes”.
Step 2. Complete removal of Access Ransomware (.access files)After restoring your system, it is recommended to scan your computer with an anti-malware program, like Spyhunter and remove all malicious files related to Access. You can check other tools here.
Step 3. Restore Access Ransomware (.access files) affected files using Shadow Volume CopiesIf you do not use System Restore option on your operating system, there is a chance to use shadow copy snapshots. They store copies of your files that point of time when the system restore snapshot was created. Usually Access tries to delete all possible Shadow Volume Copies, so this methods may not work on all computers. However, it may fail to do so. Shadow Volume Copies are only available with Windows XP Service Pack 2, Windows Vista, Windows 7, and Windows 8. There are two ways to retrieve your files via Shadow Volume Copy. You can do it using native Windows Previous Versions or via Shadow Explorer. a) Native Windows Previous Versions Right-click on an encrypted file and select Properties → Previous versions tab. Now you will see all available copies of that particular file and the time when it was stored in a Shadow Volume Copy. Choose the version of the file you want to retrieve and click Copy if you want to save it to some directory of your own, or Restore if you want to replace existing, encrypted file. If you want to see the content of file first, just click Open.
b) Shadow Explorer It is a program that can be found online for free. You can download either a full or a portable version of Shadow Explorer. Open the program. On the left top corner select the drive where the file you are looking for is a stored. You will see all folders on that drive. To retrieve a whole folder, right-click on it and select “Export”. Then choose where you want it to be stored.
Step 4. Use Data Recovery programs to recover Access Ransomware (.access files) encrypted filesThere are several data recovery programs that might recover encrypted files as well. This does not work in all cases but you can try this:
- We suggest using another PC and connect the infected hard drive as slave. It is still possible to do this on infected PC though.
- Download a data recovery program.
- Install and scan for recently deleted files.