Adage Cryptovirus - How to remove

Phobos, an offshoot of Dharma ransomware, has released another variant — Adage (different from Adame ransomware). Adage is just like any other file-locking ransomware that uses cryptography to deny the victims access to their files. To get you to contact the criminals, this virus renames the files by adding the “Adage” extension and the “[email protected]” email address to the name of each locked file.

Phobos is not a new virus, Adage is just a new edition — like Banta, Help, or Frendi.

Adage corrupts files

Obviously, Adage is extremely destructive and dangerous to those who didn’t have file backups set up. After all, the virus basically destroys the files it affects — and the ransom to get them back is often a few thousand dollars. Moreover, a lot of Dharma and Phobos variants are distributed by criminals who don’t have the intention of restoring the files after they receive their money.

Likely, Adage doesn’t effectively encrypt all the file types (some are possible to fix by just removing the extension), but it does plenty of damage. Like all ransomware, Adage targets files that are likely to be important to the victims: databases, pictures, documents, text files, 3D models. It edits them, changing their data according to an encryption algorithm and not revealing the decryption key. The encryption takes longer than some other modern cryptoviruses, which probably means that it’s more secure.

There is no free option to decrypt the files. It’s possible that, in the future, some sort of master decryption key will be released, maybe law enforcement will catch the developers of Adage, or maybe Phobos will be cracked like an early version of Dharma was, and a free decrypter made available for everyone on But these options are far from certain and not very realistic.

Luckily, there are some options for getting the files back: some victims have had luck with data recovery programs. Others have found that their ransomware failed to delete Shadow Copies and they can restore the files to how they were before the attack. And some manage to stop the virus while it was acting, saving some of their data from being corrupted by the Adage virus.

Adage ransomware, the ransom note

Adage infects computers in a few ways

Adage doesn’t discriminate and targets individuals as well as businesses. The infection can arrive in a few different ways, the most likely of which are:

  • Using Remote Desktop.
  • Hidden in pirated programs.
  • Attached to emails.

Criminals look for Remote Desktop connections that allow anyone to try and connect, then they guess the most common usernames and passwords. Generic passwords like “Admin123” are very vulnerable, especially if they’re protecting a powerful account. RDP can be properly secured, though the measures depend on the situation. But the fact that so many people fail to limit who can connect and don’t set complex passwords allows the criminals responsible for spreading Adage to infect new computers and claim new victims.

Cracks and nongenuine software can also infect computers with Adage. Even high-reputation sources can turn and start spreading ransomware, so even if you think you know what you’re doing when pirating, don’t neglect to take all available security measures — scan the files and test them.

A problem with pirated programs is the fact that it’s often missing security updates which makes it vulnerable to being exploited by a variety of malware. Security flaws that should have been patched can be used by malware to worm its way into your computer without you even noticing.

Sometimes ransomware is sent out with spam emails to thousands of recipients at once. Some spam emails are crafted incredibly well, so strict rules are required to check every file if you want to avoid an infection.

How to remove Adage

Using a competent antivirus program, such as Spyhunter, should be enough to eliminate Adage — some people choose to reinstall Windows completely, but that shouldn’t be necessary. Removing the security flaws that Adage exploited to get on your system is very important to avoid future infections. Of course, file backups are the most important.

The guide below describes a few ways to get lost data back without paying a ransom. They aren’t equally effective for everyone, but always worth trying. It’s advisable to keep a backup of the corrupted “[original name].id[[random]-2250].[[email protected]].adage” files so that they don’t get corrupted even further.

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How to recover Adage Cryptovirus 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 RestartOK.
  • Press F8 key repeatedly until Advanced Boot Options window appears.
  • Choose Safe Mode with Command Prompt. Windows 7 enter safe mode

for Windows 8 / 10
  • Press Power at Windows login screen. Then press and hold Shift key and click Restart. Windows 8-10 restart to safe mode
  • Choose TroubleshootAdvanced OptionsStartup Settings and click Restart.
  • When it loads, select Enable Safe Mode with Command Prompt from the list of Startup Settings. Windows 8-10 enter safe mode

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.CMD commands
  • Click “Next” in the windows that appeared. Restore point img1
  • Select one of the Restore Points that are available before Adage Ransomware has infiltrated to your system and then click “Next”. Restore point img2
  • To start System restore click “Yes”. Restore point img3

Step 2. Complete removal of Adage Cryptovirus

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 Adage Ransomware. You can check other tools here.  

Step 3. Restore Adage Cryptovirus affected files using Shadow Volume Copies

If 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 Adage Ransomware 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 PropertiesPrevious 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.
Previous version
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.
Shadow explorer

Step 4. Use Data Recovery programs to recover Adage Cryptovirus encrypted files

There 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. Data Recovery Pro
Note: In many cases it is impossible to restore data files affected by modern ransomware. Thus I recommend using decent cloud backup software as precaution. We recommend checking out Carbonite, BackBlaze, CrashPlan or Mozy Home.

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