Alka ransomware is a new malicious program spreading among pirated files. It gets downloaded on the computers of those who download infected files from the internet. Alka may install a spyware trojan but, most importantly, it encrypts most files and makes them unopenable and unusable. It also marks them by adding a second “.alka” extension to their names. Alka can be deleted with an antivirus program, but that won’t fix your files; fixing the files is tricky and not always possible.
Alka Ransomware quicklinks
- Alka infection signs
- How to remove the Alka ransomware
- How to fix the locked files
- Important -- edit the hosts file to unblock security websites
- Find and edit the hosts file
- Download and run the antivirus program
- Automatic Malware removal tools
- How to recover Alka Ransomware 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 Alka Ransomware encrypted files
Alka ransomware is pretty dangerous:
|Type of threat||Ransomware,
|Symptoms||Files renamed to end with “.alka”,
the files are broken,
“_readme.txt” notes everywhere.
|How to remove Alka ransomware||Unblock websites that Alka blocked,
use an antivirus program, such as SpyHunter, to remove all malware.
|How to get the files back||Restore from a backup,
make backups of the locked files,
use alternative methods (like data recover),
wait for the offline key and use the decrypter.
Alka infection signs
Alka spreads in pirating websites: it infects various wanted files, installers, cracking tools, keygens, and activated programs. Basically, if you tried to get an Office suite or another expensive commercial program for free, that’s probably how Alka made it on your computer.
Alka is a type of Djvu ransomware. Spreading in pirating sites has allowed Djvu to become one of, if not the most, widespread ransomware in the word that affects individual PC users (as opposed to big businesses and organizations). Other recent examples of Djvu include Npsg, Btos, and Topi.
While Alka was new, it was difficult for antivirus programs to recognize, which may explain how it was able to infect your PC.
Alka probably did a few things on your computer:
- installed Azorult, which in turn may download adware,
- downloaded the unique decryption key,
- blocked cybersecurity blogs,
- showed a fake Windows Update pop-up,
- encrypted most user files (but not operating system files),
- created ransom notes with the requirements to contact [email protected] or [email protected] and to send money.
Most obviously, Alka changes file names to include a second file extension: “.alka”. For example, a file that was used to be called “picture.jpg” becomes “picture.jpg.alka”.
How to remove the Alka ransomware
If you have complete file backups, it’s easy to just start over – format your drive, deleting everything on it, reinstalling everything, and repopulating it with your files. Although, it should be good enough to just remove the malware. If you don’t have backups, then you may want to keep the encrypted data. You don’t need to delete the ransom notes or the encrypted “.alka” files because they are not dangerous.
Alka doesn’t just encrypt your files, it tries to make it as difficult as possible to recover from the infection. Including blocking security websites and deleted crucial antivirus files. So, although most reputable antivirus programs, such as SpyHunter, could be used to delete Alka, to download them on the infected device, you may need to fix some system settings first.
If you do notice some websites, including this one, being blocked on the infected computer, the instructions for how to fix the hosts file are below. Alternatively, you can scan your infected drives from another computer, after connecting them like removable media.
Besides getting rid of all the malware and infected files (like the file that first downloaded Alka on your computer), you may also need to change your passwords in case the spyware trojan stole them. Do this on a device that you’re sure is clean.
How to fix the locked files
Alka ransomware uses proper, secure encryption to lock your files. Every victim has a unique encryption key assigned to them that Alka downloads from the command-and-control server. Each decryption key is only known to the extortionists behind this operation and is a necessary tool to decrypt the files. There is no trick that could change this – ransomware researchers know this, and they have already examined this ransomware quite thoroughly.
However, there is an exception: sometimes, Alka can’t connect to the command-and-control server. To find out if yours did, examine your IDs in the _readme.txt files or the SystemID\PersonalID.txt file. If any of your IDs end with “t1”, that’s usually a sign that Alka ransomware failed to download a unique encryption key and had to use a backup – the offline key. This one is the same for each victim.
There’s a decrypter released by Emsisoft for Djvu ransomware, including Alka. If some poor victim of Alka pays the extortionists, gets the offline key, and shares it with Emsisoft, the key will be made available to everyone for free. There’s no telling if and when this might happen.
Other potential file recovery options, including data recovery, are described below, in the last section of this article. They may or may not work in your case, but it might be worth trying.
Finally, you may be able to get back some data from big files – including archives, images, video, and audio – that Alka only encrypts partially. For example, try opening an encrypted archive:
- make a copy of the “.alka” file,
- rename the file to its original name (for example, change pics.zip.alka to pics.zip),
- open the archive.
Some of the archived files should be okay.
Important -- edit the hosts file to unblock security websitesTL DR : The hosts file is edited to block security sites Before the virus can be removed, it's necessary to fix the hosts file (the file which controls which addresses connect to which IPs). That is the reason the majority of security websites is inaccessible when infected with this particular parasite. This infection edits this file to stop certain websites, including anti-malware download sites, from being accessed from the infected computer, making browsers return the "This site can't be reached" error. Luckily, it's trivial to fix the file and remove the edits that were made to it.
Find and edit the hosts fileThe hosts file can be found on C:/Windows/System32/Drivers/etc/hosts. If you don't see it, change the settings to see hidden files.
- In the Start Menu, search for Control Panel.
- In the Control Panel, find Appearance and Personalization.
- Select Folder Options.
- Open the View tab.
- Open Advanced settings.
- Select "Show hidden files...".
- Select OK.
- Open the Start Menu and enter "notepad".
- When Notepad shows up in the result, right-click on it.
- In the menu, choose "Run as administrator"
- File->Open and browse for the hosts file.
Download and run the antivirus programAfter that, download antivirus programs and use them to remove the ransomware, the trojan, and other malware. Spyhunter (https://www.2-viruses.com/reviews/spyhunter/dwnld/).
Automatic Malware removal tools
How to recover Alka Ransomware 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 Alka has infiltrated to your system and then click “Next”.
- To start System restore click “Yes”.
Step 2. Complete removal of Alka RansomwareAfter restoring your system, it is recommended to scan your computer with an anti-malware program, like Spyhunter and remove all malicious files related to Alka. You can check other tools here.
Step 3. Restore Alka Ransomware 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 Alka 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 Alka Ransomware 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.