ArgusCryptor Virus - How to remove

ArgusCryptor or simply Argus ransomware is a dangerous computer infection that can completely take over your system and ruin most of your personal files.  Fortunately, this change is not permanent – there is a way to reverse the process and clean the system, restoring files that have been encrypted.

Some cyber security experts also refer to this infection as Argus Cyptor V1.0. Regardless of how you call it, it’s a lethal crypto virus that is capable of locking personal files stored on the infected computer employing strong cryptography. The business model is simply – they try to infiltrate ArgusCryptor into as many computers as possible and encrypt data stored there. Then they will propose you a deal – you pay a ransom and they provide a special decryption tool that can unlock your files and make them usable once again.

If it has happened to you and all your personal files are encrypted at the moment, do not panic and don’t contact cyber criminals, nor pay the ransom. There are other, better alternatives that you should go for. Please continue reading this article and learn all about ArgusCryptor ransomware, as well as how to remove it and decrypt encrypted files.

Report on ArgusCryptor Ransomware

ArgusCryptor Virus Removal

It seems that ArgusCryptor is an original virus, not copied or based on some other ransomware infections. At the same time, it shares various similarities with other ransomware viruses. It employs AES/RSA cryptography to encrypt files stored on the hard drive of the infected computer, so it is extremely difficult to unlock them without having a unique decryption key.

If you are wondering how to acquire this key, there is only one way – to pay the ransom. The key is generated and assigned to every infected computer by cyber criminals behind ArgusCryptor, they store it on a remote server that is not accessible by any means, so they should send it to you after the payment. It is not known how much you will be asked to pay, but even if that’s not a lot of money, you should not do that.

After the virus is successfully uploaded to your computer, encryption process starts automatically. During this process, the structure of your files are changed and that’s why you can’t open them anymore. All of the encrypted files are labeled with .argus  extension. Also, after the encryption, you will notice a new file named “argus-decrypt.html” placed on the desktop. It is a ransom note and it contains instructions inside. Original text from the note:

.-=| ARGUS CRYPTOR V1.0 |=-. Attention! All your files, documents, photos, databases and other important files are encrypted! The only method of recovering files is to purchase an unique private key. Only WE can recover your files! You can get the private key by email as well as through a closed TOR network. You can get there by the following ways <—————————————————————————————-> Main email : [email protected] Reserved email : [email protected] Follow the instructions If the answer for a long time no Download Tor browser – Install Tor browser Open Tor Browser Open link in TOR browser: http://argusqug6aw25gye.onion/ Follow the instructions on this page <—————————————————————————————-> You can get the opportunity to decrypt 1 file for free. ATTENTION! IN ORDER TO PREVENT DATA DAMAGE: * DO NOT MODIFY ENCRYPTED FILES * DO NOT DELETE ENCRYPTED FILES * DO NOT RENAME ENCRYPTED FILES

Also, your wallpaper will be changed to this message:

Dear admin!
All your files has been encrypted!
For encrypting used cryptographic algorithm RSA2048.
Only we can provide you decryptor.
Read the lnstructions.html for more information.
You can find this file everywhere on your PC.
Only we can provide you decryptor.
Do not attempt to decrypt the data yourself.
You might corrupt your files.
Don’t Delete Encrypted Files
Don’t Modify Encrypted Files
Don’t Rename Encrypted Files

They use common social engineering technique by saying that you should not try to recover files or do something else – this should prevent victims from looking for alternatives and force them to pay the ransom. Other ransomware infections, such as GrujaRSoriumDCRTR-WDM, or SnowPicnic also employ this technique. They also offer you to send them 1 encrypted file, so they can decrypt and send it back to you, thus providing a proof that they have a working technology to do that.

However, we do not recommend contacting them nor paying the ransom. Emails used to contact with cyber criminals – [email protected] and [email protected].

ArgusCryptor Virus ransom note

Removal of ArgusCryptor Virus

Now you have to understand that removal of ArgusCryptor virus is not equal to the decryption of files. However, the later one has no point without the first one. That means you need to remove the actual infection first. To do this, you should scan your system with Spyhunter. This program can provide protection against ransomware and also eliminate viruses that are already operating on your computer. After the scan, ArgusCryptor and all files related to it will be automatically removed.

Next, you need to retrieve files that have been locked. Since free decryptor for this specific virus is not available yet, you can either restore it from a backup or use files recovery tool. If you have the backup that was made before this infection hit your system and it is not corrupted by the virus, follow instructions on how to perform a system restore and set your system to a previous state. In case such backup is not available, try using ’free.

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How to recover ArgusCryptor Virus 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 ArgusCryptor Virus 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 ArgusCryptor Virus

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 ArgusCryptor Virus. You can check other tools here.  

Step 3. Restore ArgusCryptor Virus 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 ArgusCryptor Virus 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 ArgusCryptor Virus 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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