BANKS [email protected] Ransomware - How to remove

Banks ransomware was discovered recently, in the last few weeks, after some victims reported it. This malware is a part of a crypto extortion attack that’s meant to collect money from the victims who agree to pay to fix the damage that the Banks virus has done.

What this ransomware does is use cryptography to lock files so securely that the only way to decrypt them is to get the decryption key from the criminals responsible for this infection. The virus is similar to Phoenix, Borishorse, and almost any semi-professional cryptomalware.

Those who have prepared for an event like this only need to delete Banks and restore their data from a backup, but others might have a difficult time trying to recover their data. And everybody needs to secure their RDP to not allow any more ransomware of this type to infect their computers. Otherwise, repeat infections by Banks are almost certain to happen.

Banks virus description

Banks is a competent and well-made piece of ransomware. Knowing how it works can help people protect themselves against it, however, once it gets on a system, the only way to really avoid the pain that it brings is to have been prepared before the infection.

Setting up good-quality data backups is, as always, the main piece of advice for how to deal with any ransomware out there. There are other important security measures, too, but knowing the features of Banks ([email protected]) ransomware is needed.

Recognize, remove, and protect yourself against Banks ransomware:

Identity of the malware
  • “Banks” after the extension of the locked files
  • Ransomware
  • Phobos family nr. 2315
  • Email address — [email protected]
Distribution Installed after breaking Remote Desktop protections
Options for restoring the files
  • Backups
  • Data recovery
Elimination of Banks ransomware
  • Anti-malware tools (Spyhunter)
  • Improve RDP security
  • Set up quality file backups


Banks is a type of Phobos ransomware and is only one version of many. The symptoms of this ransomware include these:

  • Files won’t open and have their names changed.
  • The suffix given to each encrypted files is “.id[[random]-2315].[[email protected]].BANKS”.
  • Banks creates ransom notes into.txt and info.hta.
  • The email address that’s given in the notes and the file names is “[email protected]”.
  • Banks starts up every time the computer is run again and it tries to encrypt other devices on the same network.
  • Of course, not all files are encrypted — Banks skips the Windows files that are needed to run the operating system; if the computer is completely broken, the user can’t see where the criminals want money sent to.
  • The bigger files are not completely encrypted and have portions of the file’s beginning, middle, and end corrupted.
  • Shadow copies and backups are deleted to prevent restoring the files.

This is all typical behavior of competent ransomware and is mirrored in other cryptovirus infections.

Most of the victims of Banks probably got it thanks to open Remote Desktop. When anyone is allowed to try to connect to a server or computer, and if criminals find such a connection, they brute-force the credentials — or they could use phishing to get them, if the target is attractive enough. Anyone with a poorly secured RDP connection is vulnerable to a virus like Banks, and there are a lot of vulnerable machines.

BANKS Ransomware

After Banks encrypt some files, it displays the into.hta message, a gray, blue, and red text that offers free decryption of a file to test the extortionists and make sure that they really can decrypt the files. The note also instructs the victim to buy Bitcoins and urges them to hurry to contact the extortionists or else the price will increase (the price is usually already high, a few thousand dollars).

Unfortunately, no free decryption method exists and using the decrypter that the criminals provide is useless without knowing your personal decryption key. Anyone who offers to decrypt the files for a fee about as high as the criminals want should be viewed with suspicion. However, some specialists might be able to recover some files of specific types and sizes in certain circumstances. Be very careful if anyone offers decryption for a fee and don’t trust any offers that are too good to be true, but it’s true that Banks cuts a few corners when trying to encrypt as many files as possible, as quickly as possible.

Remove Banks ransomware

The virus can be removed using a competent antivirus program (there is Spyhunter and other applications that could do this) and security can be improved (with regular software updates, stronger passwords, a better firewall). However, this won’t fix the encrypted files.

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The files can be restored from a backup that wasn’t touched by Banks, like an offline drive or cloud storage. It’s difficult to recover from ransomware without the help of backups, even though some helpful methods exist. There is the hope that the virus failed to work correctly, or was interrupted and some files aren’t encrypted at all, or that shadow copies weren’t deleted. Review these options. It’s also possible to use data recovery tools and get some decent results but your mileage may vary.

If you decide to pay the ransom, don’t reveal information about yourself and don’t allow access to your computer unless that’s necessary. Also, create backups of your encrypted files to avoid corrupting them accidentally. Remember to scan your computer thoroughly with antivirus programs before using your computer again, especially for anything sensitive, such as online banking; cybercriminals will use anything that might give them a chance to profit.

How to recover BANKS [email protected] 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 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 BANKS [email protected] 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 BANKS [email protected] Ransomware

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 BANKS [email protected] Ransomware. You can check other tools here.  

Step 3. Restore BANKS [email protected] Ransomware 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 BANKS [email protected] 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 BANKS [email protected] Ransomware 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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