CryptoWall virus - How to remove

CryptoWall virus

CryptoWall virus is a ransomware program that affects Windows users and is one of the most popular ransomwares now. It encrypts all your files using RSA-2048 algorithm and does not allow you to access them. In order to decrypt these files the malware tells you to pay $500 in bitcoins. Beware that CryptoWall virus was designed by cyber criminals and it only wants to rip you off. You should never pay for the creators of this virus as there are no guarantees you will get your data back.

CryptoWall virus may enter your system if you visit some malicious websites or click on a fake message imitating an update for your Java, Flash Player, etc. It is distributed with spam messages as well. Once inside, the program pretends to scan your system and then it encrypts your files. Then it creates files (DECRYPT_INSTRUCTION.txt, DECRYPT_INSTRUCTION.html and DECRYPT_INSTRUCTION.url) with ransom instructions in every folder that contains the encrypted files. The instructions explain how to access CryptoWall Decrypt Service and pay the ransom. Here is how they look like:

What happened to your files?

All of your files were protected by a strong encryption with RSA-2048 using CryptoWall. More information about the encryption keys using RSA-2048 can be found here: system)

What does this mean?

This means that the structure and data within your files have been irrevocably changed, you will not be able to work with them, read them or see them, it is the same thing as losing them forever, but with our help, you can restore them.

How did this happen?

Especially for you, on our server was generated the secret key pair RSA-2048 – public and private. All your files were encrypted with the public key, which has been transferred to your computer via the Internet. Decrypting of your files is only possible with the help of the private key and decrypt program, which is on our secret server.

What do I do?

Alas, if you do not take the necessary measures for the specified time then the conditions for obtaining the private key will be changed. If you really value your data, then we suggest you do not waste valuable time searching for the solutions because they do not exist.

The maker website is accessed through TOR network only. This browser is used by cyber criminals in order to hide their identities as the webserver location is hidden. CryptoWall virus uses RSA encryption with 2048 bit key length which is really hard to break. The best way to prevent data loss is to use backup software and scan your PC and emails with anti-malware programs.

Always have a reputable antispyware program installed to your computer and update it regularly. If your system has already been attacked try running a full scan using Spyhunter, malwarebytes or other legitimate antispyware.

Versions of Cryptowall virus

Cryptowall 2.0. This version is very similar to Cryptowall virus. However, Cryptowall 2.0 creates a unique bitcoin payment address for each victim, while before it used one bitcoin payment address for all victims. It tries to make a victim pay 500 USD, 500 EUR or 0.5 Bitcoin. This version also uses their own Web-to-TOR gateways (,, and, which allow them to remain hidden from authorities. Cryptowall 2.0. may delete your original data files and doesn’t allow using data recovery tools, so if you don’t have backups, you may lose your data forever.

Cryptowall 3.0. This is another version of this ransomware. It appends .aaa after the original files names and extensions that are encrypted by this ransomware. Decryption and ransom payment instructions are now stored in restore_files_[random letters].html and restore_files_[random letters].txt files. Cryptowall 3.0 is distributes with exploit kits, so it can get into computers easier.

Cryptowall 4.0 is the newest version of this ransomware that is distributed using Nuclear Exploit Kit of this purposes. It employs “vastly improved” communications and better design code so that it can exploit more vulnerabilities. This means that Cryptowall infections are even more likely and dangerous. It was using spam emails only. More distribution methods mean there are far bigger chances to get an infection.

How to recover CryptoWall 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 CryptoWall 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 CryptoWall 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 CryptoWall virus. You can check other tools here.  

Step 3. Restore CryptoWall 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 CryptoWall 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 CryptoWall 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.

Removal guides in other languages

One response to “CryptoWall virus

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *