EOEO ransomware - How to remove

On September 6th, 2018 MalwareHunterTeam shared on their Twitter another ransomware discovery called EOEO. EOEO ransomware was named after Korean boyband’s (UNIQ) song, but the virus is targeting the whole world, not being prevalent to just Asian region. Apart from the expected ‘encrypt-and-ask-for-the-ransom’ behavior, there are a few unusual features that separate EOEO cryptovirus from other ransomware.

EOEO cryptovirus could be considered really dangerous because the removal can be very difficult compared to other types of malware, and even after the compromised computer is cleaned, encrypted files stay locked. It almost seems that there is no solution for the EOEO ransomware infection except for paying hackers for the decryptor and hoping for the best. Fortunately, this is not fully true and actually, we will show you several ways not only how to remove EOEO virus but also how to possibly get the encrypted files back afterward.

What is EOEO ransomware

EOEO virus is a type of malicious software that crooks are using to sort of ‘kidnap’ victim’s personal files by making them inaccessible and demanding for the virtual ransom in order to decrypt them. You can see this behavior in many other malware threats like Pottieq, OPdailyaallowance, .lockymap or Pico ransomware. But according to the malware researchers and VirusTotal, there may be some original qualities about this notorious virtual parasite.

Firstly, let’s start with the basic unique features that distinguish ransomware from each other – extension, Encrypting method and a ransom note. EOEO ransomware uses a very short and simple .eoeo file name extension for data that was locked during the infection process. This cryptovirus runs symmetrical AES algorithm locking the targeted files (which are only personal because they are more precious for the victim and encrypting them does not ruin the system, so compromised user has means to send cryptocurrency to hackers). The analysis also showed that EOEO ransomware was written in AutoIt language (a freeware automation language for Windows to create macros, which are useful).

EOEO ransomware virus

But the really surprising feature was that EOEO virus was able to encrypt files several times, actually as much as 8 and more, making the affected data end up with a repetitive and very long name. Regular ‘song.mp3’ file would end up looking like ‘song.mp3.eoeo.eoeo.eoeo.eoeo.eoeo.eoeo’ depending on how many locking rounds ransomware would run. This reoccurring encryption makes decrypting very hard because the unlocking mechanism has to be adjusted for every set, therefore crooks have more time before cybersecurity experts will come up with the unlocking program, at the same time getting more money from desperate victims.

Another strange behavior, which showed that there was a flaw made when developing EOEO malware, was empty ransom notes. EOEO virus dropped multiple ransom text files called ‘Readme.lol’ in various directories, yet none of them had anything written, which is necessary for the successful ransomware attack since the victim is informed about the required payment, the current situation of the computer and contact information of the developer. This missing part is crucial, and even those who were ready to pay the ransom, cannot do it.

How is EOEO ransomware distributed

As mentioned before, EOEO ransomware uses AutoIt language, which allows creating free macros, that can be inserted into Word documents. This shows that most likely, instead of all malware distribution ways, socially engineered emails with malicious .doc/.docx attachments is the main EOEO cryptovirus spreading method. As you may have heard from the headlines of other ransomware like Locky, whose payload was distributed in 23 million emails, malspam can be a very effective way to infect a vast majority of people. (The best tips to avoid socially engineered attacks)

These emails usually contain some short body message which is trying to convince the recipient to download and open the attached file for more info, which can be very important. Once the victim does launch the bogus file, it will not show anything or a very blurred screen, and ask to enable macros to access the content. If the person does allow it, then EOEO virus get the permission to silently start settling in the Windows OS, while the victim will still be confused why the document did not show anything. (How macros bypass antivirus)

How to fix EOEO ransomware infection and decrypt files

EOEO ransomware case can be solved only in one way: virus removal with file recovery afterwards. Since there is no crooks email or crypto wallet to even consider sending them any virtual coins, then there is no reason to keep it any longer. You can achieve a clean system by either running an automatic removal scan or doing it yourself manually. For the latter please read the section below, but if you are looking for something that can solve your issue fast, then invest into a reliable malware removal tool like Spyhunter, Malwarebytes Amongst all the security tools (which can include fake ones too) these programs do their best hunting and terminating any application that causes harm to your PC. All you have to do is to run a full system scan with them and in a matter of minutes, EOEO virus should be long gone. Moreover, they can stop new threats before they settle on the computer, helping you to prevent similar situations.

The decryption should not be an issue in the near future, but as for right now, there is no decryptor available. It is imperative that once you remove the EOEO virus you do not delete files because they are locked. AES cipher and hardcoded encryption key give positive hopes that malware specialists will figure out the unlocking process very soon and help those who have been affected by EOEO ransomware. This which you can check every now and then to see if it was updated with EOEO one too. If you cannot wait and encrypted files need to be accessed sooner, please, take a look at the instructions below our various file recovery techniques.

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How to get rid of the EOEO virus yourself

Manually, the best recovery from any malware, but especially so notorious as EOEO ransomware, is to restore the system from the backups, if you make those, of course. This is why in cases like this, it is so necessary to have a plan B and be ready to restore your system to a previous state before you got yourself a destructive EOEO virus. If you don’t believe in backups and certainly do not want to clear the system losing most files, then the best option would be to just go with the anti-spyware tool. Although, if that is not possible, feel free to try our ransomware recovery guide below.

How to recover EOEO 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 EOEO 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 EOEO 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 EOEO ransomware. You can check other tools here.  

Step 3. Restore EOEO 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 EOEO 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 EOEO 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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