Gruxer ransomware - How to remove

Gruxer ransomware virus was determined to have 3 main stages. During one of them, sample tries to connect to website and after analyzing it with VirusTotal, we were informed that this site was clean. However, after trying to access the domain, we realized that it does not exist. Holy.exe file is the malicious payload that initiates all of the activity of this ransomware. After executable was scanned by VirusTotal, 51 out of 60 security tools found it harmful and indicated it as a Trojan. File-encryption is achieved thanks to AES cipher. However, currently there is no knowledge about whether an original extension is used to mark files that have been ruined. We are only informed about the fact that filenames are presumably to be left the same and only the small images in shortcuts are changed to a unique picture.

Habits of this crypto-virus

This paragraph will discuss the first stage that Gruxer ransomware initiates, during which infection kicks things off. After being implanted into one of the directories, the virus will complement modifications in Windows Registry Keys. Presumably, holy.exe file could insert more executables which will be responsible for the earlier-mentioned stages Firstly, as the main priority. A screen-locker will prevent victims from fully launching their OS. It is presumed, that Windows devices will be the targeted ones. The image used as a locker will serve the purpose of a ransom note.

Gruxer ransomware

In this letter, hackers will reveal their demands. 250 US Dollars (approximately 0.14295 BTC) are described as the fee. The currency, calculated in brackets, indicates the payment system that a ransom has to be sent. 72 hours are given as the time period in which the fee has to be appointed. After they pass, files are described to remain permanently encrypted.

The second stage of this ransomware infection is meant to run a variant of HiddenTear. During this phase, READ_IT.txt file could be added on victims’ desktops. However, this is when infection starts being a bit odd as the message presented will demand either bitcoins or a kebab. Additionally, the ransom note includes statements that the authors of this infection express profound negative feelings towards night clubs, desserts and the state of being drunk.

Gruxer virus

The third stage is responsible for showing which executables were encrypted. However, despite changing files’ extensions, Gruxer crypto-virus launches a worm in this process which is the one to modify images of shortcuts. A short statement “GRUXER WAS HERE” will be seen on in every corrupted file. However, we cannot help but notice that in none of these stages does the infection present their bitcoin wallet. How do they expect to receive payments then?

Is there anyway to recover files?

Currently, security researchers have not discovered a proper way to help victims of this specific ransomware variant. However, even though you might have to wait until a solution is introduced, paying the ransom is not the way to go. By providing hackers with money, you are encouraging them to continue on this path of creating ransomware infections. Of course, it looks like crooks forgot to include their bitcoin wallet or it was included in a file that was missed by researchers. If you are not currently infected with ransomware, we advise you to backup your files. Either use online backup services or your own USB flash drives.

As for the decryption of Gruxer, we have considered the possible solutions. It is very likely that it won’t be sloppy enough to forget about deleting Shadow Volume Copies, but we recommend that you still check. Another solution would be to use file-recovery tools that are universal for al victims of different ransomware samples.

Possible methods that ransomware can use for distribution

Social networking sites, email accounts, vulnerable websites, online advertisements could all become sources of ransomware if influenced by hackers. Malicious spam campaigns are a very frequent technique, used to deliver harmful executables to users. Odd posts in Facebook or Twitter could also lead you to ransomware. Make sure you never download programs, files or other content from unknown sources. If we are talking about ways to prevent ransomware from entering your system, we advise you to run a full security scan with Spyhunter or Malwarebytes. All of these tools will efficiently remove the Gruxer infection and allow you to move onto file-recovery.

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

Step 3. Restore Gruxer 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 Gruxer 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 Gruxer 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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