HadesLocker virus - How to remove

HadesLocker virus was first detected on the 5 of October as a crypto-ransomware. Its main purpose is to startle users and make them pay the ransom out of the devastation that arrives together with the ransom note. The initial price for the decryption key reaches 1 Bitcoin which seems like a medium-sized fee. However, once you convert a bitcoin to US dollars, you will see that 615.49 USD could be spent for more meaningful purposes. By paying the demanded ransom to HadesLocker virus, you will only act as a sponsor for further infections. As long as there are individuals that respond to the threats and pay the required fee, there will be ransomware viruses. The best option in this case is to eliminate HadesLocker virus with an appropriate tool, before making copies of all of the encrypted data. Once you survive this infection, please do not disregard the importance of back-up storages. Upload your data there and you will be able to retrieve it from these facilities any time you want.

About HadesLocker virus

The aspects of HadesLocker virus infiltration are quite similar to the ransomware infections we have already analyzed. It is presumable that this variant is a relative of WildFire virus. The latter one was forced to shut its business off when the good guys managed to gain access to the Command and Control servers. This helped security researchers gather information about the virus and find the decryption keys for the infected victims. However, the creators were not silent for long and introduced a new variant: HadesLocker. Hades, in ancient Greek mythology, is a ruler of the underworld. We can surely find this reference understandable as the ransomware virus is attempted to be introduced as a totally tough infection.


Once your device get infected with the payload of HadesLocker virus, it will have to undergo some major changes. These modifications will be invisible to the user himself/herself until the time is just right. Every payload modifies Windows Registry Keys for the sake of being automatically ran together with all of the users’ files and programs. HadesLocker virus will act secretively and try to initiate scanning for files to encrypt as quietly as possible. As soon as it has found a solid amount of files to ruin, it will do that without any remorse. Redemption is not something that ransomware viruses seek as they are only going after money. After the encryption has been done, the payload will contact the Command and Control server which is run by its founders. The payload will connect to Ip-api.com/xml domain to get acquainted with the infected victim. Mostly technical information and locations are going to be sent to the creators of the virus. It is a possible notion that HadesLocker uses AES encryption to encode the selected files. All of the ruined data will be appended with “.~HL” extension to identify that this file is corrupted. Actually, the extension is going to be longer as the first three numbers are going to join it at the end. These seemingly unimportant numbers are the first ones in the encryption password. For example:

MyVacation.docm becomes MyVacation.docm.~HL874.

Some files that are targeted:

docm,.dot,.dotm,.dotx,.drw,.dxb,.eps,.fla,.flac,.fxg,.java,.m,.m4v,.max,.mdb,.pcd,.pct,.pl,.potm,.potx,. ppam, .ppsm, .ppsx, .pptm, .ps, .pspimage, .r3d, .rw2, .sldm, .sldx, .svg, .tga, .wps, .xla, .xlam, .xlm, .xlr, .xlsm, .xlt, .xltm, .xltx, .xlw, .act, .adp, .al, .bkp, .blend, .cdf, .cdx, .cgm, .cr2, .crt, .dac, .dbf, .dcr, .ddd, .design, .dtd, .fdb, .fff, .fpx, .h, .iif, .indd, .jpeg, .mos, .nd, .nsd, .nsf, .nsg, .nsh, .odc, .odp, .oil, .pas, .pat, .pef, .pfx, .ptx, .qbb, .qbm, .sas7bdat, .say, .st4, .st6, .stc, .sxc, .sxw, .tlg, .wad, .xlk, .aiff, .bin, .bmp, .cmt, .dat, .dit, .edb, .flvv, .gif, .groups, .hdd, .hpp, .log, .m2ts, .m4p, .mkv, .mpeg, .ndf, .nvram, .ogg, .ost, .pab, .pdb, .pif, .png, .qed, .qcow, .qcow2, .rvt, .st7, .stm, .vbox, .vdi, .vhd, .vhdx, .vmdk, .vmsd, .vmx, .vmxf, .3fr, .3pr, .ab4, .accde, .accdr, .accdt, .ach, .acr, .adb, .ads, .agdl, .ait, .apj, .asm, .awg, .back, .backup, .backupdb, .bank, .bay, .bdb.

The HadesLocker virus will remove all Shadow Volume Copies so it won’t be possible to restore them in such a way. Ransomware also has its own official page where people can get more information about the virus and the payment system. A screenshot of the website can be seen in the photo above.

How is HadesLocker Virus Distributed?

HadesLocker virus can be distributed as a Trojan. In these cases, you are convinced to download a file which is presented to you quite nicely. In your email account you might get a letter suggesting that you should open a very interesting photo or that your bank account is facing some security issues. If you download an attachment or follow the presented link, you might trigger a downloading process and end up with a payload of a ransomware. To avoid this, never open letters that seem to be questionable. You should also regularly clean your inboxes so you won’t be tempted to open such messages at all.

How to Decrypt Files Encrypted by HadesLocker Virus?

HadesLocker virus has not been cracked at the moment. However, we hope that security researchers will figure out a way to generate an appropriate decryption tool. Until then, you can try your luck with the universal tools that help many people get back at least some part of their files. At first, this variant asks for one bitcoin in exchange for the decryption key. However, after a week of hesitation, the price is raised to 2 bitcoins. You should never give in to the crooks and wait for the security researchers to come up with a plan. To get rid of this infection, you can try Spyhunter or Hitman.

Update of the 5th of December, 2016. Hades Locker encrypting malware has recently been spread by Waledac malware, also referred to as Kelihos botnet.

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

Step 3. Restore HadesLocker 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 HadesLocker 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 HadesLocker 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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