Karma Ransomware - How to remove

Slipstream/RoL, one of the cyber security researchers, posted the ransom note of the new Karma ransomware on his Twitter account yesterday, that is, on the 14th of November, 2016. This new ransomware virus is a typical asymmetric encrypter, communicating with the C&C (Command and Control) server, but the method it is being distributed is quite a distinct one. Karma ransomware is spread in the manner common to the distribution of PUPs – potentially unwanted programs. This troubling program is bundled with the specific free application. Fortunately, at present Karma ransomware virus can not pose a threat, since its C&C server has been shut down. However, this does not mean that the ransomware should necessarily become extinct.

What Spreads Karma Ransomware?

Windows-TuneUp is the PUP, which is bundled with Karma crytomalware. It is an optimization tool for Windows, which is supposed to optimize the processes on Windows so that your PC became faster in performing its daily routine. Once the user downloads and installs Windows-TuneUp program, Karma ransomware starts running on his computer as an unexpected extra. The screen of Windows-TuneUp application looks like this:


Its official download page is presented in the following screenshot. However, as we have already clarified, the server has been removed.


The Process of Encryption by Karma Ransomware

When Karma file-encrypting malware begins operating on the victim’s machine, meaning the Windows-TuneUp.exe has been launched, it carries out the scan of the local, as well as network drives except for the folders, containing the following strings:

program files
program files (x86)
usersall users
publicmusicsample music
publicpicturessample pictures
publicvideossample videos
tor browser

Karma crypto-locker aims at the files of the following type:

.1cd, .3dm, .3ds, .3fr, .3g2, .3gp, .3gp2, .3gpp, .3pr, .7z, .7zip, .aac, .ab4, .abd, .acc, .accda, .accdb, .accdc, .accde, .accdr, .accdt, .accdu, .accdw, .ace, .ach, .acr, .act, .adb, .ade, .adn, .adp, .ads, .agdl, .ai, .aiff, .ait, .al, .amr, .aoi, .apj, .apk, .arj, .arw, .asax, .ascx, .asf, .ashx, .asm, .asmx, .asp, .aspx, .asset, .asx, .atb, .au, .avi, .awg, .back, .backup, .backupdb, .bak, .bank, .bay, .bdb, .bgt, .bik, .bin, .bkp, .blend, .bmp, .bpw, .bsa, .bz, .bz2, .c, .caf, .cash, .cdb, .cdf, .cdr, .cdr3, .cdr4, .cdr5, .cdr6, .cdrw, .cdx, .ce1, .ce2, .cer, .cfg, .cfn, .cgm, .cib, .class, .cls, .cmt, .config, .contact, .cpi, .cpp, .cr2, .craw, .crt, .crw, .cry, .cs, .csh, .cshtml, .csl, .csproj, .css, .csv, .d3dbsp, .dac, .das, .dat, .db, .db_journal, .db3, .dbf, .dbx, .dc2, .dcr, .dcs, .ddd, .ddoc, .ddrw, .dds, .def, .der, .des, .design, .dgc, .dgn, .dit, .djvu, .dng, .doc, .dochtml, .docm, .docx, .docxml, .dot, .dothtml, .dotm, .dotx, .drf, .drw, .dsw, .dtd, .dwg, .dxb, .dxf, .dxg, .edb, .eml, .eps, .erbsql, .erf, .exf, .fdb, .fdf, .ffd, .fff, .fh, .fhd, .fla, .flac, .flb, .flf, .flv, .flvv, .forge, .fpx, .fs, .fsi, .fsproj, .fsscript, .fsx, .fxg, .gbr, .gho, .gif, .gray, .grey, .groups, .gry, .gz, .h, .hbk, .hdd, .hpp, .htaccess, .html, .htpasswd, .ibank, .ibd, .ibz, .idx, .iff, .iif, .iiq, .incpas, .indd, .info, .info_, .ini, .ipsw, .iqy, .iwi, .jar, .java, .jnt, .jpe, .jpeg, .jpg, .js, .json, .k2p, .kc2, .kdbx, .kdc, .key, .kpdx, .kwm, .laccdb, .lbf, .lck, .ldf, .lha, .lit, .litemod, .litesql, .lock, .log, .ltx, .lua, .lzh, .m, .m2ts, .m3u, .m4a, .m4p, .m4v, .ma, .mab, .mapimail, .master, .max, .mbx, .md, .mda, .mdb, .mdc, .mdf, .mdp, .mdt, .mef, .mfw, .mid, .mkv, .mlb, .mmw, .mny, .money, .moneywell, .mos, .mov, .mp2, .mp2v, .mp3, .mp4, .mp4v, .mpa, .mpe, .mpeg, .mpg, .mpg, .mpga, .mpv, .mpv2, .mrw, .msf, .msg, .myd, .nd, .ndd, .ndf, .nef, .nk2, .nop, .nrw, .ns2, .ns3, .ns4, .nsd, .nsf, .nsg, .nsh, .nvram, .nwb, .nx2, .nxl, .nyf, .oab, .obj, .odb, .odc, .odf, .odg, .odm, .odp, .ods, .odt, .ogg, .oil, .omg, .one, .onepkg, .onetoc, .onetoc2, .orf, .ost, .otg, .oth, .otp, .ots, .ott, .p12, .p7b, .p7c, .pab, .pages, .pas, .pat, .pbf, .pcd, .pct, .pdb, .pdd, .pdf, .pdfxml, .pef, .pem, .pfx, .php, .pif, .pl, .plc, .plus_muhd, .pm, .pm!, .pmi, .pmj, .pml, .pmm, .pmo, .pmr, .pnc, .pnd, .png, .pnx, .pot, .pothtml, .potm, .potm, .potx, .ppam, .pps, .ppsm, .ppsm, .ppsx, .ppt, .ppthtml, .pptm, .pptm, .pptx, .pptxml, .prf, .private, .ps, .psafe3, .psd, .pspimage, .pst, .ptx, .pub, .pwm, .pwz, .py, .qba, .qbb, .qbm, .qbr, .qbw, .qbx, .qby, .qcow, .qcow2, .qed, .qtb, .r00, .r01, .r3d, .raf, .ram, .rar, .rat, .raw, .rax, .rdb, .re4, .resx, .rm, .rmm, .rmvb, .rp, .rpt, .rt, .rtf, .rvt, .rw2, .rwl, .rwz, .s3db, .safe, .sas7bdat, .sav, .save, .say, .sd0, .sda, .sdb, .sdf, .settings, .sh, .sldm, .sldx, .slk, .slm, .sln, .sql, .sqlite, .sqlite3, .sqlitedb, .sqlite-shm, .sqlite-wal, .sr2, .srb, .srf, .srs, .srt, .srw, .st4, .st5, .st6, .st7, .st8, .stc, .std, .sti, .stl, .stm, .stw, .stx, .svg, .swf, .sxc, .sxd, .sxg, .sxi, .sxm, .sxw, .tar, .tax, .tbb, .tbk, .tbn, .tex, .tga, .tgz, .thm, .tif, .tiff, .tlg, .tlx, .txt, .upk, .usr, .utorrent, .vb, .vbe, .vbhtml, .vbox, .vbproj, .vbs, .vcf, .vcproj, .vcs, .vcxproj, .vdi, .vdx, .vhd, .vhdx, .vmdk, .vmsd, .vmx, .vmxf, .vob, .vpd, .vsd, .vsix, .vss, .vst, .vsx, .vtx, .wab, .wad, .wallet, .war, .wav, .wb2, .wbk, .web, .wiz, .wm, .wma, .wmf, .wmv, .wmx, .wpd, .wps, .wsf, .wvx, .x11, .x3f, .xdp, .xis, .xla, .xla, .xlam, .xlk, .xlk, .xll, .xlm, .xlr, .xls, .xlsb, .xlsb, .xlshtml, .xlsm, .xlsm, .xlsx, .xlt, .xltm, .xltm, .xltx, .xlw, .xlw, .xml, .xps, .xslt, .xxx, .ycbcra, .yuv, .zip

This abundance of file types is the sub-target of the ransomware – all of them become encrypted. Following the typical behavior of crypto-malwares, Karma encrypting virus renames them by appending the .karma extension to their original filename extensions. For instance, Archive.zip is renamed as Archive.zip.karma. After the encryption of the latter data, two files # DECRYPT MY FILES #.html and # DECRYPT MY FILES #.txt are placed on the desktop. Both of them contain the exact same ransom note, which is the following:


Final Notes

Even though, Karma ransomware is not actively attacking users currently, if the attacks renew, you need to know what to do. The steps must be implemented in the following order. First, you need to make the copy of your infected drives. Then, you need to remove the ransomware. Automatic removal is recommended because of the complexity of ransomware infections. It can be performed with the following security programs: Spyhunter or Malwarebytes. The tutorial for the implementation of the manual removal is rendered below.

Only after you have removed the ransomware, you can think about the recovery of the encrypted files. Backing up of your data ought to become your daily routine. When you back up every important piece of information, in the case of ransomware infiltration, you won’t experience any difficulties apart from the removal of the encrypting malware. It is also worth checking the system restore function, as some of the ransomware threats leave it unaffected. And, of course, you can choose from the data recovery software available, such as Recuva, for example.

How to recover Karma 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 Karma 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 Karma 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 Karma Ransomware. You can check other tools here.  

Step 3. Restore Karma 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 Karma 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 Karma 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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