Just a few days ago, in early September 2018 MalwareHunterTeam shared a Tweet about a newly discovered ransomware called LIGMA. This is one of many cryptovirus discoveries this month, which is going to add additional work for cybersecurity professionals trying to develop decryptors and keeping companies safe, as well as computer owners who must take extra precaution not be caught by the greedy malware.
Ligma Virus quicklinks
- What does LIGMA ransomware do
- How does LIGMA ransomware spread
- How to delete LIGMA virus from your PC fast
- Automatic Malware removal tools
- How to uninstall LIGMA ransomware yourself
- How to recover LIGMA 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:
- 2.Restore System files and settings.
- Step 4. Use Data Recovery programs to recover LIGMA virus encrypted files
Basically, LIGMA virus does everything that is expected from a ransomware – spreads with bogus email attachments, encrypts specific personal files marking them with .ForgiveME extension and drops a ransom note with guidelines on what the victim can do to solve the issue and decrypt locked files. As precious your files can be, never pay the crooks, because this will only push them to create more malware and you are not guaranteed to get your special Unlocking key. Therefore, the best option is to read this article and try one of our free solutions.
What does LIGMA ransomware do
LIGMA virus classifies as a ransomware, which means that the crooks’ main purpose is to get a payment called ransom for unlocking victim’s files that were encrypted due to this cyber infection. Ransom is usually demanded in cryptocurrencies like BTC or ETH because it ensures anonymity. LIGMA ransomware locks only important personal files that can be found on your hard drive, except for the program and system files, because virus developers want the user to still be able to use their computer to buy and send crypto coins. You may have already heard about other similar threats like Locky, WannaCry, GandCrab, Petya, UnlockMePlease and etc.
LIGMA virus uses a typical symmetric AES-256 cipher to encrypt the files and .ForgiveME extension to mark them so the victim would know which files are inaccessible and why. Furthermore, crypto infections drop ransom notes, which usually provide the contact email, crypto wallet address and ransom amount, but LIGMA ransomware does not have that. It only includes paragraph saying that the PC is infected and that there is nothing you can do. That gives an impression that developers are not looking for an income but rather spreading the LIGMA virus for ideological reasons. Take a look at the ransom note:
Your Computer Got FUCKED By LIGMA!
YOUR the PC LIGMA BALLS xD
This is the PC dead Because you DID not follow the rules.
Your PC will never work again.
NOTE: Even if you fix the MBR your Your PC Is Dead.
Entire Registry is Fucked and your files are infected.
LIGMA virus infection takes only a minute to complete and fully own precious victim’s photos, videos, documents, databases and etc. But before that ransomware has to run a lot of difficult processes, that allows working without interruption. In a nutshell, LIGMA ransomware sets Windows firewall and antivirus protection off so it would not get detected and also modifies registry keys, to stay persistent even after system restart. For more technical info read the VirusTotal.com.
How does LIGMA ransomware spread
LIGMA virus only attacks Windows users by making them launch LIGMA.exe file. This malicious executable file can be masked with other names and hidden in .doc/.docx macros, which after enabling them to start the malware installation. Macros are not detected by the antivirus because they are not an exploit/patch but a legitimate program, therefore this is most used by other ransomware developers. But how does that infected document file end up on user’s system?
LIGMA ransomware creators send out tons of bogus emails with Socially engineered messages that ask targets to open the included link or attached document file, which can be presented as a receipt, invitation, report, information from your bank/government/hospital or something similar. And when the victim launches the file, the malicious installation processes begin. This allows LIGMA virus and other threats overcome many corporations’ cyber protection.
How to delete LIGMA virus from your PC fast
Deleting LIGMA ransomware can be an easy and fast or slow and elaborate process. If you picked the first one, which we do recommend, you will need either Spyhunter anti-spyware tools, if you prefer the long and challenging method, you can skip to the next part. Basically, automatic removal programs only need to be installed and then everything else is pretty much security tools job. You just run a full system scan and these trustworthy tools hunt LIGMA cryptovirus and all other malware that got in due to Exposed vulnerabilities and delete them forever.
Once the removal is done and the system is clean (another benefit of an automatic program is that you do not need to reinstall computer to know what your PC is safe) you can start recovering files. Although right not, because the virus is fairly new, there is no decryptor available, but please check in the instructions below how to recover precious files in other methods.
Automatic Malware removal tools
How to uninstall LIGMA ransomware yourself
Our readers who do not feel like the anti-malware program is something that they are looking for at the moment, or cannot install it and doesn’t have portable drive to store it like that, can follow our manual removal guide, which shows step-by-step how to deal with LIGMA virus infection. Furthermore, read more on how to protect yourself from ransomware.
How to recover LIGMA 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 → Restart → OK.
- Press F8 key repeatedly until Advanced Boot Options window appears.
- Choose Safe Mode with Command Prompt.
for Windows 8 / 10
- Press Power at Windows login screen. Then press and hold Shift key and click Restart.
- Choose Troubleshoot → Advanced Options → Startup Settings and click Restart.
- When it loads, select Enable Safe Mode with Command Prompt from the list of Startup Settings.
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.
- Click “Next” in the windows that appeared.
- Select one of the Restore Points that are available before Ligma has infiltrated to your system and then click “Next”.
- To start System restore click “Yes”.
Step 2. Complete removal of LIGMA virusAfter restoring your system, it is recommended to scan your computer with an anti-malware program, like Spyhunter and remove all malicious files related to Ligma. You can check other tools here.
Step 3. Restore LIGMA virus affected files using Shadow Volume CopiesIf 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 Ligma 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 Properties → Previous 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.
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.
Step 4. Use Data Recovery programs to recover LIGMA virus encrypted filesThere 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.