LockedByte ransomware - How to remove

LockedByte ransomware virus is one of the latest samples that attacks operating systems and pursues the goal of file-encryption. This variant uses a relatively rare routine to ruin files: XOR encryption. Payload of this infection has determined to be LockedByte.exe which initiates not only the corruption of files, but also sets up a lock-screen to prevent users from accessing their operating systems fully. After investigating the .exe file, we noticed that hackers described it as a WindowsFormsApplication1. We also managed to learn that encrypted data is not going to be appended with the same extension. It appears that extension which is used to mark corrupted digital data is completely random. Encoded file can look something like this: picture.jpg.[random].

The screen-locker that this virus sets up provides brief instructions for a victim to follow. The infection introduces itself and indicates that 1000 US dollars are the sum to be converted into bitcoin currency. According to the current rates, it would be 0.44927 BTC. This fee is supposed to be sent to 17UomAvt4YEDwNYdpFjotdm7CV1i8jJ16Q bitcoin wallet, but there is actually no way of reporting to hackers that the ransom is paid. Usually, an email address would be indicated as the party to contact after the ransom has been paid. We have a very strong suspicion that these hackers are only playing around and won’t decrypt files.

LockedByte ransomware virus

This is clearly just a vicious hoax to steal money from victims. Crooks probably don’t have the slightest intention of actually decrypting files that their ransomware encodes. Another reason not to pay is the fact that security researchers explained that this sample is decryptable. If it initiates stronger activity and there is a need of a decryption tool, there is a very good chance that such tool will be produced.

Other aspects of this sample do not differ from the versions that came before it. The payload will presumably have the rights to initiate changes in Windows Registry Keys. There might be other commands that the ransomware will pursue: deletion of Shadow Volume Copies for instance.

Recommendations to stay ransomware-free

We will begin this section by explaining the universal file-recovery techniques that can be applied to any ransomware infection. First of all, you should check whether the virus has managed to erase all Shadow Volume Copies. If not, then there is a chance of being able to restore them. Additionally, you could try decrypting files with the tools that have already been produced. In some cases, these tools are functional. On the other hand, if this specific variant of ransomware strikes, you should contact security researchers and inform them that there is a necessity for a free file-decryption software.

However, there is an option which is the most appealing to us and, hopefully, to you too. If you have your data stored in backup storages, then you will be able to recover encrypted data without any inconveniences. We should emphasize that before attempting to recover data, you should fully eliminate the ransomware infection.

If you don’t, there is a very good chance that encryption will reoccur and affect the executables you retrieved from a backup storage. To successfully get rid of every malicious executable, you are advised to run a scan with an anti-malware tool. Spyhunter or Malwarebytes will find LockedByte virus and will remove it.

The payload of a ransomware infection can be delivered in a number of ways. One of the popular techniques to distribute harmful executables is to add them to email letters as attachments. If you receive an odd message that instructs you to download an attachment, make sure that the sender is reliable before doing so. What is more, you should avoid unknown websites that could be interested in automatically inserting payloads of ransomware into your operating system.

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

Step 3. Restore LockedByte 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 LockedByte 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 LockedByte 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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