Project34 ransomware - How to remove

Project34 variant is a new file-encrypting virus, presumably focused on Russian-speaking users as its brief ransom note contains text in the this language. Hackers that designed the latter sample provided very little information in the ПАРОЛЬ.txt file. According to it, however, our primarily made presumption is incorrect: Project34 virus is not a file-encrypting, but rather file-locking variant. All of the selected files might be in a single folder, protected by a password that only hackers are aware of. On the other hand, it is possible that all of the data will be put in a .zip file, also secured with a code. Whichever option turns out to be chosen by Project34, it is a nasty infection which was just recently detected by security analysts. Through the inserted .txt file, crooks insist that victims would contact them via [email protected].

Analysis of Project34 ransomware

Creators of Project34 virus will inform victims about following actions they should pursue in order to retrieve files. When writing a letter to [email protected] email address, people are expected to provide hackers with their IP addresses. This specific piece of information will supposedly function as an ID code for each victim, helping hackers determine who made a decision to contact them. It is yet to be revealed which distribution method is selected to spread Project34 virus. Nevertheless, if it manages to enter devices and make files unavailable for usage, you have been ‘blessed’ with engaging in activities that lead to a ransomware infection.

Upon its arrival in a device, Project34 virus will find no time to spare. It will initiate immediate modifications in users Windows Registry Keys and make its payload launch together with other automatically opened applications. The payload of this infection is identified to be posing as a WindowsUpdate.exe file and this process is very likely to be overseen in the Task Manager. While people will fail to regard this process as potentially harmful, the payload will initiate the necessary procedures so the ransom note could be inserted as a final touch. As we have mentioned, Project34 virus will likely lock files instead of encoding them, which means that it won’t use a sophisticated cryptography.

Project34 ransomware is only one of the ransomware viruses that have been detected in the past month. A surprising amount of similar infections have surfaced. If your files happen to be locked, they might feature an additional extension: [email protected]. If you notice it or a .txt file called ПАРОЛЬ.txt, you should realize that you have to learn about the way this infection should be treated. To recognize different victims via their IP address, the hackers might gain this information after the payload manages to connect to its C&C server.

Retrieving files that have been corrupted by Project34 ransomware

For now, victims have no way of restoring files that are locked behind a password. If there any changes, we will certainly update this article and let you know about the best way of recovering files. Sadly, since files are locked and not encrypted, decrypters won’t be an option to consider. However, if Project34 virus begins encoding files, then universal file-recovery tools can be put to use. The only certain way of keeping data safe is to store it in backup storages. There is a variety of them to choose from. As an alternative, you can store files in USB flash drives or other easily reachable locations (besides your hard drive). If you have your files safe in another place, you can simply eliminate Project34 virus and retrieve files.

Ways of becoming jeopardized by the Project34 ransomware

As we have briefly indicated, the exact way that Project34 virus uses for distribution is not yet identified. However, we assume that it can spread via malicious spam campaigns or vulnerable websites. Whichever the case, people should certainly take heed and remember that every movement online has to be well though of. If you happen to visit domains that have been influenced by hackers or download Trojans that are hiding as legitimate software, your security will be severely compromised.

Spyhunter or Malwarebytes are the anti-malware tools that will certainly assist you in the removal of Project34 virus. All you have to do is run a full security scan which will inform you about the current status of your system. Then, proceed to the removal. Guidelines to complete a manual removal are included as well.

How to recover Project34 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 Project34 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 Project34 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 Project34 ransomware. You can check other tools here.  

Step 3. Restore Project34 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 Project34 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 Project34 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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