Sage 2 ransomware - How to remove

The first version of Sage crypto-virus was discovered by our research group in the 7th of December, 2016. Nearly two months after we released our article about it, a new sample was detected to run in the cyber fields as a second addition of the Sage threat. The primary version was not a ground-breaking infection as it did not impact huge numbers of online surfers. Our guess is that the preceding sample was a test-run, since the version active now is much more prepared to suck devices into a tornado of encryption. Sage 2, the sequel of Sage, attempts to infect devices via campaigns of spam. The letters that reach inboxes have no text to explain a reason for receiving it, but simply contain an attachment. Titles of those files do not indicate any specific meaning as well, leaving recipients completely puzzled. If you happen to notice an attachment, named EMAIL_[number combination]_[recipient].zip or just [number combination].zip., please delete the email and run a full security to make sure that your system is not being compromised by an malware infection.

Sage 2 ransomware 101: important remarks about it

After users download the .zip file from the malicious spam letter, the activity of Sage 2 virus won’t take place straight away. Maybe the hackers that designed this infection thought that some time is necessary to trick the user and make him/her believe that the launched file did not exercise control over the device. Documents that are downloaded from the letter will place an installer, belonging to Sage 2 virus which will lead this infection into full function.

After an appropriate amount of time has passed, this threat will display a User Account Control table, requiring to allow two bizarre programs make modifications in the infected system. Then, Cmd.exe and EobUtylp programs won’t hesitate to kick things off and will immediately search for files that are potential executables to encrypt. Just like the ancestor of Sage 2, this sample is expected to use AES algorithm to corrupt files, but the actual cipher is yet to be determined. Since this sample finds over 500 file types suitable for encryption, we are sure that it won’t deal with any obstacles during the process of scanning for data. It can encode files with the most popular extensions, but can also affect data that has more unusual ones. .sage extension is appended to every encrypted file. Sage 2 also wisely gets rid of any Shadow Volume Copies that might stand as a loophole in decryption.

A HTML file called !Recovery_[3_random_chars] will give information about the situation and advise people to download TOR browser in order to access Sage 2 payment site. In this webpage, people are going to be informed about the amount of money that should be sent for the life-saving decryption key, time limit, and threats of blocking the unique decryption code in case victims do not provide them with money. Sage2Decrypter.exe is said to become available after victims pay a hefty fee: in case they would not understand the decryption process, the payment website provides step-by-step instructions to ease this process. This might appear to be like a convenient feature, but you should not forget that the creators of this ransomware have viciously invaded your privacy. In addition to that, people can also contact these shady programmers via a “Support” section. Do not bother begging or praying for mercy as these hackers won’t be moved by your troubles.

Sage 2 ransomware and decryption: what are your options?

Sage 2 crypto-virus is a threat that security researchers were unable to defeat (for now, at least). There is a possibility of a free decryptor getting released pretty soon, so you should not pay the required 2000 US dollars in the form of BTC (approximately 2.14696). Money is a difficult thing to earn and wasting such sum of money for file decryption sounds like a real waste. In addition to that, you will only get 7 days to send this fee. If the timer strikes zero and a victim has not paid the demanded sum, then it is going to be doubled to 4000 US dollars. If a victim continues to not send the demanded sum, hackers are going to block the decryption code so your data would be useless forever. Nevertheless, we still stick to our opinion that paying the ransom is unnecessary. You should make copies of your infected data and remove the Sage 2 virus from your system. For the future, remember to store your files in backup storages or other locations that a ransomware would not be able to reach.

Do you know what to avoid and stay safe from Sage 2 ransomware?

Like many active ransomware viruses, Sage 2 infection travels in spam letters. If you receive a message from an unknown source, never allow yourself to freely open them because that might lead to an infection with a ransomware virus. This is especially possible if you download attachments that are found inside. After noticing such letters in your inbox, delete it. If you are interested in the removal of Sage 2 virus, you should use a powerful anti-malware program to detect and destroy it. Read the following sections about manual removal, decryption. Spyhunter or Malwarebytes can also help you remove Sage 2 virus and stay free from viruses in the future.

How to recover Sage 2 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 Sage 2 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 Sage 2 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 Sage 2 virus. You can check other tools here.  

Step 3. Restore Sage 2 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 Sage 2 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 Sage 2 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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