Seto Ransomware - How to remove

Seto ransomware is designed to lock your personal files after it gets on your computer. It often infects computers through pirated software and tries to disable Windows Defender and install a data-stealing trojan. This file-locker is an example of one of the worst kinds of malware.

Ransomware’s destructive impact is exemplified by the way how everyone’s first advice to protect yourself against it is to have backups. Backups — copies of files or images of your disks — can be saved separately from the files being backed. This doesn’t tell you how to avoid ransomware at all, only how to recover from it.

What Seto ransomware looks like

First of all, Seto renames the encrypted files with a new extension — “.seto”.

picture.jpg -> picture.jpg.seto

You need to enable your Windows to display file extensions — check “File name extensions” in “View” in the File Explorer menu.

Next, Seto creates a “_readme.txt” file and puts it in every folder that has had files encrypted. The text in this file is a standard message from the extortionists. It tells you to contact them and how much money they want.

ATTENTION!

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Check your e-mail “Spam” or “Junk” folder if you don’t get answer more than 6 hours.

The criminals also give their email addresses, [email protected] and [email protected]

How Seto is distributed

There are a lot of ways for malware to infect your computer: RDP, malicious ads, backdoors, trojans, bundles.

The ransomware in Seto’s family tends to use one main strategy: hiding in free software downloads. Some free programs, for example, Chromium browsers, might be downloaded by people who assume that they’re genuine, and there’s really no way to know that the installer is infected without scanning it first. It’s also a good idea to stick to official, reputable websites, but since cybercriminals can easily spoof a known website, that’s not always easy.

But the majority of Seto’s victims seem to have caught the infection after pirating something. People who don’t want to pay for a legal copy of Windows, Office, some Adobe tool, etc. make themselves vulnerable by seeking out free but illegitimate copies. Distributors of cracks, keygens, activators, and “free” commercial software sometimes monetize these files by including ransomware, other time the extortionists upload hacked or fake tools themselves. The pirates then accidentally download Seto and get their files locked.

Email attachments are another way that ransomware spreads, it’s actually the most popular way for ransomware to spread. Files and download links are attached to generic and curiosity-invoking emails, like “You missed your delivery” or “Here is the invoice”. An attached doc file could be Seto’s downloader, so be careful of with suspicious emails like that.

Seto ransomware, the ransom note

Why the files are locked

This virus is part of a family called STOP/Djvu which includes Mogranos, Nuksus, and many other versions. Even though the earliest versions were broken by cybersecurity researchers who created a free decryption tool, the extortionists have improved their virus enough that Seto’s encryption can’t be broken anymore.

A cryptographic algorithm is used to edit each file that the virus hopes to lock. This includes documents, pictures and movies, text files, various rarer files. The virus only encrypts parts of larger files, which means that some Seto files are still partially functional and you might be able to extract some data, for example, play some audio files. Most files are irreparably broken, though.

The criminals promise to unlock your files if you pay them money. They don’t have direct access to your data. Instead, the extortionists would send you a decrypter with your personal decryption key and you would use it on your files which would be edited back to their earlier state, undoing all the damage. This is assuming that no technical difficulties get in the way, that the criminals care enough to keep their end of the bargain after they get their money, and that you have the hundreds of dollars that they’re asking for. If you don’t have the decryption key, the files simply cannot be decrypted.

How to get rid of Seto

There are a few things to consider when recovering from a Seto infection:

  • Remove the virus so that it doesn’t repeatedly encrypt new files.
  • Remove all malware so that no spyware remains on the machine.
  • Replace Seto files with files from a backup.
  • Try to restore your files using System Restore, Shadow Volume Copies.
  • Try to restore your files using Data Recovery.
  • Fix any corrupted system files and settings.
  • Change passwords that might have been leaked.
  • Improve browsing security.
  • Install security updates for all the programs.

Even though the encryption used by Seto is too strong to be broken, avoid paying the criminals if you can. The risk of you losing your money and your files is too high, and the money would only encourage extortionists to continue infecting more devices, hurting more people. Besides, the trojan that Seto installed is probably going to capture your banking and cryptocurrency credentials if you use them on the infected computer. Instead, look into data recovery; some options to recover lost and corrupted files might be helpful in restoring the lost data.

This virus and its password-stealing addition need to be removed from your computer before it can be used safely again. Use Spyhunter or Malwarebytes to find and get rid of these infections. Don’t forget that Seto changes some of your settings, so even after removing it, you might see encounter some errors. For example, Seto edits the hosts file to block certain websites.

Important -- edit the hosts file to unblock security websites

TL DR : The hosts file is edited to block security sites Before the virus can be removed, it's necessary to fix the hosts file (the file which controls which addresses connect to which IPs). That is the reason the majority of security websites is inaccessible when infected with this particular parasite. This infection edits this file to stop certain websites, including anti-malware download sites, from being accessed from the infected computer, making browsers return the "This site can't be reached" error. Luckily, it's trivial to fix the file and remove the edits that were made to it.

Find and edit the hosts file

The hosts file can be found on C:/Windows/System32/Drivers/etc/hosts. If you don't see it, change the settings to see hidden files.
  1. In the Start Menu, search for Control Panel.
  2. In the Control Panel, find Appearance and Personalization.
  3. Select Folder Options.
  4. Open the View tab.
  5. Open Advanced settings.
  6. Select "Show hidden files...".
  7. Select OK.
Open this file with administrator privileges. notepad run as administrator
  1. Open the Start Menu and enter "notepad".
  2. When Notepad shows up in the result, right-click on it.
  3. In the menu, choose "Run as administrator"
  4. File->Open and browse for the hosts file.
The hosts file should look like this: hosts file default contents Delete additional lines that they connect various domain names to the wrong IP address. Save the file.

Download and run the antivirus program

After that, download antivirus programs and use them to remove the ransomware, the trojan, and other malware. Spyhunter (https://www.2-viruses.com/reviews/spyhunter/dwnld/).

Automatic Malware removal tools

Download Spyhunter for Malware detection
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How to recover Seto 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 Seto 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 Seto 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 Seto Ransomware. You can check other tools here.  

Step 3. Restore Seto 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 Seto 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 Seto 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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