TeslaCrypt - How to remove

TeslaCrypt emerged in the March of 2015 as ransomware targeted at gamers. Since then it has had a decryptor released (more below). Not all TeslaCrypt variants have been solved by this decryption tool, but many have been.

However, a new suspected variant was noticed recently. It could be a coincidence, or it could herald a return for TeslaCrypt.

TeslaCrypt is the same as all major ransomware viruses: it infects the computer, then it encrypts files, and finally asks for a ransom in exchange for decrypting the files.

You can recognize TeslaCrypt by the quirky extensions that it appends to the names of the encrypted files. These tend to be three-letter extensions like ezz, aaa, ccc, and similar.

Anti-gamer ransomware

Ransomware threats like TorrentLocker, LegionLocker, or NUSM are targeted at various files –  videos, photos, documents, etc. These file lockers come after anything that could be important.

However, TeslaCrypt is looking to encrypt files related to 40 different video games. This ransomware encrypts files belonging to RPG Maker, Call of Duty, Dragon Age, StarCraft, MineCraft, World of Warcraft, World of Tanks, or Steam programs.

Furthermore, most other extortionists ask victims to pay their ransoms in Bitcoin or in other cryptocurrencies. In the case of TeslaCrypt, it’s up to you – you can do it via bitcoins payment system or PayPal cash cards. While Paypal is a way more popular option among regular internet users than Bitcoin, you should think twice – TeslaCrypt’s extortionists demand about $1000 USD from those who pay via Paypal and only about $500 USD when paying in Bitcoin.

It is important to emphasize here that we are not encouraging you to pay the ransom in either of the ways. After all, TeslaCrypt is now old and it’s exceedingly unlikely that anyone’s still home. It is just so strange that these hackers leave the victims with the PayPal option, as it is easier to track payments made via this system.


How TeslaCrypt infects computers

TeslaCrypt is distributed by the Angler Exploit Kit. Angler downloads TeslaCrypt and other malware on the victim’s computer when they visit a compromised website.

The new suspected TeslaCrypt variant that was seen by Trend Micro was spreading in malicious email spam. (Email spam is a very popular way for spreading ransomware and other malware). This new maybe-TeslaCrypt variant disables antivirus programs and other security software.

Once on the computer, TeslaCrypt is quick to scan and encrypt various user files. Here are the file types that are targeted by TeslaCrypt:


While it’s encrypting files, TeslaCrypt also changes their names by appending extensions like ecc, vvv, abc, xxx, ttt, mp3 (really), and similar extensions.

How to fix TeslaCrypt files

Like most ransomware, TeslaCrypt deletes all Shadow Volume Copies and restore points to stop victims from removing their data.

There are 4 big versions of Teslacrypt ransomware, from TeslaCrypt to TeslaCrypt 4.0. They differ by extensions and partly the algorithm used for encryption, thus their decryption solutions are different.

The 3rd version of TeslaCrypt uses .xxx, .ttt and .micro extensions.

The 4th version does not use extensions at all. This makes identifying it quite difficult.

TeslaCrypt master keys were released and cybersecurity researchers developed a decryption tool that is free to use for all victims. So if you want to get rid of this virus and retrieve your files, you can download this TeslaCrypt Decryptor. Before attempting decryption, make a backup of the data you’re about to try and decrypt. Just in case something goes wrong.

However, you might want to delete TeslaCrypt first to avoid repeat encryption. It is recommended to scan your computer with a good antivirus program, like Spyhunter or Malwarebytes to delete TeslaCrypt and any other viruses that might have infected your system.

You can find more detailed removal instructions at the bottom.

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How to recover TeslaCrypt 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 TeslaCrypt 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 TeslaCrypt

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 TeslaCrypt. You can check other tools here.  

Step 3. Restore TeslaCrypt 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 TeslaCrypt 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 TeslaCrypt 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.

Removal guides in other languages

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