Ziggy ransomware has been known since December 2020. It encrypts data and demands a ransom for fixing it. It’s recognized by the “ziggy” extension given to the encrypted files. So far, there’s no way to undo the damage done by Ziggy ransomware. Still, it’s important to remove it and other malware.
The criminals behind Ziggy released the decryption keys, as we describe below.
Ziggy Ransomware quicklinks
- About Ziggy ransomware
- It infects computers
- It breaks files and demands a ransom
- Can you get your files back?
- How to remove Ziggy ransomware
- Automatic Malware removal tools
- How to recover Ziggy 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:
- 2.Restore System files and settings.
- Step 4. Use Data Recovery programs to recover Ziggy Ransomware encrypted files
About Ziggy ransomware:
|How Ziggy ransomware infects computers||Downloaded from malicious email attachments,
included in infected software installers,
planted through hacked remote desktop.
|Can you get your files back?||Recover files from backups,
restore deleted data,
no free decryptor for now.
|How to remove Ziggy ransomware||Remove all malicious programs and files from your computer (but not the encrypted files) manually and with antivirus tools (Spyhunter and others).|
About Ziggy ransomware
Ziggy is a file-encrypting malicious program whose ultimate purpose is to make money for its operators. For this purpose, Ziggy presents an extortion message, where you’re asked to send money to cybercriminals and told that this is the only way to get your data back.
It infects computers
Ziggy ransomware infects Windows computers. It might trick people into installing it. It’s also possible that malicious actors place it on the infected computer themselves:
- Malicious email attachments.
- RDP hacks that allow malicious actors to access the computer and install malware.
- Pirated programs infected with Ziggy.
- Real programs bundled with Ziggy ransomware and distributed on unofficial sites.
Once downloaded and installed, Ziggy ransomware might delete backups if you have any, including shadow volume copies. It might also quit antivirus processes.
It breaks files and demands a ransom
After it’s been downloaded, Ziggy ransomware begins encrypting files. It uses cryptography – the same technology that allows your online banking to remain secure and your Whatsapp messages to remain private. What Ziggy does with it is basically password-encrypt your own files, then hide the password. And it’s very secure – there’s no practical way to break the encryption.
To mark which files it’s encrypted, Ziggy ransomware changes their names. It appends a unique ID and an email address, ending with the extension “.ziggy”.
To fix the situation and give you back your data, Ziggy ransomware asks that you email the people responsible for the infection. It gives the email address in the names of the locked files (original_file_name.id=[id].email=[email] .ziggy) and in the ransom notes that it creates (## HOW TO DECRYPT ##.exe).
Can you get your files back?
There is no free decryptor that could undo the damage that Ziggy ransomware has done. And it’s possible that there’ll never be one. Unfortunately, this is the norm for ransomware. Other active ransomware threats, such as Roger or Cring, also have no free solutions for their victims.
A few days after we wrote this post, Emsisoft released a free decryption tool: Emsisoft Decryptor for Ziggy. Emsisoft releases free decryption tools with the help of ransomware experts and, this time, thanks to the ransomware creators themselves.
Apparently, the reason that Ziggy got a decryptor is because its operators got scared of law enforcement: Ziggy ransomware shuts down and releases victims decryption keys.
Having a recent backup of all of your important data is the best defense against ransomware infections. Although, even cloud backups can be affected by ransomware (Can cloud backup be hacked and is it immune to ransomware attacks?).
If you don’t have backups, you might consider contacting the people behind Ziggy ransomware and even paying the ransom. There are a couple of things to keep in mind:
- Don’t reveal your identity or else you might be targeted again in the future.
- You can’t trust cyber criminals, so don’t pay money that you’re not willing to lose.
- Even if you get the decryption tools and keys, technical difficulties might prevent you from fixing all the files.
There are a few alternatives that don’t require you to speak with online criminals. For example, data recovery programs can be used to undelete files. If used quickly enough, they could help you bring back data that was lost to the Ziggy ransomware attack. File repair might also be possible to partially fix some files.
And it’s always possible, though unlikely, that a master key or something like it will be made available for everyone (Nomoreransom.org).
How to remove Ziggy ransomware
Though the files that Ziggy ransomware encrypted aren’t harmful, the ransomware itself certainly is. While it’s on your device, you won’t be able to use it normally or safely.
You can use an antivirus program, such as Spyhunter, to scan your device and remove all the detected malicious items. Ziggy ransomware might have messed with your antivirus files, so you might have to validate your installation and repair it.
More detailed instructions for deleting malware and recovering your data can be found below.
Automatic Malware removal tools
How to recover Ziggy 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 → Restart → OK.
- Press F8 key repeatedly until Advanced Boot Options window appears.
- Choose Safe Mode with Command Prompt.
for Windows 8 / 10
- Press Power at Windows login screen. Then press and hold Shift key and click Restart.
- Choose Troubleshoot → Advanced Options → Startup Settings and click Restart.
- When it loads, select Enable Safe Mode with Command Prompt from the list of Startup Settings.
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.
- Click “Next” in the windows that appeared.
- Select one of the Restore Points that are available before Ziggy Ransomware has infiltrated to your system and then click “Next”.
- To start System restore click “Yes”.
Step 2. Complete removal of Ziggy RansomwareAfter restoring your system, it is recommended to scan your computer with an anti-malware program, like Spyhunter and remove all malicious files related to Ziggy Ransomware. You can check other tools here.
Step 3. Restore Ziggy Ransomware affected files using Shadow Volume CopiesIf 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 Ziggy 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 Properties → Previous 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.
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.
Step 4. Use Data Recovery programs to recover Ziggy Ransomware encrypted filesThere 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.