ZONEware ransomware virus is not a fully completed threat and security researchers indicate it as a poor copy of TeslaCrypt. Currently, it is in development, but it is unknown whether hackers will initiate the necessary improvement to prevent it from crashing.
Lack of professional touch was also noticed in InfinityLock crypto-virus as researchers had to fix bugs themselves in order to see the infection in action. According to technical analysis (Analysis Virus Total), the payload of this ransomware will presumably be called Runtime Broker x86.exe. Ironically, the signature info suggest that the file belongs to Microsoft, which is a complete lie. Encrypted digital data will feature .ZW extension.
The course of action of ZONEware computer virus
Additionally, since a bunch of security software determined this infection as based on HiddenTear, we make a verdict that it is indeed based on this open sour project. This over-utilized standard is used in Malabu, FabSysCrypto, Kee and many other ransomware infections. ZONEware ransomware will encode files AES algorithm How does encryption algorithm Rijndael work?). After that, digital data will no longer be able to be opened. Also, it might open, but display seemingly random combinations of words and numbers.
From the screen-locker that ZONEware crypto-malware presents to its victims, it is evident which strategy will be selected. In total, victims will have 72hours to follow crooks’ instructions and demand for a decryption key. However, an encrypted file will be deleted every hour, until 72 hours passes and the ransomware presumably destroys all of the encoded data. The same period of time is given to victims of ArmaLocky.
ZONEware virus will make demands to receive 0.025376 BTC. The screen-locker also contains a bitcoin wallet that the transaction should be made to. Approximately, this equals 98.46 USD. Once again, we discourage users from paying this sum of money even though your files are extremely important to you. Consider the possibility that hackers never intend to decrypt files Paying ransoms can cost you more than just the ransom). Despite the fact that they receive the requested ransoms, crooks have no moral code to follow.
The ransomware appears to be decryptable
This variant of ZONEware malware has been determined to be decryptable. However, at the moment it crashes and might not be capable of initiating file-encryption. Therefore, at this time, we do not consider it as a serious threat. Like so many poorly-coded ransomware infections, this one will also presumably disappear without leaving any significant impact.
However, we should not underestimate any variant of ransomware. If a more functional sample of ZONEware resurfaces, we will get back to this article and inform our visitors about it. If your files have become appended with .ZW extensions, it is important to let security researchers know about it.
Prevention and removal of crypto-viruses
First of all, we have to emphasize one option that should be utilized by all Internet surfers. It is presumably that people have a lot of valuable, interesting and sentimental files on their computers. Sadly, this is what creators of ransomware are hoping for. If your hard drive is the only location that the important executables can be found, you should be considered as one of the possible ransomware victims. As soon as crypto-viruses strike, they damage data and require ransoms. Sadly, even if ransoms are paid, some people never get back their files.
Therefore, we are hoping you will consider backing up your data in online storages. There is a variety of these file-protecting services: just choose the one that fits your requirements. However, it could be that you will decide to store copies of your files in USB flash drives.
If you are infected with ransomware, observe the instructions below to become familiar with the possible techniques of malware-elimination and file-restoration. Before attempting to recover files, always remember that you have to remove the malicious threat first. If you will not do so, your files could be re-encrypted. Use Reimage to make sure the your computer would not have to suffer from malware infections.
- The course of action of ZONEware computer virus
- The ransomware appears to be decryptable
- Prevention and removal of crypto-viruses
- Automatic ZONEware ransomware virus removal tools
- How to recover ZONEware ransomware virus encrypted files and remove the virus
- Step 1. Restore system into last known good state using system restore
- Step 2. Complete removal of ZONEware ransomware virus
- Step 3. Restore ZONEware ransomware virus affected files using Shadow Volume Copies
- Step 4. Use Data Recovery programs to recover ZONEware ransomware virus encrypted files
Automatic ZONEware ransomware virus removal tools
How to recover ZONEware ransomware virus 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 ZONEware ransomware virus has infiltrated to your system and then click “Next”.
- To start System restore click “Yes”.
Step 2. Complete removal of ZONEware ransomware virus
After restoring your system, it is recommended to scan your computer with an anti-malware program, like Reimage and remove all malicious files related to ZONEware ransomware virus. You can check other tools here.
Step 3. Restore ZONEware ransomware virus 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 ZONEware ransomware 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 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 ZONEware ransomware virus 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 Data Recovery Pro (commercial)
- Install and scan for recently deleted files.
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.