Antivirus Wiki

Locky Ransomware Virus Removal

  • August 1, 2019

Locky is a dangerous malware that was released in 2016. The virus uses social engineering to infect devices running on the Windows operating system. It is a multidimensional virus and can disguise itself while encrypting files for extortion.

Locky Virus Ramsomware Removal

Locky can encrypt more than 160 types of files, and can also infect source code and databases. In this article, we take a closer look at the Lock Ransomware Virus and what you need to do to remove it from your system.

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As the name suggests, Locky is ransomware and is considered one of the most sophisticated viruses on the internet. The virus was developed by highly skilled hackers and it uses various scripting languages during delivery.

What makes Locky so dangerous is that it has several advanced features that normal viruses usually don’t have. It can perform complex spam email campaigns, run domain generation algorithm, and server-side encryption. The virus can also run executable compression packers, such as generic PE packers.

Since Locky’s release, its creators have further improved it by adding features to make it harder for anti-malware tools to detect it. For encryption, Locky uses advanced encryption algorithms, such as RSA-2048 and AES-128 cipher simultaneously.

The virus uses the Electronic Code Book (ECB) mode and generates keys on the server-side. This makes it impossible to perform manual decryption. As a result, Locky can encrypt files on various kinds of memory, including fixed drives, network drives, RAM drives, and external drives.

Like all other ransomware, the virus encrypts these parts of memory, making them unusable until the victim pays the extortion fee. The extortion fee for Locky can vary from 0.5 to 1 bitcoin ($4,880 to $9,760).

Since the Locky Ransomware Virus attacks a wide range of file formats, it can affect people belonging to different professions. Anyone from engineers, developers, designers, writers, and testers can become victims of this virus. However, small to medium business are often the biggest victims of this virus. Till now, the virus has affected people from the following countries the most:

  • The Czech Republic
  • France
  • Germany
  • Italy
  • Japan
  • Poland
  • Spain
  • United States of America
  • United Kingdom

Locky uses the same method as other malware applications. It spreads with the help of fake emails that contain infected attachments. The virus doesn’t even use made up file formats to trick its victims. Instead, it embeds virus source code in legitimate file formats, including .doc, .xls, and .zip formats.

Once the victim opens these files, they won’t  be displayed properly. The file will ask the user to “enable macro if data encoding is incorrect.” Unsuspecting users enable macros after this, and an executable file starts downloading and runs the Locky virus.

The virus can also come with messages like “Upcoming Payment – 1 Month Notice”. Such emails contain an invoice saved in a Microsoft Word document. Once the Locky virus has infected any file, it’s almost impossible to recover those files.

After encryption, each file is given a new file format to make them identifiable. These new extensions are often named after figures from Egyptian and Norse Mythology, such as .thor, .odin, .locky, .aesir or .osiris.

Once these files are rendered unusable, the virus will prompt its victims to pay a ransom in exchange for the decryption key. The subsequent ransom message can be localized, depending on the location of your computer.

Even after a victim pays the ransom, there is no guarantee that you will recover the files encrypted by the virus. If you pay these cyber criminals, you’ll only facilitate their business by handing them out with investment.

Besides email spamming, Locky can use other methods of delivery as well. Hackers are known to deliver these viruses through P2P networks, fake software updates, and Trojans found on the web. Therefore, it’s essential to keep software updated and be careful of what you download on your device.

Locky is a hybrid Trojan ransomware virus that uses different methods of delivery. To avoid the virus, you need to be wary of opening suspicious emails. One should remember that banks, companies, and other agencies never ask for personal information via email.

Since Locky uses macros from Microsoft Word to infiltrate your system, disabling macros might be a good option. Besides that, users should make sure they always back up important files, either on external drives or online storages.

However, the virus uses clever social engineering techniques, and you still might get infected. For safety, you should always have an up-to-date antivirus solution on your computer. Antimalware solutions with real-time protection can detect the virus in its early stages and prevent it from encrypting files.

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Threat Summary

Name of SoftwareLocky Ransomware Virus
Type of VirusTrojan-Ransomware
Level of DangerHighly dangerous. The application exploits users through social engineering and infiltrates their computers. It encrypts important files and makes them unusable. After that, it extorts huge sums of money from these people to decrypt the files. Even after paying the ransom, there’s no guarantee that the affected files will be recovered. The virus is highly adaptable and can infect a wide range of files and memory.  
Symptoms of the VirusLocky is also part-Trojan. Therefore, there are no active symptoms, and it’s difficult to detect the virus until it has completely infected your computer. Most users will be unaware until they see a message demanding ransom from them. One of the notable symptoms of this virus is that some of your files will change their extensions. Other times, the virus will change your desktop wallpaper that informs users of the infection.
Distribution MethodUsually, people get infected through email attachments. However, it’s also possible to get the Locky Ransomware Virus through files downloaded from torrent and other peer-to-peer networks. Besides that, your system can be infected after visiting shady websites or downloading files from unreliable sources.
Detection ToolLocky is a powerful malware that has the ability to hide its files. To detect and eliminate it, you need a sophisticated antimalware solution like TotalAV. With real-time protection, TotalAV can scan your computer for malware. In other words, TotalAV can stop Locky from infecting your files.

If the Locky Ransomware Virus has infected your files, it’s already too late to recover those files. However, removing the malware from your computer can help save other files that haven’t been infected yet.

You can try to remove the virus manually, but the method is extremely tedious. Besides that, there’s no guarantee that you will succeed in removing the virus. What it’ll do is give the virus the time it needs to encrypt more files in your computer.

The only effective way of getting rid of the is by buying a powerful antivirus. However, if you still want to try and see how manual removal pans out, you can try both these methods and see for yourself.

A. Removing the Locky Ransomware Virus Manually

Follow the steps below to remove the virus manually.

Step#1: Reboot in Safe Mode

At first, you need to restart your computer in safe mode. If you haven’t rebooted Windows in safe mode before, follow this guide for Windows 7 operating. Users of Windows 8 and 10 can restart Windows in safe mode with the help of this guide from Microsoft.

Step#2: Check the Task Bar

After you’re back online, press “Ctrl + Shift + Esc” at the same time to open the taskbar. Here, you can view the suspicious programs running on your device.

Windows 7 users should click on the Processes tab, whereas Windows 8 or 10 users should select the Details tab.  Select all suspicious programs in the taskbar and then click on “End Process” to terminate these processes. You’ll have to select and end all these processes one by one.

Step #3: Uninstall from Control Panel

Ending these processes does nothing to remove Locky from your operating system. You can try to remove the virus from the Control Panel. Press “Windows Key + R” simultaneously, type “appwiz.cpl” in the run command window, and hit Enter.

In the Control Panel, identify any suspicious application and remove it. To do that, hover your cursor over the suspected application, press right-click and select the Uninstall to remove the application.

B. Install TotalAV

Locky works its way into computers and can infect a number of files. So, there’s little chance that you can remove all the components of the virus manually.

We recommend our readers to use the TotalAV antivirus tool to remove the virus completely. Users can test how well TotalAV performs by buying the service at a discount. If you are not satisfied with its performance, you can avail the 30-day money-back guarantee given by the service. Here’s how you can install TotalAV and stay protected from viruses in the future.

Step #1

Visit TotalAV antivirus’ website to download the installation files on your computer.

Step #2

Click on the downloaded file to begin installation.

Step #3

Give permission for installation by clicking ‘Yes.’ Once the setup installs TotalAV, click on “Yes” again to restart your computer.

Step #4

After the computer turns back on, open TotalAV, and select Antivirus.

Step #5

Choose “System Scan” and click on its icon to flush out all the viruses present on your system.

Step #6

The system scan analyzes each file in your system and promptly removes all suspicious files. This will take some time, so wait until the System Scan is completed.

Step #7

After the scan is completed, review all the recommendations by TotalAV, and follow every instruction.

Step #8

If TotalAV asks, allow it to ‘Take Action.’ TotalAV will also compile a list of suspicious files in the “Quarantine” section. Unless you’re 100% sure that a file in this section is legitimate, delete each file you find here.

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Locky can cause signifgicant damage to your devices. The virus can attack a number of different files, encrypt them, and then demand a ransom.  If a victim doesn’t pay the ransom, the virus can slowly take over the entire system, making it useless.

We recommend swift action to ensure that the virus doesn’t spread. The best way to get rid of this harmful software is to remove it through a powerful antivirus, such as TotalAV. The antivirus will delete all core files of this malicious program and ensure long-term system safety for users.

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