If you have recently had the files on your PC locked and rendered inaccessible, then you might want to read the following lines as here you will be able to learn more about the cause for this lockdown and how you might be potentially able to overcome it and make your data accessible again. The most likely reason behind this issue is a Ransomware cryptovirus. You might have already heard about the Ransomware malware category – those are nasty cyber threats that are used by their creators for the purposes of online blackmailing and money extortion. The cryptoviruses are one of the several Ransomware subcategories. This particular Ransomware sub-type is known for using a complex encryption code through which it is able to render all personal data on its victims’ computers inaccessible. Once the encryption is applied, usually the only way to re-open the targeted files would be through a special decryption key that only the hackers in control of the virus have. Naturally, once the encryption process has been finalized and the user’s data is no longer accessible, the malware would demand from its victim a ransom payment for the key. This is basically how all cryptoviruses operate and if you are currently dealing with one such threat, we regret to say that there might not be many options for you to choose from. Still, it’s really important that you remain calm and try to analyze the situation instead of doing anything rash and dictated by fear such as directly issuing the ransom payment. Here, we will mainly be focusing on one of the latest threats of the Ransomware cryptovirus category – a insidious malware piece called .VACv2 Ransomware which is likely the reason why a lot of you have actually come to this page. If you are among the thousands of victims of this noxious virus program, we advise you to carefully read all the information from this page and choose the most sensible course of action in order to deal with this Ransomware-related issue.
Remove .VACv2 Ransomware Virus
Note: Before you go any further, we advise you to bookmark this page or have it open on a separate device such as your smartphone or another PC. Some of the steps might require you to exit your browser on this PC.
2: Task Manager
Press Ctrl + Shift + Esc to enter the Task Manager. Go to the Tab labeled Processes (Details for Win 8/10). Carefully look through the list of processes that are currently active on you PC.
If any of them seems shady, consumes too much RAM/CPU or has some strange description or no description at all, right-click on it, select Open File Location and delete everything there.
Also, even if you do not delete the files, be sure to stop the process by right-clicking on it and selecting End Process.
3: The Hosts file
Go to c:\windows\system32\drivers\etc\hosts. Open the hosts file with notepad.
Find where it says Localhost and take a look below that.
If you see any IP addresses there (below Localhost) send them to us here, in the comments since they might be coming from the virus.
4: Disable Startup programs
Re-open the Start Menu and type msconfig.
Click on the first search result. In the next window, go to the Startup tab. If you are on Win 10, it will send you to the Startup part of the task manager instead, as in the picture:
If you see any sketchy/shady looking entries in the list with an unknown manufacturer or a manufacturer name that looks suspicious , disable those programs and select OK.
5: Registry Editor
Press Windows key + R and in the resulting window type regedit.
Now, press Ctrl + F and type the name of the virus.
Delete everything that gets found. If you are not sure about whether to delete something, do not hesitate to ask us in the comments. Keep in mind that if you delete the wrong thing, you might cause all sorts of issues to your PC.
6: Deleting potentially malicious data
Type each of the following locations in the Windows search box and hit enter to open the locations:
Delete everything you see in Temp linked to .VACv2 Ransomware. About the other folders, sort their contents by date and delete only the most recent entries. As always, if you are not sure about something, write to us in the comment section.
The previous steps were all aimed at removing the .VACv2 Ransomware from your PC. However, in order to regain access to your files, you will also need to decrypt them or restore them. For that, we have a separate article with detailed instructions on what you have to do in order to unlock your data. Here is a link to that guide.
Encryption of a cryptovirus
The use of encryption is probably one of the most typical traits of any cryptovirus and it’s also one of the main reasons for the high success rate of such infections. Normally, the process itself isn’t something harmful – nothing on your machine would actually get damaged by it. The files would simply get locked and you won’t be able to open them but they would still be perfectly intact. Due to this overall lack of harmful consequences, it might be really difficult to spot a Ransomware infection on time. There are usually pretty much no infection indications and many antivirus programs might also be incapable of spotting the threat as they won’t see it as something damaging or dangerous. Some of the few possible red flags that might sometimes get triggered by a Ransomware cryptovirus are the increased use of RAM and/or CPU time. Therefore we advise you to stay alert and try to notice any such unusual PC behavior as this might be your only chance for detecting a cryptovirus infection on time.
What options do you have?
Let’s say that .VACv2 has already managed to complete its task and it has generated a ransom-demanding note on your screen that tells you the only way to recover your files is if you make the requested payment. What do you do in such a situation? Well, you can, of course, go for the payment but this isn’t really a very advisable course of action as you might simply lose your money. You see, nothing is to say that if you make the transaction you’d actually get the needed key as the hackers might simply choose not to send it to you and there are indeed many real-life examples of this happening to other users. The other possible thing you can try is seek for an alternative solution and although there are pretty much no surefire methods for handling a Ransomware threat, we have still tried to provide our readers with a detailed guide that might help them eliminate .VACv2 and maybe potentially get some of their files back. We can’t guarantee a successful outcome but it is still important that you try everything that might be helpful before you actually consider making the payment.
Something else to mention here is the importance of ensuring that no more Ransomware threats reach your machine. Normally, infections like .VACv2 get distributed via spam letters, illegal and pirated downloads and malvertising ads. Generally, it’s advisable you keep away from the shady corners of the Internet and avoid clicking on any kind of online content that doesn’t seem to be reliable. A very good way to keep your files safe is to have them backed-up so don’t forget about that. Use a backup and keep it updated and no Ransomware should be an issue for you.
|Danger Level||High (Ransomware is by far the worst threat you can encounter)|
|Symptoms||Ransomware infections are really sneaky and the only thing that might give them away is an increase in the usage of RAM and CPU on the targeted PC.|
|Distribution Method||Different methods like spam messages, shady ads, pirated downloadable content and Trojan Horse backdoor infections can be used to distribute Ransomware.|
Daniel Sadakov has a degree in Information Technology and specializes in web and mobile cyber security. He harbors a strong detestation for anything and everything malicious and has committed his resources and time to battling all manners of web and mobile threats. He has founded MobileSecurityZone.com, a website dedicated to covering the top tech stories and providing useful tips for the everyday user, in an effort to reach and help more people.