VVEW Ransomware Virus Spread & Why You Should Protect Your Computer
- VVEW Ransomware Virus Spread & Why You Should Protect Your Computer
- How to Safeguard Your Computer against STOP/DJVU Ransomware Virus
- How to Remove VVEW Ransomware Virus
- Decrypt VVEW files
- Frequently Asked Questions
VVEW ransomware virus is a new malware variant that has been released by cybercriminals, and they’re targeting random computers to infect. Those behind it are no other than the notorious STOP/DJVU ransomware group. Their intention is to infect as many computers as possible for ransom purposes while hoping that their owners would email them to seek help. To achieve their aim, they would fake popular software setup files and embed them with malware before uploading them on online torrent platforms for unsuspecting users to download and infect their systems. Alternatively, they may also send unsolicited emails with attachments to random addresses. Once the system becomes infected with VVEW ransomware virus, the next thing it does would be to encrypt every file contained in it. This would be followed by addition of .vvew as an extension to the files, respectively. What it means, in essence, is that, a file previously saved as 1.jpg or 3.jpeg would become transformed to 1.jpg.vvew or 3.jpeg.vvew and so on.
While the above process is still occurring, notifications known as _readme.txt would also be saved on the victim’s computer. The _readme.txt is a ransom note informing the victim about what just happened any why they would expect to pay a ransom fee which would prompt them to release decryption tools that enable them to recover their encrypted files.
The ransom note demands money
Two email addresses (email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org) will also be released to facilitate further communication between both parties. If the victim makes any attempt to reach out to the cybercriminals, they would respond by stating that the ransom fee is $980, even though they would be willing to accept only 50% of it, which amounts to $490, but with the condition that payment must be made before 72 hours elapse.
Additionally, they would warn that payment can only be made by purchasing cryptocurrency worth the ransom fee and transferring same to a digital wallet address that would be provided by them. They make use of such a cryptic payment method because it helps them to remain undetected.
However, victims of STOP/DJVU ransomware virus attacks are advised never to comply with the demands of cybercriminals. It is even best not to communicate with them because nothing positive ever comes out of it. The FBI with the support of other cybersecurity agencies globally all accedes to this and some of the reasons given by them are provided below for your consideration:
- Making huge sums of money available to cybercriminals is counterproductive because it gives them an incentive to continue being a menace to other computer users.
- Payment of ransom in any form might be considered illegal by law.
- There is no guarantee that reliable decryption tools would be provided by them even after receiving ransom payment.
- More funds at their disposal would enable them to increase their capacity to harm greater number of people.
- When victims pay ransom, they make themselves vulnerable to future extortion by greedy cybercriminals.
Try to secure your computer as soon as possible
While awareness is being created about VVEW ransomware virus, it is also important to note that other dangerous Trojans such as RATs usually accompany them. RAT is an acronym that stands for Remote Access Trojan and is used in stealing sensitive information without the victim being aware. Such information that could be extracted by similar threats includes passwords, banking details, cryptocurrency wallets, software login details etc. The loss of such sensitive information could result in more problems for the victim.
That is why it is very important to remove VVEW ransomware virus ASAP once it is detected in any computer. This can be effectively done by choosing Safe Mode with Networking once the computer is switched on.
|Name||VVEW Ransomware Virus|
|Type||Ransomware; Crypto-malware; Virtual Extortion Virus|
|Encryption type||RSA 2048 + Salsa20|
|Previous versions||FATP, FATE, TCBU, POZQ, ZATP, ZATE (find full list here)|
|Cybercriminal email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org|
|Additional malware dropped||Azorult or Vidar Trojan|
|Damage||The ransomware uses encryption to maliciously modify all files on the PC and marks their original names with .vvew extension. Ransom notes called as _readme.txt will be dropped in every computer folder. This piece of malware usually drags VIDAR Stealer alongside it and also eliminates VSS from the system. On top of that, it tends to modify Windows HOSTS file to restrict computer user’s access to cybersecurity-related websites online.|
|Ransom demand||$490-$980 in Bitcoin|
|Distribution||Victims often download this ransomware along illegal torrent downloads, cracked software, activators, key generators or tools like KMSPico.|
|Known software cracks to contain this malware||Corel Draw, Tenorshare 4ukey, Adobe Photoshop, Cubase, Adobe Illustrator, Internet Download Manager, Tally, League of Legends.|
|Detection names||Ransom:Win32/StopCrypt.PAL!MTB (Microsoft), Trojan.Crypt (A) (Emsisoft), HEUR:Trojan-Ransom.Win32.Stop.gen (Kaspersky), Trojan.GenericKD.47850419 (BitDefender), Trojan.MalPack.GS (Malwarebytes), ML.Attribute.HighConfidence (Symantec) see all detection name variations on VirusTotal|
|Removal||Remove ransomware and related malware from your PC using trustworthy software. To repair virus damage on Windows OS files, consider scanning with RESTORO (secure download link).|
REPAIR VIRUS DAMAGE
Scan your system for FREE to detect security, hardware and stability issues. You can use the scan results and try to remove threats manually, or you can choose to get the full version of software to fix detected issues and repair virus damage to Windows OS system files automatically. Includes Avira spyware/malware detection & removal engine.
Files locked by this ransomware are shown in a test data folder below.
How to Safeguard Your Computer against STOP/DJVU Ransomware Virus
Computer users need to be careful about their activities online in order to avoid getting their systems infected with VVEW ransomware virus. Only genuine software contents downloaded from the official pages of original content producers or their recommended third party agents should be used in your computer. Going to online torrents platform or using illegal peer-2-peer sharing methods is dangerous and can lead to ransomware attack. Likewise, emails and attachments from unrecognized sources should not be opened.
Cybercriminals often embed malware on pirated software contents or emails/attachments and they become active once downloaded to random computers. That is why they should be avoided at all costs.
Cybercriminals make use of these deceptive methods in order to deceive unsuspecting computer users and achieve their inordinate plans of infecting their computers and encrypting their files so they could extort money from them.
Cybercriminals are aware that some computer users don’t like paying the fees charged by the original software content producers, so they cunningly provide them a pirated alternative while embedding ransomware in them. Here are some of the popular software contents often used by them:
- Adobe Illustrator;
- Adobe Photoshop;
- Adobe Premiere Pro;
- Corel Draw;
- Fifa 20;
- VMware Workstation;
- League of Legends;
- Tenorshare 4ukey;
- Internet Download Manager.
Computer users should understand that paying the fees asked by software content producers is the best thing to do. They would be helping the industry to grow while also protecting their computers from harm. Those providing cloned alternatives are criminals trying to reap from where they did not sow. They’re never doing it to help the users but rather to spread highly destructive ransomware for extortion purposes. Based on that, online torrents platforms, P2P sharing platforms, and opening of emails or attachments from unrecognizable sources should all be avoided. Otherwise, you may end up paying a lot more as ransom fees and still fail to recover your encrypted files.
Popular files like PDF, XLS and DOCX among similar ones are preferably used by cybercriminals due to their macro function abilities. They make it possible for them to attach ransomware virus on cloned software contents and also trigger them once downloaded on any computer. There is hardly any reliable solution against STOP/DJVU ransomware encryption except being proactive enough in avoiding infection. Most of the sites claiming to have solutions to it are fraudulent and may even make the situation worse for victims by infecting their computer with additional malware. However, two brands known as DiskTuna and Emsisoft have proven reliable as decryption/data repair tools.
How to Remove VVEW Ransomware Virus
To effectively remove VVEW ransomware virus from an infected computer, the system should be set up in Safe Mode with Networking when it’s still booting. Afterwards, genuine antivirus software should be activated as well and scanned. To finalise the cleanup, we recommend downloading RESTORO (review available here) to repair virus damage on Windows OS files.
After removing the virus, there are other actions that need to be taken as well, as listed below:
- Search for available backups to restore lost files.
- Report to the police.
- Change all passwords that were used on the infected computer.
In conclusion, it is best to be proactive at all times by ensuring that all risk factors that expose computers to virus infection are avoided.
OUR GEEKS RECOMMEND
Our team recommends a two-step rescue plan to remove ransomware and other remaining malware from your computer, plus repair caused virus damage to the system:
VVEW Ransomware Virus Removal Guidelines
Method 1. Enter Safe Mode with Networking
Step 1. Start Windows in Safe Mode with Networking
Before you try to remove VVEW Ransomware Virus virus, you must start your computer in Safe Mode with Networking. Below, we provide the easiest ways to boot PC in the said mode, but you can find additional ones in this in-depth tutorial on our website – How to Start Windows in Safe Mode. Also, if you prefer a video version of the tutorial, check our guide How to Start Windows in Safe Mode on Youtube.
Instructions for Windows XP/Vista/7 users
- First of all, turn off your PC. Then press the Power button to start it again and instantly start pressing F8 button on your keyboard repeatedly in 1-second intervals. This launches the Advanced Boot Options menu.
- Use arrow keys on the keyboard to navigate down to Safe Mode with Networking option and press Enter.
Instructions for Windows 8/8.1/10/11 users
- Open Windows Start menu, then press down the Power button. On your keyboard, press down and hold the Shift key, and then select Restart option.
- This will take you to Windows Troubleshoot screen. Choose Troubleshoot > Advanced Options > Startup Settings > Restart. Tip: If you can't find Startup Settings, click See more recovery options.
- In Startup Settings, press the right key between F1-F9 to enter Safe Mode with Networking. In this case, it is the F5 key.
Step 2. Remove files associated with the virus
Now, you can search for and remove VVEW Ransomware Virus files. It is very hard to identify files and registry keys that belong to the ransomware virus, Besides, malware creators tend to rename and change them repeatedly. Therefore, the easiest way to uninstall such type of a computer virus is to use a reliable security program such as INTEGO Antivirus. For virus damage repair, consider using RESTORO.
Compatibility: Microsoft Windows
See Full Review
RESTORO is a unique PC Repair Tool which comes with an in-built Avira scan engine to detect and remove spyware/malware threats and uses a patented technology to repair virus damage. The software can repair damaged, missing or malfunctioning Windows OS files, corrupted DLLs, and more. The free version offers a scan that detects issues. To fix them, license key for the full software version must be purchased.
Method 2. Use System Restore
In order to use System Restore, you must have a system restore point, created either manually or automatically.
Step 1. Boot Windows in Safe Mode with Command Prompt
Instructions for Windows XP/Vista/7 users
- Shut down your PC. Start it again by pressing the Power button and instantly start pressing F8 button on your keyboard repeatedly in 1-second intervals. You will see Advanced Boot Options menu.
- Using arrow keys on the keyboard, navigate down to Safe Mode with Command Prompt option and press Enter.
Instructions for Windows 8/8.1/10/11 users
- Launch Windows Start menu, then click the Power button. On your keyboard, press down and hold the Shift key, and then choose Restart option with the mouse cursor.
- In Startup Settings, press the right key between F1-F9 to enter Safe Mode with Command Prompt. In this case, press F6 key.
Step 2. Start System Restore process
- Wait until system loads and command prompt shows up.
- Type cd restore and press Enter, then type rstrui.exe and press Enter. Or you can just type %systemroot%system32restorerstrui.exe in command prompt and hit Enter.
- This launches System Restore window. Click Next and then choose a System Restore point created in the past. Choose one that was created before ransomware infection.
- Click Yes to begin the system restoration process.
After restoring the system, we recommend scanning the system with antivirus or anti-malware software. In most cases, there won't be any malware remains, but it never hurts to double-check. In addition, we highly recommend checking ransomware prevention guidelines provided by our experts in order to protect your PC against similar viruses in the future.
Alternative software recommendations
Removing spyware and malware is one step towards cybersecurity. To protect yourself against ever-evolving threats, we strongly recommend purchasing a Premium version of Malwarebytes Anti-Malware, which provides security based on artificial intelligence and machine learning. Includes ransomware protection. See pricing options and protect yourself now.
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Decrypt VVEW files
Fix and open large VVEW files easily:
It is reported that STOP/DJVU ransomware versions encrypt only the beginning 150 KB of each file to ensure that the virus manages to affect all files on the system. In some cases, the malicious program might skip some files at all. That said, we recommend testing this method on several big (>1GB) files first.
- Create a copy of encrypted file to a separate folder using Copy > Paste commands.
- Now, right-click the created copy and choose Rename. Select the VVEW extension and delete it. Press Enter to save changes.
- In the prompt asking whether you want to make the changes as file might become unusable, click OK.
- Try opening the file.
STOP/DJVU decryption tool usage guide
STOP/DJVU ransomware versions are grouped into old and new variants. VVEW Ransomware Virus is considered the new STOP/DJVU variant, just like FATP, FATE, TCBU, POZQ, ZATP, ZATE (find full list here). This means full data decryption is now possible only if you have been affected by offline encryption key. To decrypt your files, you will have to download Emsisoft Decryptor for STOP DJVU, a tool created and maintained by a genius security researcher Michael Gillespie.
Note! Please do not spam the security researcher with questions whether he can recover your files encrypted with online key - it is not possible.
In order to test the tool and see if it can decrypt VVEW files, follow the given tutorial.
- Download the decryption tool from Emsisoft.
- Click the little arrow next to your download and choose Show in Folder.
- Now, right-click the file and choose Run as Administrator. If asked, enter administrator's password.
- In UAC window, click Yes.
- Click Yes to agree to software terms in both windows.
- The tool will automatically include C:// disk as a location to decrypt. The file recovery tool will prepopulate the locations to scan, including connected data storage drives or network drives. Click Add folder if you wish to add additional locations.
In Options tab, you can choose to keep encrypted file copies. We recommend leaving this option selected, especially if you do not know if the decryption tool will work.
- Click Decrypt to start restoring VVEW files. You will see the progress in the Results tab. Here, you can see messages from the tool, such as whether the decryption procedure is successful, or you need to wait for an update.
You might also be informed that online key was used to encrypt your files. In such case, the decryption tool won't work for you, and the only way to recover your files is to use a data backup.
Meanings of decryptor's messages
The VVEW decryption tool might display several different messages after failed attempt to restore your files. You might receive one of the following messages:
Error: Unable to decrypt file with ID: [example ID]
This message typically means that there is no corresponding decryption key in the decryptor's database.
No key for New Variant online ID: [example ID]
Notice: this ID appears to be an online ID, decryption is impossible
This message informs that your files were encrypted with online key, meaning no one else has the same encryption/decryption key pair, therefore data recovery without paying the criminals is impossible.
Result: No key for new variant offline ID: [example ID]
This ID appears to be an offline ID. Decryption may be possible in the future.
If you were informed that an offline key was used, but files could not be restored, it means that the offline decryption key isn't available yet. However, receiving this message is extremely good news, meaning that it might be possible to restore your VVEW extension files in the future. It can take a few months until the decryption key gets found and uploaded to the decryptor. We recommend you to follow updates regarding the decryptable DJVU versions here. We strongly recommend backing up your encrypted data and waiting.
Report Internet crime to legal departments
Victims of VVEW Ransomware Virus should report the Internet crime incident to the official government fraud and scam website according to their country:
- In the United States, go to the On Guard Online website.
- In Australia, go to the SCAMwatch website.
- In Germany, go to the Bundesamt für Sicherheit in der Informationstechnik website.
- In Ireland, go to the An Garda Síochána website.
- In New Zealand, go to the Consumer Affairs Scams website.
- In the United Kingdom, go to the Action Fraud website.
- In Canada, go to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre.
- In India, go to Indian National Cybercrime Reporting Portal.
- In France, go to the Agence nationale de la sécurité des systèmes d’information.
If you can't find an authority corresponding to your location on this list, we recommend using any search engine to look up "[your country name] report cyber crime". This should lead you to the right authority website. We also recommend staying away from third-party crime report services that are often paid. It costs nothing to report Internet crime to official authorities.
Another recommendation is to contact your country's or region’s federal police or communications authority.
Frequently Asked Questions
You can only open VVEW files if you have the decryption key, or if you were affected by offline encryption type.
To figure out whether you were affected by offline encryption, please go to C:/SystemID/PersonalID.txt and see if the string inside of it ends in t1. You can also try using Emsisoft Decryptor for STOP/DJVU.
Please follow the guidances provided by the official VVEW decryption tools and believe what they say. If they say it is impossible to decrypt, it really is so. There is no magic tool or human capable of decrypting your files hiding somewhere. Encryption is a technique created to be nearly impossible to decrypt without a special private key (held by the criminals).
We advise scanning with anti-virus, anti-malware, malware removal tools or software like RESTORO to eliminate virus damage on the system. If you do not trust using a single tool, try running one after another. However, we do not recommend keeping several security programs on a computer at once as they can interfere with each other's work.
Beware of fake VVEW decryption tools circulating around the web. Cyber criminals are uploading them to various shady websites, also might be promoting them via suspicious Youtube videos. These programs can infect your computer even more heavily (Trojans, miners, etc.). We suggest being extremely cautious around the web. If there will be an official STOP/DJVU decryption tool available, it will be widely discussed in public media.
Norbert Webb is the head of Geek’s Advice team. He is the chief editor of the website who controls the quality of content published. The man also loves reading cybersecurity news, testing new software and sharing his insights on them. Norbert says that following his passion for information technology was one of the best decisions he has ever made. “I don’t feel like working while I’m doing something I love.” However, the geek has other interests, such as snowboarding and traveling.