Zzzzz virus Removal Guide
Description of Zzzzz virus
What should you know about Zzzzz virus?
It’s hard to tell whether Locky’s developers have lacked imagination or they didn’t have enough time to think about the more creative name for their latest ransomware – Zzzzz virus. Indeed, in this article, we are going to tell you what you can expect from this version of the infamous Locky. Similarly to previous versions – Odin, Thor, .Shit and .Aesir viruses – it uses various distribution techniques, encrypts files using the same sophisticated encryption algorithms, changes the affected computer’s desktop with the same black with red letters wallpaper and drops the ransom note where victims are offered to purchase the Locky Decrypter necessary to restore encoded data. The combination of RSA-2048 and AES-256 ciphers allows Zzzzz ransomware to encrypt files using the public key and to decrypt with the private key. However, the private key is known only to the virus developers, but they are willing to sell it for the victims who want to get back access to the corrupted files. During data encryption malware makes files useless by appending .zzzzz file extension and makes them unrecognisable by renaming them using this scheme: [8_random_characters]-[4_random_characters]-[4_random_characters]-[4_random_characters]-[12_random_characters].zzzzz. The only files that are left untouched is important system files and the ransom note. Here victims can learn more about data encryption algorithms, how to purchase bitcoins, how to install Tor browser necessary for transferring the payment and how to use decryption tool. However, you should not follow hacker’s instructions. We recommend initiating Zzzzz removal with the help of ReimageIntego or other reputable malware removal software. When the virus is gone, you can opt for data recovery. Indeed, there are other ways how you can restore at least some of your files.
Locky became the most dangerous and fastest evolving ransomware of 2016. Since its appearance in February it has been updated several times and widespread even more. Ransomware is threatening not only for home computer users but business sectors as well. Malware started its career by target medical institutions in the USA and later targeted regular computer users. The demanded ransom depends on the targeted computers as well. Companies might be asked to pay hundreds of thousands of pounds; and home computer owners ‘only’ several hundred. At the moment Zzzzz virus asks to pay 1 Bitcoin that equals to almost 600 GBP. Paying the ransom might be a solution in only one condition – if malware attacked an institution and took over important documents. Risking in several thousands of dollars is better than bankruptcy. However, data backups are crucial in the era of ransomware. It helps both – companies and regular users. In case of the attack, there’s no need to worry about paying the ransom. Victims can simply remove Zzzzz ransomware from the computer and restore files from backups.
Ways to get infected with ransomware
The latest Locky’s and its variants distribution strategy include social networks. For the first time in the ransomware history, malware started spreading on Facebook. Victims receive a picture in the .svg file, which redirects to the third-party domain that is identical to YouTube and asks to install a particular plugin. If victims agree to install it, they let ransomware inside the PC. Zzzzz ransomware also spreads using traditional distribution method – malicious spam emails. It can pretend to be from well-known companies as Amazon or organizations such as Office of Personnel Management (OPM). Crooks use various persuasive techniques to trick users into opening the attached document. It might be MS Word file, PDF or ZIP archive. Besides, Zzzzz malware and its predecessors might get inside computers with the help of exploit kit or malware-laden ads. Therefore, it’s crucial to take all necessary precautions while browsing the Internet. Latest versions are also better getting through computer’s security and antivirus programs; however, it still recommended to install a strong security program because it minimises the risk of the attack. Also, it’s important to keep antivirus program updated as well as other software installed on your PC. Unfortunately, it’s important to be 100% secure, so you should make data backups and store then in the external devices or rely on online storage solutions.
Instructions for Zzzzz ransomware virus elimination
Getting infected ransomware is a horrible experience which might lead to data and money loss. However, we want to discourage you from paying the ransom and trying to get back access to your files this way. There are other options how you can restore at least some of your important records, but before that you have to remove Zzzzz from your PC. We recommend installing reputable malware removal utility, for instance, ReimageIntego or SpyHunter 5Combo Cleaner, and run a full system scan. Before that, you might need to reboot your computer to the Safe Mode with Networking as shown in the instructions below. Malware can prevent you from installing and updating security tools in order to stay longer on your PC and swindle your money. However, if you face some difficulties during Zzzzz removal, don’t give up. Eliminating malware for good is possible. Once you’ve done with removal, restore your files from backups or try additional data recovery options suggested below.
Getting rid of Zzzzz virus. Follow these steps
In-depth guide for the Zzzzz elimination
The elimination guide can appear too difficult if you are not tech-savvy. It requires some knowledge of computer processes since it includes system changes that need to be performed correctly. You need to take steps carefully and follow the guide avoiding any issues created due to improper setting changes. Automatic methods might suit you better if you find the guide too difficult.
Step 1. Launch Safe Mode with Networking
Safe Mode environment offers better results of manual virus removal
Windows 7 / Vista / XP
- Go to Start.
- Choose Shutdown, then Restart, and OK.
- When your computer boots, start pressing the F8 button (if that does not work, try F2, F12, Del, etc. – it all depends on your motherboard model) a few times until you see the Advanced Boot Options window.
- Select Safe Mode with Networking from the list.
Windows 10 / Windows 8
- Right-click the Start button and choose Settings.
- Scroll down to find Update & Security.
- On the left, pick Recovery.
- Scroll to find Advanced Startup section.
- Click Restart now.
- Choose Troubleshoot.
- Go to Advanced options.
- Select Startup Settings.
- Press Restart.
- Choose 5) Enable Safe Mode with Networking.
Step 2. End questionable processes
You can rely on Windows Task Manager that finds all the random processes in the background. When the intruder is triggering any processes, you can shut them down:
- Press Ctrl + Shift + Esc keys to open Windows Task Manager.
- Click on More details.
- Scroll down to Background processes.
- Look for anything suspicious.
- Right-click and select Open file location.
- Go back to the Process tab, right-click and pick End Task.
- Delete the contents of the malicious folder.
Step 3. Check the program in Startup
- Press Ctrl + Shift + Esc on your keyboard again.
- Go to the Startup tab.
- Right-click on the suspicious app and pick Disable.
Step 4. Find and eliminate virus files
Data related to the infection can be hidden in various places. Follow the steps and you can find them:
- Type in Disk Cleanup in Windows search and press Enter.
- Select the drive (C: is your main drive by default and is likely to be the one that has malicious files in) you want to clean.
- Scroll through the Files to delete and select the following:
Temporary Internet Files
- Pick Clean up system files.
- You can also look for other malicious files hidden in the following folders (type these entries in Windows Search and press Enter):
After you are finished, reboot the PC in normal mode.
Eliminate Zzzzz using System Restore
Step 1: Restart your computer in Safe Mode with Command Prompt
Windows 7 / Vista / XP
- Go to Start → Shutdown → Restart → OK.
- As soon as your computer starts, start pressing F8 key repeatedly before the Windows logo shows up.
- Choose Command Prompt from the list
Windows 10 / Windows 8
- Click on the Power button at the Windows login screen, and then press and hold Shift key on your keyboard. Then click Restart.
- Then select Troubleshoot → Advanced options → Startup Settings and click Restart.
- Once your computer starts, select Enable Safe Mode with Command Prompt from the list of options in Startup Settings.
Step 2: Perform a system restore to recover files and settings
- When the Command Prompt window appears, type in cd restore and press Enter.
- Then type rstrui.exe and hit Enter..
- In a new window that shows up, click the Next button and choose a restore point that was created before the infiltration of Zzzzz and then click on the Next button again.
- To start system restore, click Yes.
Bonus: Restore your filesUsing the tutorial provided above you should be able to eliminate Zzzzz from the infected device. novirus.uk team has also prepared an in-depth data recovery guide which you will also find above.
There are a couple of methods you can apply to recover data encrypted by Zzzzz:
Data Recovery Pro for data encryption
This tool has been created to restore lost, deleted and encrypted files. It may not decrypt all files corrupted by Zzzzz virus; however, some of them will be rescued.
- Download Data Recovery Pro;
- Install Data Recovery on your computer following the steps indicated in the software’s Setup;
- Run the program to scan your device for the data encrypted by Zzzzz ransomware;
- Recover the data.
Data recovery with Windows Previous Versions feature
If System Restore function has been enabled before ransomware attack, you should be able to find the previously stored copy of each file by following these steps:
- Right-click on the encrypted document you want to recover;
- Click “Properties” and navigate to “Previous versions” tab;
- In the “Folder versions” section look for the available file copies. Choose the desired version and press “Restore”.
Data recovery with ShadowExplorer
If Zzzzz ransomware virus did not delete Shadow Volume Copies, the ShadowExplorer would help you to recover some files.
- Download Shadow Explorer (http://shadowexplorer.com/);
- Install Shadow Explorer on your computer following the instructions in the software’s Setup Wizard;
- Run the program. Navigate to the menu on the top-left corner and select a disk containing your encrypted files. Look through the available folders;
- When you find the folder you want to recover, right-click it and select “Export”. Also, choose where the recovered data will be stored.
It is strongly recommended to take precautions and secure your computer from malware attacks. To protect your PC from Zzzzz and other dangerous viruses, you should install and keep a powerful malware removal tool, for instance, ReimageIntego, SpyHunter 5Combo Cleaner or Malwarebytes.
How to prevent from getting ransomware
Prevent the government from spying on you
As there is a growing debate in government about collecting users' data and spying on citizens, you should take a closer look at this issue and find out what shady ways of gathering information can be used to collect information about you. You need to browse anonymously if you want to avoid any government-initiated spying and tracking of information.
You can enjoy secure internet browsing and minimize the risk of intrusion into your system if you use Private Internet Access VPN program. This VPN application creates a virtual private network and provides access to the required data without any content restrictions.
Control government and other third party access to your data and ensure safe web browsing. Even if you do not engage in illegal activities and trust your ISP, we recommend being careful about your security. You should take extra precautions and start using a VPN program.
Recover files damaged by a dangerous malware attack
Despite the fact that there are various circumstances that can cause data to be lost on a system, including accidental deletion, the most common reason people lose photos, documents, videos, and other important data is the infection of malware.
Some malicious programs can delete files and prevent the software from running smoothly. However, there is a greater threat from the dangerous viruses that can encrypt documents, system files, and images. Ransomware-type viruses focus on encrypting data and restricting users’ access to files, so you can permanently lose personal data when you download such a virus to your computer.
The ability to unlock encrypted files is very limited, but some programs have a data recovery feature. In some cases, the Data Recovery Pro program can help recover at least some of the data that has been locked by a virus or other cyber infection.