I wrote this article to help you remove Unlock26 Ransomware. This Unlock26 Ransomware removal guide works for all Windows versions.
Unlock26 ransomware is a win-locker virus which was discovered in late February. The clandestine program has two variants. They appeared at around the same time. Their technical characteristics are identical, as they both use a combination of RSA-2048 algorithm and AES CBC-256 cipher to lock files. The purpose of viruses like Unlock26 ransomware is to extort money from computer users by forcing them to pay a ransom. The win-locker encrypts the victim’s personal files, rendering them inaccessible. The user is required to pay a certain sum to be able to open his text documents, images, videos, audios, archives, databases, and other objects on his computer. The cyber criminals state that the only way to unlock them is with a unique decryption key which only they can provide.
The most relevant difference between the two builds of Unlock26 ransomware is the amount of the ransom. The creators of the nefarious program have a unique approach to announcing the sum. You would have to understand maths on a higher level to be able to figure out how much they are asking for. The two values for the ransom are 1.e-002 BTC and 6.e-002 BTC. This corresponds to 0.01 BTC and 0.06 BTC, accordingly. Reading the mathematical equation is hard enough, but you also have to convert the sum to your national currency. Since the bitcoin cryptocurrency fluctuates, the amount changes on a daily basis. Currently, 0.01 BTC converts to $12.88 USD, while 0.06 BTC is equal to $77.28 USD. The upside to trading with bitcoins is that the transaction cannot be tracked down. This mechanism is misused by cyber crooks who take advantage of the opportunity to remain anonymous.
The process of distributing Unlock26 ransomware is just as underhanded. The furtive program gets spread via spam emails. The sender behind the containing letter will try to make it seem legitimate. Spammers use a variety of tricks to get people to access malicious attachments. To begin with, they make them sound important. The attachment can be described as a recommended letter, a receipt, a bank statement, an invoice, a bill, or a fine. The sender could write on behalf of a reliable entity, like the national post, a courier firm, a bank, a government branch, or the local police department. Before opening a file from an email, make sure the message is legitimate. Check the available contacts.
Accessing the host file can be enough to start the transfer of Unlock26 ransomware to your machine. The setup file of the win-locker is titled b1Z7gfdX0.exe. When the virus enters the system, it gets to work right away. Unlock26 ransomware locks files seamlessly. The process runs on the background. Upon finishing the encryption, the win-locker explains the situation to the victim. For the purpose, it creates a ransom note. ReadMe-Nyd.html and ReadMe-Q1u.html are the names the two versions of Unlock26 ransomware use for the note. The covert program drops a copy of the object in all folders which contain encrypted files. You are sure to notice it.
You will also notice changes in your files. Their original icon will be changed to a blank white icon, signifying that their format is unfamiliar to Windows. This is what Unlock26 ransomware does to the targeted objects. The win-locker renders their code, making it unreadable. It also adds a suffix after their file extension. The two builds attach a different appendix. One of them uses .locked-Nyd which corresponds to the name of the ransom note. The other variant of Unlock26 ransomware utilizes the formula .locked-[3 alpha numeric characters] to generate a unique appendix for each infected device. Another unusual characteristic is a bot test where the user has to click on an image from five given options to prove he is human. The separate builds use different symbols. In one instance, there are a pair of scissors, a foot, an alarm clock, a house, and a key chain. The other variant displays a pair of glasses, a padlock, a treble clef, an airplane, and a laptop.
Unlock26 ransomware also uses a QR code in the final page of the payment website. The website is hosted on the Tor network. This is a further security measure, as the Tor web browser protects the IP address and the geographic location of the user. The cyber thieves do not risk getting tracked down. Their anonymity is guaranteed. Until experts manage to crack the code of Unlock26 ransomware and devise a custom decrypter for the malignant program, the alternative solution would be to attempt to recover your files from their shadow volume copies. We do not encourage victims to pay the ransom because there is no certainty. The attackers may not provide the decryption key. Even if they do, they could leave the payload of the win-locker on the hard drive and launch a second attack in time.
Unlock26 Ransomware Removal
Method 1: Restore your encrypted files using ShadowExplorer
Usually, Unlock26 Ransomware deletes all shadow copies, stored in your computer. Luckily, the ransomware is not always able to delete the shadow copies. So your first try should be restoring the original files from shadow copies.
- Download ShadowExplorer from this link: http://www.shadowexplorer.com/downloads.html.
- Install ShadowExplorer
- Open ShadowExplorer and select C: drive on the left panel
- Choose at least a month ago date from the date field
- Navigate to the folder with encrypted files
- Right-click on the encrypted file
- Select “Export” and choose a destination for the original file
Method 2: Restore your encrypted files by using System Restore
- Go to Start –> All programs –> Accessories –> System tools –> System restore
- Click “Next“
- Choose a restore point, at least a month ago
- Click “Next“
- Choose Disk C: (should be selected by default)
- Click “Next“. Wait for a few minutes and the restore should be done.
Method 3: Restore your files using File Recovery Software
If none of the above method works, you should try to recover encrypted files by using File Recovery Software. Since Unlock26 Ransomware first makes a copy of the original file, then encrypts it and deletes the original one, you can successfully restore the original, using a File Recovery Software. Here are a few free File Recovery Software programs: