HOWDECRYPT is a dangerous ransomware which was made to lock your computer and deny access to your own files. Just like the popular Cryptolocker, this new threat will encrypt certain files on the computer and demand payment before you can gain access to the said files. However, it seems that HOWDECRYPT demands higher than other ransomware. It demands user to pay $500 through MoneyPak, Ukash, Paysafecard, and other online payment scheme.
Normally, HOWDECRYPT virus attacks a computer with the help of another malware, trojan, or virus. It find flaws on the system which it will utilized as an entry point so that the process is hidden to most antivirus programs. In fact, once HOWDECRYPT is inside the PC, it instantly disables any security function running on the target computer.
HOWDECRYPT looks for important files like documents, spreadsheet, images, music, and videos. Two new documents is then added which gives instructions to users on how to decrypt affected files. In addition, HOWDECRYPT blocks access to certain web sites especially security pages where you can download tools and utilities that are useful in cleaning the PC from threats.
System Restore of Windows may help in resolving issues with viruses and malware. However, it is will not settle problems with encrypted files. If your computer is running on Windows Vista/7 or later, perhaps ‘Previous Versions’ may help restore files from backup.
How to Remove HOWDECRYPT Ransomware
Ransomware files are placed deeply into the system and on various locations, thus, thorough scanning is vital to totally remove HOWDECRYPT virus. Aside from our suggested tool, you may also run your own security program.
Though affected files may be impossible to decrypt due to complexity of the encryption, you can still try recovery method like Shadow Explorer or Previous Version as described below.
Stage 1: Scan the Computer with ESET Rogue Application Remover (ERAR)
1. Download the free scanner called ESET Rogue Application Remover.
Download Link for ERAR (this will open a new window)
2. Choose appropriate version for your Windows System. Save the file to a convenient location, preferably on Desktop.
3. After downloading the file, Windows will prompt that download has completed. Click Run to start the program. Another option is to browse the location folder and double click on the file ERARemover_.exe.
4. On ESET Rogue Application Remover SOFTWARE LICENSE TERMS, click Accept to continue.
5. The tool will start scanning the computer. It will prompt when it finds HOWDECRYPT and other malicious entities. Follow the prompt to proceed with the removal.
Stage 2: Double-check for HOWDECRYPT’s leftover with Microsoft’s Malicious Software Removal Tool
1. Download the free scanner called Malicious Software Removal Tool.
Malicious Software Removal Tool Download Link (this will open a new window)
2. The tool automatically checks the operating system and suggest appropriate download version. Click on Download button to begin. Save the file to a convenient location, preferably on Desktop.
3. After downloading the file, Windows will prompt that download has completed. Click Run to start scanning for HOWDECRYPT. Another option is to browse the location folder and double click on the file to run.
4. The tool will display Welcome screen, click Next. Please note the message “This tool is not a replacement for an antivirus product.” You must understand that this program is made specifically to find and remove malware, viruses, Trojans, and other harmful elements on the computer. It was not designed to protect the computer.
5. Next, you will see Scan Type. Please choose Full Scan to ensure that all HOWDECRYPT entities and other harmful files left on the computer will be found and removed. For advanced computer user, you can opt for Customized Scan, if there are other drives or folders you wanted to include in this scan.
6. Full scan may take a while, please wait for Malicious Software Removal Tool to complete the tasks. However, you may cancel the scan anytime by clicking on the Cancel button.
7. After scanning, the tool will reveal all identified threats. There may be other threats that our first scan fails to detect. Please remove/delete all detected items.
8. When removal procedure is complete, you may now close Malicious Software Removal Tool. We hope that HOWDECRYPT have been completely deleted from the computer. Please restart Windows to proceed with the normal operation.
Stage 3 : Unlocking files that were encrypted by HOWDECRYPT
1. Download the program Panda Ransomware Decrypt.
pandaunransom.exe Download Link (this will open on a new window)
2. Save the file to your hard drive, Desktop, or any location.
3. Once the download completed, double-click on the file pandaunransom.exe to run it.
4. You will see Panda Ransomware Decrypt program. Please refer to the image below.
5. Next, use Windows Explorer or My Computer to make a folder “PandaTest” and copy some of the encrypted files into this folder.
6. Go back to Panda Ransomware Decrypt program and click on Select Folder button. Select the newly created folder PandaTest.
7. Click on START button to begin. Process may take a while, please wait until it is completed.
8. If you were able to decrypt contents of the PandaTest folder, you may run the tool on all the affected files and folders on the computer.