A ransomware virus like Dragon is one infection that is really hard to deal with particularly if it manages to lock common files on the computer. This piece of notorious malware mainly targets universal files like documents, presentations, spreadsheets, databases, archives, photos, images, videos, and so on. Initial objective of Dragon is to block user’s access to these files by encrypting it with a complex algorithm. It also appended a .locked extension to all infected files. Afterwards, attackers start to offer their own recovery tools at an expensive value.
Ransom money demanded by attacker is a costly 0.3 Bitcoin or $3,000 as payment for the Dragon Decryptor. Here is an excerpt from the ransom note:
All your files has been encrypted by a strong encryption with RSA-2048…
This means that the structure and data within your files have been irrevocably changed, you will not be able to work with them, read them, or see them, is it the same thing as losing them forever, but with our help, you can restore them…
Especially for you, on our server was generated the secret key pair RSA-2048 – public and private. All your files were encrypted with the public key, which has been transferred to your computer via the internet. Decrypting of your files is only possible with the help of the private key and decrypt program, which is on our secret server…
Dealing with ransomware makers is highly discouraged by computer security experts. While this online fraudster continues receiving profit from these illicit activities, they will carry on producing the virus and as of the current observation; computer attacks from ransomware type are increasing for the last years. Take for example the case of Dragon, it arises from Aurora family and this malware have several variants currently in the wild.
Instead of sending payments to attackers, malware researchers suggest to use the Emsisoft Decrypter for Aurora. Please see more details about this file recovery tool below.
How to Remove Dragon Ransomware
Ransomware files are placed deeply into the system and on various locations, thus, thorough scanning is vital to totally remove Dragon 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 alternative tool, Shadow Explorer or Previous Version as described below.
Stage 1: Scan the Computer with Anti-Malware Tool
1. Download free anti-malware scanner called MalwareBytes Anti-Malware.
Malwarebytes Anti-Malware Download Link (this will open a new window)
2. After downloading, install the program. It may run automatically or you have to double-click on the downloaded file MB3-Setup-[version].exe.
3. Carry out the installation with default setup process.
4. At the last stage of installation process, click the Finish button. The program should launch momentarily.
5. On Malwarebytes Anti-Malware console, select Scan from the menu to see available Scan Method.
6. Next, click on Threat Scan. This is the most complete scan method that will surely find any hidden malicious objects associated to Dragon ransomware.
7. Finally, click on Start Scan begin checking the computer for malware and similar threats.
8. Once the scan has completed, the tool will display the list of detected threats. Remove all identified malicious items and restart the computer if necessary.
Stage 2: Double-check for Dragon’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 Dragon ransomware. 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 Dragon ransom virus 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 Dragon ransomware have been completely deleted from the computer. Please restart Windows to proceed with the normal operation.
Stage 3 : Unlocking files with Dragon Decryption Tool
This free Dragon decryptor tool by Emsisoft will help recover all files (.locked) infected by Aurora ransomware variants. You can go to ransomware decryptor archive page and proceed to Aurora section to download the tool.
Option 1: Windows Previous Version Tool
Windows Vista and Windows 7 have a feature called Previous Versions. However, this tool is only usable if restore point was made prior to Dragon ransomware infection. To use this tool and recover files affected by the virus, please follow these steps:
1. Open My Computer or Windows Explorer.
2. Right-click on the affected files or folders. From the drop-down list, please click on Restore previous versions.
3. New window will open display all backup copy of files and folders you wanted to recover. Choose the appropriate file and click on Open, Copy, or Restore. Restoring selected files overwrites the current encrypted files on the computer.
Option 2: Use ShadowExplorer to restore files encrypted by Dragon Ransomware
Just like Previous Version tool, ShadowExplorer is taking advantage of shadow copy created by Windows. This tool allows you to retrieve older version of files before it was encrypted by Dragon ransomware.
1. Download ShadowExplorer from the official web site.
2. Install the program with the default settings.
3. The program should run automatically after installation. If not, double-click on ShadowExplorer icon.
4. You can see the drop-down list on top of the console. Please select proper drive and the most recent point-in-time shadow copies of files you wish to restore prior to Dragon ransomware infection.
5. Right-click on the Drive, Folder, or File you wish to restore and click Export…
6. Lastly, ShadowExplorer will prompt for location where you want to save the copy of recovered files.