Remove .INFECTION File Virus (Nefilim Ransomware)

The topic of this post is all about INFECTION ransomware. Also on this page are helpful Removal Guide, possible File Decryption and Recovery, and ways to Secure the Computer against ransomware attack.

If the majority of files manifest .INFECTION extension, it implies that computer is infected with a ransomware from Nefilim malware family. Although this INFECTION ransomware is able to conceal itself on the computer, some anti-virus application can detect it as FileRep, Bulz, FileCoder, Nemty, Shelma, or Wacatac. It can enter a random target computer in a variety of methods and once penetrates successfully, INFECTION ransomware is going to attack the majority of files by encrypting them with complex algorithm.

How INFECTION ransomware spreads?

As stated, actors behind this virus are employing different tactics when spreading the malicious code. Primarily they are engaging in phishing emails to distribute copies of INFECTION ransomware to scores of recipients. These attackers have tons of email addresses gathered from previous malware attack or they have acquired from an underground data market.

To trick email users and avoid suspicion, the email is in disguise as a valid letter from prominent organization. The subject covers almost entirely of business phrases including shipping details, payment, parcel delivery, bank account, tax, salary, and so on. Likewise, the attached file is masquerading as a legitimate document where in fact it is the executable format of INFECTION ransomware. Thus, opening the said email attachment will launch the virus infection.

Aside from emails, INFECTION ransomware also infiltrates the computer through brute force by exploiting the vulnerability on RDP. Then, it will escalate the privilege on the system by further exploiting local software weaknesses. Trend Micro analysis states that this ransomware variant is able to harvest user’s credentials and deploy CobaltStrike to control the environment. It then makes copies of data from network servers, shared directories, and compress them before moving it to a designated location.

File Encryption and Decryption

On the stages of file encryption by the INFECTION ransomware, a command-and-control (C&C) server will be contacted to receive commands. A public key is also obtained from the remote server and the virus will use this while it encrypts target files like documents, photos, images, videos, zip files, and so on. Though the cipher action is enough to make the files inaccessible, the virus still appends the .INFECTION file extension to serve as a marker that data is encrypted. As a result, the ordinary file word.doc will transform into word.doc.INFECTION.

Image of .INFECTION encrypted files

At the last part of the attack, INFECTION ransomware will generate a text file INFECTION-HELP.txt containing instructions and details to communicate with the attackers to be able to obtain the decryption software. Aside from permanent file encryption, attackers are threatening the victims that they will expose the collected confidential data to the public if no ransom money was received during the stated period.

[expand title=”Technical Data of INFECTION Ransomware”]

Technical Details
Threat NameINFECTION Ransomware, Nefilim, Nephilim
Threat TypeCrypto-virus, File Locker, Encryption Virus
File Extension.INFECTION
Ransomware Note FileINFECTION-HELP.txt
Discovered by@demonslay335
Virus AliasAd-Aware : Gen:Variant.Bulz.232846
AVG : FileRepMalware
Avira : TR/Agent.lesdm
BitDefender : Gen:Variant.Bulz.232846
DrWeb : Trojan.Encoder.33298
Emsisoft : MalCert.A (A)
ESET-NOD32 : A Variant Of Win32/Filecoder.Nemty.I
F-Secure : Trojan.TR/Agent.lesdm
Ikarus : Trojan.Encoder
Kaspersky : Trojan-Ransom.Win32.SuspFile.d
McAfee : Artemis!1441E78B9E6C
Microsoft : Trojan:Win32/Wacatac.B!ml
Panda : Trj/CI.A
Sophos : Generic PUA IM (PUA)
Tencent : Win32.Trojan.Filecoder.Dvzl
ViRobot : Trojan.Win32.Z.Bulz.3176784

For complete details including full detection list, hash file, file names, and technical behavior (registry actions, shell commands, and processes) of INFECTION ransomware, please refer to this VirusTotal page.

[/expand]

Backup your files

One important step before proceeding with the procedures below is to backup your files. Ransomware are not the same. Each has its unique sets of payloads aside from encrypting the files with complex method. Others tend to delete the infected files after certain period, while others keep them concealed on hidden places. In addition, ransomware decryption tools are not guaranteed to be perfect, there are instances that files suffer from damages during the decryption process.

So, create a backup copy of your entire INFECTION encrypted files right now.

INFECTION Ransomware Removal Guide

First thing to do is remove the INFECTION virus before attempting the decryption. Remember that as long as the ransomware is active, it will repeatedly encrypt the files on the compromised computer.

Infection of INFECTION ransom virus is dangerous to the system because it can inject files that runs each time Windows starts. To prevent the malicious files from loading, Windows operating system must run with minimal process and it can be done through SafeMode With Networking.

Stage 1 : Temporarily Disable System Restore on Windows OS

Because INFECTION and relevant virus is capable of reinstating itself by exploiting the System Restore of Windows, we suggests that you temporary disable System Restore while executing the steps. This option is also helpful to effectively run a full scan on the computer.

Do not forget to enable back System Restore after completing the removal of INFECTION ransomware. This feature is vital in reinstating the operating system to previous normal working condition in case of problems or conflicts occurs.

Stage 2 : Start Windows in Safe Mode With Networking

Windows 10 Guide

1. Click on Windows logo and select Power icon when options pop-ups.
2. Select Restart from the options while pressing Shift key on the keyboard.
3. Choose an Option window will appear, select the Troubleshoot button.
4. On next window, please choose Advanced Option.
5. On Advanced Option window, click on Startup Settings and then, click Restart button to reboot the computer.
6. When Windows boot on Startup Settings, press function key F5 or number 5 on keyboard.

A simpler alternative for Windows 10 users is to scan the computer with Microsoft Defender Offline. This will run a virus scan in the recovery environment.

Windows 8 Guide

1. Click Windows Start icon at the lower left section of the screen.
2. Open Search window and type Advanced in the field. It will open General PC Settings.
3. Click on Advanced Startup and then, click on Restart Now button.
4. Once the computer starts in Advanced Startup option menu, select Troubleshoot.
5. Next, click on Advanced Options to reveal the next section.
6. Click Startup settings and then, click Restart button to boot the PC in Startup Settings.
7. Use function key F5 or number key 5 to Enable Safe Mode with Networking.

Stage 3 : Scan the Computer with Sophos Antivirus

Ransomware files are placed deeply into the system and on various locations, thus, thorough scanning is vital to totally remove INFECTION virus. Aside from our suggested tool, you may also run your own security program.

To remove INFECTION automatically, scanning the computer with this efficient anti-malware tool is suggested. This scanner does not just uncover known threats like viruses or malware, it is also effective in discovering hazardous ransomware like INFECTION.

1. Download Sophos Virus Removal Tool from the link below. Save the file on your computer where you can easily access it.

2. Once the download completes, browse the location of the file. Double-click to run the program and begin the install process.

Screnshot of Sophos Installer

3. On first windows of installation wizard, click Next to continue. Then, it will display the program’s License Agreement. You need to Accept the terms in order to proceed. If Windows prompts for User Account Control, please click Yes to proceed.

Screenshot of Sophos EULA Page

4. On succeeding windows, click Next or Continue to carry on with the installation. After completing the installation process, Launch Sophos Virus Removal Tool.

5. Internet connection is required when running this virus scanner in order to download important updates. Make sure that everything is up-to-date to effectively remove INFECTION ransomware and other relevant viruses.

6. Click the Start Scanning button to inspect the computer. This will check the system for presence of malicious objects, malware, and viruses. The tool reveals items that were found linked to INFECTION and other suspicious entities. Be sure to remove all identified threats.

Screenshot of Sophos Virus Scan

The above procedures should have totally eliminated INFECTION ransomware. However, if you found that there are still remnants of the virus, please proceed to succeeding procedures below.

Stage 4 : Double-check with Microsoft's Malicious Software Removal Tool

1. Download the free scanner called Malicious Software Removal Tool.

Download MSRT

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 INFECTION ransomware. Another option is to browse the location folder and double click on the file to run.

MSRT Icon

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.

MSRT Welcome

5. Next, you will see Scan Type. Please choose Full Scan to ensure that all INFECTION 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.

MSRT 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.

MSRT Scan

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 INFECTION ransomware have been completely deleted from the computer. Please restart Windows to proceed with the normal operation.

Recover Files from INFECTION Ransomware Infection

On this section, we will provide ways to decrypt files infected with INFECTION ransomware. Aside from dedicated decryption software and common tools, other options for file recovery are provided. As much as we can, we will update this area whenever there is new and more suitable decryption tool was made available.

Decrypting INFECTION infected files with Emsisoft Tools

This service from Emsisoft is helpful in unlocking encrypted files without paying the ransom. It gives three ways to detect the ransomware and provide suitable recovery method:

Upload ransom note – This is usually the .txt or .hta files that was generated by INFECTION ransomware.

Upload the encrypted file – The actual encrypted file. Choose the one that is less than 8MB in size.

Contact information – Enter the email address or any links provided as it appears in the ransom note of INFECTION virus.

Emsisoft Tools

After submitting any of the appropriate data, Emsisoft will attempt to identify the ransomware and provide keys if there are available.

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 ransomware infection. To use this tool as "recovery option" for files encypted by INFECTION 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 locked files on the computer. The tool is not actually recovering files encrypted by INFECTION. Instead, it restores files from backup copy.

Option 2: Use ShadowExplorer to restore files encrypted by INFECTION 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 INFECTION 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 INFECTION ransomware infection.

shadow3

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.

How to protect the computer from INFECTION ransomware?

After the removal of the ransomware, it is important to prevent similar incident from happening again. In order to protect the computer effectively, computer user must know how INFECTION ransomware was able to infect the computer. To minimize the possible infection, staying away from the common sources of this virus is crucial.

How INFECTION ransomware can infect your computer?

The method of infecting the computers was found to be similar as other common viruses. Though, ransomware like INFECTION is seen to have efficient deployment via spam email messages, web injectors, malicious software installers, misleading online advertisements, and through another virus infection.

Once the virus is executed, it immediately infects the system. Then, INFECTION ransomware communicates to remote server so that unique key can be generated for the specific computer. After acquiring the key, it starts to decrypt target files using a complex method that is almost unbreakable. On the last stage of the attack, INFECTION ransomware demands for ransom money as payment for the decryption tool. To further understand the attack scheme, we have included an infographic below.

Infographic image of ransomware attack stages
You can print, download, or share the infographic by clicking the image.

Securing the computer against ransomware attack

Do a Regular File Back-up - Always backup your data on a separate storage devices such as external hard drives, optical discs, or online backup services.

Keep Your Software Updated - Make sure that you have the latest software updates especially on the operating system. Recent updates often contain vital security patches to help protect the computer against all forms of threats.

Install a Security Program - Protect the computer with effective anti-virus application using efficient real-time scanning. Regularly run a complete scan to check the computer for presence of malware.

Protect your files with Controlled Folder Access (Windows 10)

For Windows 10 users, aside from protecting the computer using anti-virus or anti-malware programs, one way to protect against ransomware attack is by using Controlled Folder Access. This feature of Windows Defender Security Center may not prevent the INFECTION ransomware infection, but it can protect the folder and files in general. Follow the steps to enable Controlled Folder Access in Windows 10.

1. Go to Windows 10 Taskbar and search for Windows Defender Security Center.

2. Open Windows Defender Security Center and click on Virus & Threat Protection icon.

Virus and Threat Protection

3. On next window, please click on Ransomware Protection.

4. Under Controlled Folder Access section, switch the slider to On. That will enable the feature and protect the folder against INFECTION or any type of ransomware.

Controlled Folder Access

5. Click on Protected Folderslink to include additional folders. Make sure that folders where important files are located should be included in the list.

Add Protected Folder

Troubleshooting Guide

Certain programs maybe blocked by Controlled Folder Access feature. To fix the issue, simply have the specific program to be white listed.

1. Under Protected Folders, click Allow an app through controlled folder access.

2. Next, click the Add an allowed app and include the target executable file.

This Controlled Folder Access feature is one way to protect files against INFECTION. Other important things to do in keeping files safe against ransomware is through early prevention like keeping programs updated, install an efficient security program, an do regular file backup on a separate media drive.

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