Remove Karl Ransomware (.karl File Infection)

Karl ransomware is a highly dangerous computer threat in which the whole operation is focusing on locking all common users file formats like documents, spreadsheet, database, archives, drawings, photos, videos, and so on. Attackers planned this so that they can demand ransom payment from victims if they need to restore encrypted files to its original form because at the current infected state, data are having .karl file extension. As mentioned, files with this format are unusable and considered to be worthless unless victims properly decrypt them with appropriate method.

Karl ransomware is known to be a representative of recent editions from STOP malware family and it is so unfortunate for victims that malware researchers have yet to find a solution to freely restore files with .karl extension. Unlike old variants that can be decrypted by Emsisoft Decryptor tool, attackers made significant changes to most recent versions of Karl including Kvag, Domn, and Meds. By applying proper asymmetrical encryption to these variants, the offline key decryption method no longer seen as alternative solution to recover .karl files.

Having said that, paying the attacker does not guarantee complete decryption of infected files and so, security experts never recommended it in the first place. Keep in mind that you are dealing with online swindlers who can leave without a mark after taking the ransom money. In addition, people behind Karl ransomware ensures that all transactions when dealing with them remains untraceable and they can achieve this by concealing their activities behind false internet addresses and obscured payment processor using Bitcoin currency.

Image of Karl encrypted files

While waiting for the proper decryption tool to recover Karl files, it is suggested to archive all infected files. Then, proceed with the removal of the virus to avoid infecting new files. Please navigate below for the complete removal procedures.

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 Karl encrypted files right now.

Karl Ransomware Removal Guide

First thing to do is remove the Karl 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 Karl 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.

Quick Fix - Scan the PC with Combo Cleaner for Windows

Combo Cleaner is a trusted PC security and optimization tool equipped with powerful virus and malware detection engine. This program can get rid of ransomware like Karl through this procedure.

1. Download the application from the following page:

2. Save the file to your preferred location.

3. Double-click the downloaded file CCSetup.exe and install with the default settings.

CC for Windows Installation

4. At the end of the setup process, click Finish to run Combo Cleaner.

5. The tool will update the signature file, please wait for this process to complete.

6. To begin checking for threats like Karl ransomware, click on the Start Scan button. Wait for this scan to finish.

CC for Windows Start Scan

7. At the end of the scan process, click on Remove all threats to delete Karl ransomware including all malicious objects from the computer.

Free features of Combo Cleaner for Windows include Disk Cleaner, Big Files finder, Duplicate files finder, and Uninstaller. To use antivirus, privacy scanner, and to delete identified threats, users have to upgrade to a premium version.

Please continue with the succeeding removal procedures if your are comfortable to manually get rid of the threat and malicious items linked with it.

Step 1 : Start Windows in Safe Mode With Networking

The method of running Windows in Safe Mode before running a virus scan is effective in getting rid of Karl. This process can prevent most viruses and malware from loading, making it easier to detect and remove them.

1. On the Windows Search bar, please type msconfig.

Screenshot of MSConfig Command

2. Select and open System Configutation on the list of found results.

3. Once you are in the System Configuration window, go to the Boot tab.

Screenshot of SafeBoot

4. Under the Boot Options area, please check Safe Boot and select Network. This will allow Windows to boot in Safe Mode with Networking.

5. Lastly, click on Apply and OK to save the changes.

6. Please restart Windows.

Do not forget to restore the normal boot process of Windows after running the virus scan. Simply repeat the method above, and this time, uncheck the Safe Boot option to run Windows normally.

Step 2 : 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 Karl virus. Aside from our suggested tool, you may also run your own security program.

To remove Karl ransomware 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 Karl.

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.

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 Karl 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 Karl ransomware and other suspicious entities. Be sure to remove all identified threats.

Screenshot of Sophos Virus Scan

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

Step 3 : Double Check with Windows Security Apps

Microsoft Windows has a built-in security application that you can use to double-check if your computer is still infected with Karl. For Windows 10/11 users, please run Windows Security.

Windows 10 / 11 Instructions:

Windows Security is a free tool that was built to help you remove Karl, viruses, and other malicious items from Windows 10/11 systems. Follow these procedures to scan your computer with the tool:

1. Tap or click the Search charm, search for Windows Security, and then open the application.

Image of Windows Security Search

2. On the Home tab, click Virus and threat protection from the sidebar.

3. On the main window, click on Scan Options. Then, click on Full Scan button.

Image of Scan Options

4. Lastly, click on the Scan now button to start scanning for the presence of Karl. The process may take a while to complete.

5. After the scan, Delete/Quarantine identified threats, whether they were relevant to Karl or not. You may now restart Windows to complete the virus removal process.

For older versions of Windows, you can scan the computer for free with the Microsoft Malicious Software Removal Tool (MSRT 64-Bit). It is a stand-alone virus scanner tool that targets prevalent malware groups.

Recover Files from Karl Ransomware Infection

On this section, we will provide ways to decrypt files infected with Karl 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 Karl infected files with Emsisoft Tools

This service from Emsisoft is helpful in unlocking encrypted files without paying the ransom. The page provides the list of ransomware decryption tools. All you have to do is look for the specific tool and start recovering the Karl encrypted file.

Option: Use ShadowExplorer to restore files encrypted by Karl Ransomware

ShadowExplorer depends on the presence of System Protection on every drive from which you wish to retrieve data. Furthermore, it is crucial that System Protection is enabled prior to any event that requires file recovery. It is worth noting that Windows automatically enables System Protection solely on the system partition (C). 

ShadowExplorer is taking advantage of shadow copy created by Windows system. This tool allows you to retrieve older version of files before it was encrypted by Karl 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 Karl ransomware infection.

Screenshot of ShadowExplorer

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 Karl 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 Karl ransomware was able to infect the computer. To minimize the possible infection, staying away from the common sources of this virus is crucial.

How Karl ransomware can infect your computer?

The method of infecting the computers was found to be similar as other common viruses. Though, ransomware like Karl 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, Karl 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, Karl 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 10/11)

For Windows 10/11 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 Karl ransomware infection, but it can protect the folder and files in general. Follow the steps to enable Controlled Folder Access in Windows 10/11.

1. Go to Windows 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 Karl virus or any type of ransomware.

Controlled Folder Access

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

Include Your 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 Karl ransomware. 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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