Lotej is a highly dangerous ransomware that typically arrives on the computer uninvited. Cyber criminals behind this virus are spreading the malicious code in a number of ways but the most favored one is via spam email campaign. Via this method, Lotej is masquerading as significant attachment and the message body entices recipient for immediate viewing.
Once the virus is executed on the computer, its primary objective is to encrypt files and make them unusable. At this stage, files are not damage or corrupt, Lotej simply denies user’s right to use the files by encrypting them with complex algorithm, generating user’s unique ID in the process. The end result would be very catastrophic for victims because in order to recover the encrypted files, they must acquire private key and Lotej decryption software that are in the possession of attackers.
The attack leaves all infected file with an appended .lotej extension. Therefore transforming a word.doc file into word.doc.lotej format as the virus is applying the file-locking procedures. On the last part of this distressing attack, Lotej leaves a ransom note stating that only way out is to pay the ransom money by contacting the attackers. After the transaction, attackers stipulated that users are going to receive private key and decryption tool and from there, full recovery of all .lotej file may start.
Basing from previous reports, most instances of this transaction only favors ransomware makers. There were claims that victims receive nothing after making the payment and unfortunately, on this case, there is no option to go after the swindlers because they normally operate in a untraceable environment.
To sum up, it is still best to heed computer security expert’s advice to just backup all infected files and clean the computer as the preliminary action to Lotej infection. File recovery comes next if malware researchers were able to come up with a free decryption tool that is very feasible soon.
How to Remove Lotej Ransomware
Ransomware files are placed deeply into the system and on various locations, thus, thorough scanning is vital to totally remove Lotej 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 MBSetup.exe.
3. Carry out the installation with default setup process.
4. After the installation process, click the Get Started button to launch the program.
5. Continue with the prompts until the main program opens.
6. On the main console, click on Scan to run most complete detection method to find hidden objects associated to Lotej ransomware.
7. Scanning may take a while. Please wait until the anti-malware tool is done with the checking.
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 Lotej’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 Lotej 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 Lotej 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 Lotej ransomware have been completely deleted from the computer. Please restart Windows to proceed with the normal operation.
Stage 3 : Unlocking files with Lotej Decryption Tool
So far, this Lotej decryption tool works only for files that were encrypted using offline keys. This happens sometimes if the virus is unable to communicate to remote server to obtain unique keys; instead, it will use offline keys when encrypting files. However, there is a little chance of recovering files using this tool due to limited available offline keys that were integrated with this decryption tool.
For additional information (download link, supported versions, instructions) about StopDecrypter, please proceed to ransomware decryption tool archive page.
If you received a message stating that “No keys were found for the following IDs (.lotej)”, please copy and submit the information to the official download page to include your information (log file) and have it archive in case decryption software becomes available.
We will update this section once the full decryption tool is on hand. In the meantime, please try other options below.
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 Lotej 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 Lotej 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 Lotej 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 Lotej 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.