Vawe is a ransomware virus, which is known to be part of STOP/DJVU family. It targets majority of basic files on the computer and uses a sophisticated technique in locking them to make it inaccessible from computer users. Once it ciphers the files, victims have no other way to regain access to their data unless they execute what is stipulated in the ransom note. Makers of Vawe ransomware clearly states that in order to have the decryption tool and private key combination, victims are required to transmit ransom free via designated payment processor.
Vawe Ransomware Infection
As said, Vawe came from a clan of virus where Tabe, Usam, and Zwer have also emerges. As such, this latest variants is also leaning of the same tactics to spread over the internet. Mainly, all variants from this family of malware including Vawe ransomware is successfully reaching random computer users via spam mass-mailing campaign. The virus is attached to emails and disguise as document from prominent organization in order to lure web users into reading the content that will eventually suggest opening of the attached file. The moment that email recipient executes the attachment, Vawe ransomware virus starts the first stage of the attack.
Vawe ransomware will search the hard drive for common files like documents, spreadsheets, presentations, images, photos, videos, and so on. This crypto-virus will use a complex algorithm in decrypting the files and afterwards, it will get appended with a .vawe extension.
Ransom note that contains the instructions as well as demand of attackers also appears on the same spot as the encrypted .vawe files. Attackers may try to convince victims that only them have the key to restore encrypted files. The ransom note states that victims can send a sample of infected data and in return, Vawe ransomware developers will decrypt them to show proof of legitimacy.
Ransomware note stipulates that only the attackers have the tool to decrypt Vawe files. So far, this is accurate because there is still no legitimate decryption program from trusted computer security vendors and malware researchers. Hence, even though victims were able to settle the ransom payment, there is no assurance that they will be able to receive Vawe decryption tool from attackers.
If in case that cyber crooks were able to disperse the decryption tool and private key as promised, there is no guarantee that it can decrypt the entire .vawe files because of the very complex method used in scrambling the data.
How to Remove Vawe Ransomware
Ransomware files are placed deeply into the system and on various locations, thus, thorough scanning is vital to totally remove Vawe 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 Vawe 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 Vawe’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 Vawe 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 Vawe 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 Vawe ransomware have been completely deleted from the computer. Please restart Windows to proceed with the normal operation.
Stage 3 : Unlocking files with Vawe Decryption Tool
Emsisoft Decryptor for STOP Djvu will work only if affected files were encrypted using Offline Keys. Vawe ransomware uses the alternate Offline Keys during encryption if there is a problem encountered while communicating to a remote command-and-control server. Follow the guide to start recovering .vawe encrypted files.
1. As precautionary measures, we suggest to BACKUP all your .vawe encrypted files first on a separate media (USB Drive, Flash Drive, DVD Discs, etc…).
2. Download Emsisoft Decryptor for STOP Djvu from this archive page.
3. Right-click on decrypt_STOPDjvu.exe and click “Run as Administrator“. Windows may prompt “Do you want to allow this app…” just click Yes to continue.
4. By default, the tool will pre-populate the locations where encrypted files were identified. To include other directories, simply click Add Folder button.
5. To start recovering files infected by Vawe ransomware, click on Decrypt button to start the procedure. The interface will display status of the current decryption process.
We will update this section once the full decryption tool is on hand. In the meantime, please try other options below if the above procedure is not not effective.
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 Vawe 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 Vawe 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 Vawe 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 Vawe 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.