The discovery of Zatrov only reveals that its origin, STOP ransomware family is continuously developing new variants day after day. Sometimes, the malware groups proves to circulate even two edition in single release like in the case of Lotej and Kovasoh, which were concurrently deployed over the internet. Like most variants, Zatrov make use of the ever-enticing spam emails where the message was allegedly sent by a prominent organization. To trick users into executing the attached Zatrov virus, attackers cleverly modified it to appear as if a document file. As part of the persuasive attempt is a promising message that was made short, where recipient is commended to view the full content on the attached file.
Another thing that made Zatrov to gain unauthorized access to random computers is through file-sharing networks. Cyber crooks are well aware that many are fond of downloading free software. So, they are taking advantage of the several freeware to spread Zatrov. What they really do is integrate the malicious code to free apps with high demand like utilities, games, media player, and so on.
The execution of malicious code initiates the Zatrov sequence of attack that usually begins by dropping several executable files on various system folders. Then, it searches the local drive for common files like documents, presentation, spreadsheet, photos, images, videos, archives, databases, and more. Following the hunting expedition is the most devastating action where Zatrov will encrypt selected files with a complex algorithm where it also generates a personal ID for specific victim. Along with this, appending all infected with .zatrov extension is another mean to disassociate the files from any installed programs, making it inoperable temporarily. Lastly, ransom note is placed on exact same folder are .zatrov files containing instructions on possible data recovery using paid private key and decryption software.
Be aware that paying the ransom note as stipulated in the ransom document does not guaranteed full restoration of all .zatrov files. Dealing with online fraudsters is a risky transaction; therefore, computer security experts do not suggests choosing this as an option. As advice, it is better to archive the infected file first while waiting for the legitimate Zatrov free decryption tool.
How to Remove Zatrov Ransomware
Ransomware files are placed deeply into the system and on various locations, thus, thorough scanning is vital to totally remove Zatrov 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 Zatrov 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 Zatrov’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 Zatrov 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 Zatrov 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 Zatrov ransomware have been completely deleted from the computer. Please restart Windows to proceed with the normal operation.
Stage 3 : Unlocking files with Zatrov Decryption Tool
So far, this Zatrov 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 (.zatrov)”, 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 Zatrov 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 Zatrov 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 Zatrov 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 Zatrov 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.