Read this article to learn how to remove the new Zilla ransomware variant, called Atom ransomware and learn how to restore files that have been encrypted with the .atom file extension.
A new version of the Zilla ransomware family carrying the .atom file extension which it adds to the files encrypted by the virus has appeared in the wild. The virus aims to encrypt the files on the computers which it infects and then ask from victims to pay a hefty ransom fee, usually in BitCoin in order to recover the files that have been encrypted by the virus. If you have become a victim of this ransomware virus, we strongly suggest that you read this material.
|Main Activity||Infects the computer after which encrypts important documents and holds them hostage until a ransom is paid.|
|Signs of Presence||Files are encrypted with the .ransed file extension.|
|Spread||Via malicious e-mail spam and set of infection tools.|
|File Recovery||Download Data Recovery Software, to see how many files encrypted by .Atom ransomware you will be able to recover.|
How Does .Atom Work?
Well, .Atom works just like most ransomware viruses do – it enters your system via a compromised file or a malicious URL contained in a spam email. Be cautious when opening even the slightest suspicious email in your inbox, especially if it contains an attachment or an URL. Once the compromised file or URL is opened, the virus downloads to your system and the infection begins..Atom scans your files first. It searches your PC for the following extensions:
.PNG .PSD .PSPIMAGE .TGA .THM .TIF .TIFF .YUV .AI .EPS .PS .SVG .INDD .PCT .PDF .XLR .XLS .XLSX .ACCDB .DB .DBF .MDB .PDB .SQL .APK .APP .BAT .CGI .COM .EXE .GADGET .JAR .PIF .WSF .DEM .GAM .NES .ROM .SAV CAD Files .DWG .DXF GIS Files .GPX .KML .KMZ .ASP .ASPX .CER .CFM .CSR .CSS .HTM .HTML .JS .JSP .PHP .RSS .XHTML. DOC .DOCX .LOG .MSG .ODT .PAGES .RTF .TEX .TXT .WPD .WPS .CSV .DAT .GED .KEY .KEYCHAIN .PPS .PPT .PPTX ..INI .PRF Encoded Files .HQX .MIM .UUE .7Z .CBR .DEB .GZ .PKG .RAR .RPM .SITX .TAR.GZ .ZIP .ZIPX .BIN .CUE .DMG .ISO .MDF .TOAST .VCD SDF .TAR .TAX2014 .TAX2015 .VCF .XML Audio Files .AIF .IFF .M3U .M4A .MID .MP3 .MPA .WAV .WMA Video Files .3G2 .3GP .ASF .AVI .FLV .M4V .MOV .MP4 .MPG .RM .SRT .SWF .VOB .WMV 3D .3DM .3DS .MAX .OBJ R.BMP .DDS .GIF .JPG ..CRX .PLUGIN .FNT .FON .OTF .TTF .CAB .CPL .CUR .DESKTHEMEPACK .DLL .DMP .DRV .ICNS .ICO .LNK .SYS .CFG
Once detected, they are being encrypted by a powerful AES (Advanced Encryption Standard) cypher and the victim’s desktop wallpaper is changed to the .Atom logo of the hacking group from Mr. Robot. And, that’s how you know you got attacked by .Atom ransomware.
What to Do If You Notice the Ransom Note of .Atom?
When you encounter the lockdown message, it means that your PC has already been encrypted. Even if you feel like you have no other choice but to pay, you should not do it. First and most important, even if you send the hackers your money, they may not unlock your PC. And since the Bitcoin system doesn’t allow refunds, you will not be able to get your money back. Second, your cash will increase the motivation of the hackers to develop more cyber threats like .Atom ransomware.
There are a few ways that may help you recover the lost data for free. Although this Trojan sometimes deletes the shadow volume copies, you should still attempt to restore your PC to a date prior the infection. You should also try some free decryptors, but there is no guarantee that they will be efficient. The most important step is to eliminate .Atom as soon as possible or else it may spread to other machines and cause more damage. It will be a challenge even for the experts to delete all traces of this ransomware manually, so you should consider using a dedicated anti-malware application.
What Will Be the Consequences After .Atom Ransomware Enters?.Atom performs a complex encryption process via advanced ciphers, which makes all personal files inaccessible. However, this operation takes time. If you click on a corrupt email attachment or download fake software updates, which contain .Atom, you may not experience any issues during the first few hours. Once the Trojan modifies the structure of your data, you will notice a lockdown message on your desktop. From this moment on, it will not be possible to open the locked files. If you lack a recent backup, you may lose crucial documents, photos, images, presentations, videos or other information. The only files that .Atom may spare will likely be associated with essential Windows processes. If they get modified as well, your whole PC may fail to launch, which means the hackers will never receive any payments. You can easily find out which files are encrypted by .Atom by their extension. The ransomware changes the default one to ‘.ransed’.
Booting in Safe Mode
1) Hold Windows Key and R
2) A run Window will appear, in it type “msconfig” and hit Enter
3) After the Window appears go to the Boot tab and select Safe Boot
Cut out .Atom in Task Manager
1) Press CTRL+ESC+SHIFT at the same time.
2) Locate the “Processes” tab.
3) Locate the malicious process of .Atom, and end it’s task by right-clicking on it and clicking on “End Process”
Eliminate .Atom‘s Malicious Registries
For most Windows variants:
1) Hold Windows Button and R.
2) In the “Run” box type “Regedit” and hit “Enter”.
3) Hold CTRL+F keys and type .Atom or the file name of the malicious executable of the virus which is usually located in %AppData%, %Temp%, %Local%, %Roaming% or %SystemDrive%.
4) After having located malicious registry objects, some of which are usually in the Run and RunOnce subkeys delete them ermanently and restart your computer. Here is how to find and delete keys for different versions.
For Windows 7: Open the Start Menu and in the search type and type regedit –> Open it. –> Hold CTRL + F buttons –> Type .Atom Virus in the search field.
Win 8/10 users: Start Button –> Choose Run –> type regedit –> Hit Enter -> Press CTRL + F buttons. Type .Atom in the search field.
Automatic Removal of .Atom
Recover files encrypted by the .Atom Ransomware.
Method 1: Using Shadow Explorer. In case you have enabled File history on your Windows Machine one thing you can do is to use Shadow Explorer to get your files back. Unfortunately some ransomware viruses may delete those shadow volume copies with an administrative command to prevent you from doing just that.
Method 2: If you try to decrypt your files using third-party decryption tools. There are many antivirus providers who have decrypted multiple ransomware viruses the last couple of years and posted decryptors for them. Chances are if your ransomware virus uses the same encryption code used by a decryptable virus, you may get the files back. However, this is also not a guarantee, so you might want to try this method with copies of the original encrypted files, because if a third-party program tampers with their encrypted structure, they may be damaged permanently. Here are the vendors to look for:
Method 3: Using Data Recovery tools. This method is suggested by multiple experts in the field. It can be used to scan your hard drive’s sectors and hence scramble the encrypted files anew as if they were deleted. Most ransomware viruses usually delete a file and create an encrypted copy to prevent such programs for restoring the files, but not all are this sophisticated. So you may have a chance of restoring some of your files with this method. Here are several data recovery programs which you can try and restore at least some of your files: