How To Remove AHUI Ransomware [Virus Removal Guide]

If you cannot open your images, documents, or files and they have a .ahui extension, then your computer is infected with the STOP/DJVU ransomware.
This ransomware encrypts the personal documents found on the victim’s computer with the “.ahui” extension, then displays a message which offers to decrypt the data if payment in Bitcoin is made. The instructions are placed on the victim’s desktop in the “_readme.txt” file.

ahui ransomware

Image: AHUI ransomware note
Image: AHUI ransomware note

What is the AHUI ransomware?

AHUI is a file-encrypting ransomware infection that restricts access to data (documents, images, videos) by encrypting files with the “.ahui” extension. It then attempts to extort money from victims by asking for “ransom”, in the form of Bitcoin cryptocurrency, in exchange for access to data.

When you are first infected with the AHUI ransomware it will scan your computer for images, videos, and important productivity documents and files such as .doc, .docx, .xls, .pdf. When these files are detected, the ransomware will encrypt them and change their extension to “.ahui”, so that you are no longer able to open them.

Once the AHUI ransomware has encrypted the files on your computer, it will display the “_readme.txt” file that contains the ransom note and instructions on how to contact the authors of this ransomware. The victims of this ransomware will be asked to contact these malware developers via the support@fishmail.top and datarestorehelp@airmail.cc email addresses.

This is the ransom note that the AHUI ransomware will show to its victims:

ATTENTION!

Don’t worry, you can return all your files!
All your files like pictures, databases, documents and other important are encrypted with strongest encryption and unique key.
The only method of recovering files is to purchase decrypt tool and unique key for you.
This software will decrypt all your encrypted files.
What guarantees you have?
You can send one of your encrypted file from your PC and we decrypt it for free.
But we can decrypt only 1 file for free. File must not contain valuable information.
You can get and look video overview decrypt tool:
https://we.tl/t-oTIha7SI4s
Price of private key and decrypt software is $980.
Discount 50% available if you contact us first 72 hours, that’s price for you is $490.
Please note that you’ll never restore your data without payment.
Check your e-mail “Spam” or “Junk” folder if you don’t get answer more than 6 hours.

To get this software you need write on our e-mail:
support@fishmail.top

Reserve e-mail address to contact us:
datarestorehelp@airmail.cc

Here is a summary of the AHUI ransomware:

  • Ransomware family: STOP/DJVU ransomware
  • Extensions: .ahui
  • Ransomware note: _readme.txt
  • Ransom: From $490 to $980 (in Bitcoins)
  • Contact: support@fishmail.top and datarestorehelp@airmail.cc emails
  • Symptoms: The images, videos, and other documents have the “.ahui” extension and cannot be opened by any programs
  • File recovery: Unfortunately, it is not currently possible to decrypt the files encrypted by the AHUI ransomware. It may, though, be possible in the future if the decryption keys are recovered from the cybercriminals’ servers. Therefore, if you do not plan on paying the ransom, it is advised that you make an image of the encrypted drives so that you can decrypt them in the future.

How did the AHUI ransomware get on my computer?

The AHUI ransomware is distributed via spam email containing infected attachments, fake software cracks, or by exploiting vulnerabilities in the operating system and installed programs.

Here’s how the AHUI ransomware might get on your computer:

  1. Spam emails: Cybercriminals spam out an email, with forged header information, tricking you into believing that it is from a shipping company like DHL or FedEx. The email tells you that they tried to deliver a package to you, but failed for some reason. Sometimes the emails claim to be notifications of a shipment you have made. Either way, you can’t resist being curious as to what the email is referring to – and open the attached file (or click on a link inside the email). And with that, your computer is infected with the AHUI ransomware.
    Be alert for people trying to trick you. Whether it’s your email, phone, messenger, or other applications, always be alert and on guard for someone trying to trick you into clicking on links or replying to messages. Remember that it’s easy to spoof phone numbers, so a familiar name or number doesn’t make messages more trustworthy.
  2. Cracks and keygens: The AHUI ransomware is distributed using fake software cracks or through free programs you download off of the Internet.
    Avoid using Peer-to-Peer (P2P) file-sharing programs, keygens, cracks, and other pirated software that can often compromise your data, privacy, or both.
  3. Exploits: The AHUI ransomware was also observed attacking victims by exploiting vulnerabilities in the program installed on the computer or the operating system itself. Commonly exploited software includes the operating system itself, browsers, Microsoft Office, and third-party applications.
    Keep your operating system and apps up to date. Whenever an update is released for your device, download and install it right away. These updates often include security fixes, vulnerability patches, and other necessary maintenance.

Remove the AHUI ransomware and recover the files

It’s important to understand that by starting the removal process you risk losing your files, as we cannot guarantee that you will be able to recover them. Your files may be permanently compromised when trying to remove this infection or trying to recover the encrypted documents.
We cannot be held responsible for losing your files or documents during this removal process.

It’s recommended to create a backup image of the encrypted drives or files before proceeding with the malware removal instructions so that you can restore them if the decryption keys are recovered from the cybercriminals’ servers. To create a backup for your encrypted files or drives, you can use EaseUS Todo Backup Free.

This malware removal guide may appear overwhelming due to the number of steps and numerous programs that are being used. We have only written it this way to provide clear, detailed, and easy-to-understand instructions that anyone can use to remove malware for free.
Please perform all the steps in the correct order. If you have any questions or doubts at any point, stop and ask for our assistance.
To remove the AHUI ransomware, follow these steps:

STEP 1: Start your computer in Safe Mode with Networking

In this first step, we will start your computer in Safe Mode with Networking to prevent AHUI malicious drivers and services from loading at Windows start-up. We’re using Safe mode because it starts Windows in a basic state, using a limited set of files and drivers.

Windows 11Windows 10Windows 7
Before you enter Safe Mode, you need to enter the Windows Recovery Environment (winRE). To do this, follow the below steps:

  1. Press Windows logo key + I on your keyboard to open Settings. If that doesn’t work, right-click on the Start button, then select Settings. In the right window, click on Recovery.
    Go to Windows Settings
  2. Under Advanced startup, select Restart now.
    Recovery window in Windows 10

Now that you are in Windows Recovery Environment, you will follow these steps to take you to safe mode:

  1. On the Choose an option screen, select “Troubleshoot“.
    Windows 11 - Start in Safe Mode with Network
  2. On the “Troubleshoot” screen, click the “Advanced Options” button.
    Windows 11 - Start in Safe Mode with Network - Step 2
  3. On the “Advanced Options” page, click the “Startup Settings” option.
    Windows 11 - Start in Safe Mode with Network - Step 3
  4. On the “Startup Settings” page, click the “Restart”.
    Windows 11 - Start in Safe Mode with Network - Step 4
  5. After your device restarts, you’ll see a list of options. Select option 5 from the list or press F5 to enter Safe Mode with Networking.
    Boot in Safe Mode Windows 11
  6. While your computer is running in Safe Mode with Networking, we will need to download, install and run a scan with Malwarebytes (explained in Step 2).
Before you enter Safe Mode, you need to enter the Windows Recovery Environment (winRE). To do this, follow the below steps:

  1. Press the Windows logo key + I on your keyboard to open Settings. If that doesn’t work, select the Start button, then select Settings.
    Go to Windows Settings
  2. When the Windows Settings window opens, select Update & Security, then click on Recovery.
    Recovery window in Windows 10
  3. Under Advanced startup, select Restart now.
    Open Advance Startup

Now that you are in Windows Recovery Environment, you will follow these steps to take you to safe mode:

  1. On the Choose an option screen, select “Troubleshoot“.
    Windows 10 - Start in Safe Mode with Network
  2. On the “Troubleshoot” screen, click the “Advanced Options” button.
    Windows 10 - Start in Safe Mode with Network - Step 2
  3. On the “Advanced Options” page, click the “Startup Settings” option. In Windows 8, this option is labeled “Windows Startup Settings” instead.
    Windows 10 - Start in Safe Mode with Network - Step 3
  4. On the “Startup Settings” page, click the “Restart”.
    Windows 10 - Start in Safe Mode with Network - Step 4
  5. After your device restarts, you’ll see a list of options. Select option 5 from the list or press F5 to enter Safe Mode with Networking.
    Boot in Safe Mode Windows 10
  6. While your computer is running in Safe Mode with Networking, we will need to download, install and run a scan with Malwarebytes (explained in Step 2).
  1. Remove all floppy disks, CDs, and DVDs from your computer, and then restart your computer.
  2. When the computer starts you will see your computer’s hardware being listed. When you see this information start to press the F8 key repeatedly until you are presented with the Advanced Boot Options.
    F8 Safe Mode
  3. In the Advanced Boot Options screen, use the arrow keys to highlight Safe Mode with Networking and then press Enter.
    Safe Mode with Networking screen
  4. While your computer is running in Safe Mode with Networking, we will need to download, install and run a scan with Malwarebytes (explained in Step 2). In some cases, victims may have issues while trying to start the computer in Safe Mode with Networking, if this happens, you can try to scan your computer with Malwarebytes in normal mode.

STEP 2: Use Malwarebytes to remove AHUI ransomware

While the computer is in Safe Mode with Networking, we will download, install and run a system scan with Malwarebytes.

Malwarebytes is one of the most popular and most used anti-malware software for Windows, and for good reasons. It is able to destroy many types of malware that other software tends to miss, without costing you absolutely nothing. When it comes to cleaning up an infected device, Malwarebytes has always been free and we recommend it as an essential tool in the fight against malware.

  1. Download Malwarebytes for Windows.

    You can download Malwarebytes by clicking the link below.

    MALWAREBYTES FOR WINDOWS DOWNLOAD LINK
    (The above link will open a new page from where you can download Malwarebytes)
  2. Double-click on the Malwarebytes setup file.

    When Malwarebytes has finished downloading, double-click on the MBSetup file to install Malwarebytes on your computer. In most cases, downloaded files are saved to the Downloads folder.

    Download

    You may be presented with a User Account Control pop-up asking if you want to allow Malwarebytes to make changes to your device. If this happens, you should click “Yes” to continue with the Malwarebytes installation.

    Click Yes to install Malwarebytes

  3. Follow the on-screen prompts to install Malwarebytes.

    When the Malwarebytes installation begins, you will see the Malwarebytes setup wizard which will guide you through the installation process. The Malwarebytes installer will first ask you what type of computer are you installing this program on, click either Personal Computer or Work Computer.
    Malwarebytes setup: Click on Personal Computer

    On the next screen, click “Install” to install Malwarebytes on your computer.

    Click on Install to install Malwarebytes

    When your Malwarebytes installation completes, the program opens the Welcome to Malwarebytes screen.

  4. Click on “Scan”.

    Malwarebytes is now installed on your computer, to start a scan click on the “Scan” button. Malwarebytes will automatically update the antivirus database and start scanning your computer for malicious programs.

    Click on Scan button

  5. Wait for the Malwarebytes scan to complete.

    Malwarebytes will now scan your computer for browser hijackers and other malicious programs. This process can take a few minutes, so we suggest you do something else and periodically check on the status of the scan to see when it is finished.

    Malwarebytes scanning for malware

  6. Click on “Quarantine”.

    When the Malwarebytes scan is finished scanning it will show a screen that displays any malware, adware, or potentially unwanted programs that it has detected. To remove the adware and other malicious programs that Malwarebytes has found, click on the “Quarantine” button.

    Review the malicious programs and click on Quarantine to remove malware

  7. Restart computer.

    Malwarebytes will now remove all the malicious files and registry keys that it has found. To complete the malware removal process, Malwarebytes may ask you to restart your computer.
    Malwarebytes requesting to restart computer to complete the malware removal process

When the malware removal process is complete, your computer should start in normal mode (if not, simply restart your device to exit Safe Mode) and continue with the rest of the instructions. We do recommend that you run another scan with Malwarebytes once you’re in Normal mode to make sure all the malicious files were removed.


STEP 3: Use HitmanPro to scan for Trojans and other malware

In this third step, while the computer is in normal back, we will download and run a scan with HitmanPro to remove the AHUI ransomware and other malicious programs.

HitmanPro is a second-opinion scanner that takes a unique cloud-based approach to malware scanning. HitmanPro scans the behavior of active files and also files in locations where malware normally resides for suspicious activity. If it finds a suspicious file that’s not already known, HitmanPro sends it to its clouds to be scanned by two of the best antivirus engines today, which are Bitdefender and Kaspersky.

Although HitmanPro is shareware and costs $24.95 for 1 year on 1 PC, there is no limit on scanning. The limitation only kicks in when there is a need to remove or quarantine detected malware by HitmanPro on your system and by then, you can activate the one-time 30-days trial to enable the cleanup.

  1. Download HitmanPro.

    You can download HitmanPro by clicking the link below.

    HITMANPRO DOWNLOAD LINK
    (The above link will open a new web page from where you can download HitmanPro)
  2. Install HitmanPro.

    When HitmanPro has finished downloading, double-click on “hitmanpro.exe” (for 32-bit versions of Windows) or “hitmanpro_x64.exe” (for 64-bit versions of Windows) to install this program on your computer. In most cases, downloaded files are saved to the Downloads folder.

    Double-click on the HitmanPro file

    You may be presented with a User Account Control pop-up asking if you want to allow HitmanPro to make changes to your device. If this happens, you should click “Yes” to continue with the installation.

    Windows asking for permissions to run the HitmanPro setup

  3. Follow the on-screen prompts.

    When HitmanPro starts you will be presented with the start screen as shown below. Click on the “Next” button to perform a system scan.

    Click Next to install HitmanPro on your PC

    HitmanPro final installer screen

  4. Wait for the HitmanPro scan to complete.

    HitmanPro will now begin to scan your computer for malicious programs.
    HitmanPro scans your computer for any infections, adware, or potentially unwanted programs that may be present

  5. Click on “Next”.

    When HitmanPro has finished the scan, it will display a list of all the malware that it has found. Click on the “Next” button to have HitmanPro remove the detected items.

    HitmanPro scan summary. Click Next to remove malware

  6. Click on “Activate free license”.

    HitmanPro may now require to activate the free 30-days trial to remove the malicious files. To do this, click on the “Activate free license” button to begin the free 30 days trial and remove all the malicious files from your computer.
    Click on the Activate free license button

    When the malware removal process is complete, it will display a screen that shows the status of the various programs that were removed. At this screen, you should click on the Next button and then if prompted you should click on the Reboot button. If HitmanPro does not prompt you to reboot, please just click on the Close button.


STEP 4: Double-check for malicious programs with ESET Online Scanner

In this fourth step, we run a scan with ESET Online Scanner to remove any leftover files from the AHUI ransomware and other malicious programs.

ESET Online Scanner is a free second-opinion scanner, designed to rescue your computer from malware (viruses, trojans, rootkits, etc.) that have infected your computer despite all the security measures you have taken (such as anti-virus software, firewalls, etc.).

  1. Download ESET Online Scanner.

    You can download ESET Online Scanner by clicking the link below.

    ESET ONLINE SCANNER DOWNLOAD LINK

    (The above link will open a new web page from where you can download ESET Online Scanner)
  2. Double-click on esetonlinescanner.exe to run the installer.

    When ESET Online Scanner has finished downloading, double-click on “esetonlinescanner.exe” to install it program on your computer. In most cases, downloaded files are saved to the Downloads folder.
    Image - Double-click on the ESET Online Scanner setup file

  3. Install ESET Online Scanner.

    When ESET Online Scanner starts you will be presented with the start screen as shown below. Select your desired language from the drop-down menu and click Get started.

    Image - Click Get Started to install ESET Online Scanner

    In the Terms of use screen, click Accept.
    Image - Accept Terms to Install ESET Online Scanner

    Select your preference for the Customer Experience Improvement Program and the Detection feedback system and click Continue.
    Image - Follow the on-screen prompts

  4. Start a Full Scan with ESET Online Scanner

    Click on Full Scan to perform an in-depth inspection of the entire computer.

    Start a Full Scan with ESET Online Scanner

    Select Enable for Detection of Potentially Unwanted Applications, then click Start scan.

    Image - Enable PUA Detection and Start Scan

  5. Wait for the ESET Online Scanner scan to finish.

    ESET Online Scanner will now begin to scan your computer for malware. This process can take quite a while, so we suggest you do something else and periodically check on the status of the scan to see when it is finished.

    Image- Wait for the ESET Online Scanner scan to finish

  6. ESET Online Scanner will automatically remove the malicious files.

    At the end of the scan, the Found and resolved detections screen will be displayed. You can click View detailed results to view specific information. Detected threats are automatically cleaned and quarantined.
    Image - ESET Online Scanner malware removal


STEP 5: Restore the files encrypted by the AHUI ransomware

Unfortunately, in most cases, it’s not possible to recover the files encrypted by this ransomware because the private key which is needed to unlock the encrypted files is only available through the attackers. However, below we’ve listed three options you can use to try and recover your files.

Make sure you remove the malware from your computer first, otherwise, it will repeatedly lock your system or encrypt files. If you suspect that your computer is still infected with malware, you can run a free scan with Emsisoft Emergency Kit.

Option 1: Use Emsisoft Decryptor for STOP Djvu to restore the files

If your files were encrypted with an offline key there is a chance you can recover them by using Emsisoft Decryptor for STOP Djvu decryption tool. Follow the below guide to recover your files using the Emsisoft Decryptor for STOP Djvu.

  1. Download Emsisoft Decryptor for STOP Djvu

    You can download Emsisoft Decryptor for STOP Djvu by clicking the link below.

    EMSISOFT DECRYPTOR FOR STOP DJVU DOWNLOAD LINK

    (The above link will open a new web page from where you can download Emsisoft Decryptor for STOP Djvu)
  2. Run Emsisoft Decryptor for STOP Djvu

    When Emsisoft Decryptor for STOP Djvu has finished downloading, double-click on “decrypt_STOPDjvu.exe” to run this program on your computer. In most cases, downloaded files are saved to the Downloads folder.

    Double-click on the Emsisoft Decryptor for STOP Djvu icon to decrypt the encrypted files

    You may be presented with a User Account Control pop-up asking if you want to allow Emsisoft to make changes to your device. If this happens, you should click “Yes” to continue with the installation.

  3. Follow the on-screen prompts

    When the Emsisoft Decryptor for STOP Djvu starts, you will need to agree with the Terms and accept a disclaimer.
    Click Yes to Continue to decrypt this ransomware

  4. Click on “Decrypt”.

    Click the “Decrypt” button to start the decryption process. The screen will switch to a status view, informing you about the current process and decryption status of your files.

    Click Decrypt to recover from this ransomware attack

  5. The decryptor will inform you once the decryption process is finished. If you require the report for your records, you can save it by clicking the “Save log” button. If your system was compromised through the Windows Remote Desktop feature, we also recommend changing all passwords of all users that are allowed to login remotely and checking the local user accounts for additional accounts the attacker might have added.

If the “Emsisoft Decryptor for STOP Djvu” can’t decrypt your documents and you do not plan on paying the ransom, it is advised that you make an image of the encrypted drives so that you can decrypt them in the future.

Option 2: Search for a ransomware decryption tool

The cybersecurity community is constantly working to create ransomware decryption tools, so you can try to search these sites for updates:

Option 3: Use EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard Free to recover the encrypted files

EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard Free can restore files and repair corrupted files with simple clicks. Its powerful scanning algorithms can identify and retrieve huge file type library, including all of the popular video files, audio files, photos, and document formats.
While the free version only allows you to recover 2 GB of data, this can be helpful to see if the recovery is possible and restore back the most important files from your computer.

  1. Download EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard Free.

    You can download EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard Free by clicking the link below.

    EASEUS DATA RECOVERY WIZARD FREE DOWNLOAD LINK

    (The above link will open a new page from where you can download EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard)
  2. Double-click on the EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard Free setup file.

    When EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard Free has finished downloading, double-click on the setup file to install EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard on your computer. In most cases, downloaded files are saved to the Downloads folder.

    Image: EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard Free Installer

    You may be presented with a User Account Control pop-up asking if you want to allow EaseUS to make changes to your device. If this happens, you should click “Yes” to continue with the EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard Free installation.

  3. Follow the on-screen prompts to install EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard.

    When the EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard installation begins, click on the “Install Now” as seen in the image below.
    EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard Free Install Now

    When your EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard installation completes, click the “Start Now” button to start the program.
    Image: Click Start Now

  4. Select a location to start recovering the encrypted files.

    Choose the drive or folder where you are the encrypted files that you want to recover and click “Scan“.
    Select a location to start recovering the encrypted files

  5. Wait for the EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard scan to complete.

    EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard will now scan your computer files that can be restored. This process can take a few minutes, so we suggest you do something else and periodically check on the status of the scan to see when it is finished.
    Image: Wait for the EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard scan to complete.

  6. Find the files you want to recover.

    When the EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard scan is finished scanning it will show a screen that displays the files that can be recovered. This tool can recover a lot of data, use the “Filter” button to quickly filter specific file types and find the files that you want to recover.
    Filter the Files by Type

    Click the “Preview” button or double-click on a file for a full preview.
    Image: Click Preview to view the file

  7. Select your files and click “Recover”.

    Finally, select the the files you want to recover and click “Recover“.
    Select your files and click Recover
    Choose a safe location to save all the files.
    Select a safe location
    The free version only allow you to recover 2 GB of data, however, this will allow you to recover the most important files and see if EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard can correctly recover them.
    Image: View Recovered Files

Your computer should now be free of the AHUI ransomware infection and other malware.

If your current antivirus allowed this malicious program on your computer, you may want to consider purchasing the full-featured version of Malwarebytes Anti-Malware to protect against these types of threats in the future.
If you are still having problems with your computer after completing these instructions, then please follow one of the steps:

How to Stay Safe Online

Here are 10 basic security tips to help you avoid malware and protect your device:

  1. Use a good antivirus and keep it up-to-date.

    Shield Guide

    It's essential to use a good quality antivirus and keep it up-to-date to stay ahead of the latest cyber threats. We are huge fans of Malwarebytes Premium and use it on all of our devices, including Windows and Mac computers as well as our mobile devices. Malwarebytes sits beside your traditional antivirus, filling in any gaps in its defenses, and providing extra protection against sneakier security threats.

  2. Keep software and operating systems up-to-date.

    updates-guide

    Keep your operating system and apps up to date. Whenever an update is released for your device, download and install it right away. These updates often include security fixes, vulnerability patches, and other necessary maintenance.

  3. Be careful when installing programs and apps.

    install guide

    Pay close attention to installation screens and license agreements when installing software. Custom or advanced installation options will often disclose any third-party software that is also being installed. Take great care in every stage of the process and make sure you know what it is you're agreeing to before you click "Next."

  4. Install an ad blocker.

    Ad Blocker

    Use a browser-based content blocker, like AdGuard. Content blockers help stop malicious ads, Trojans, phishing, and other undesirable content that an antivirus product alone may not stop.

  5. Be careful what you download.

    Trojan Horse

    A top goal of cybercriminals is to trick you into downloading malware—programs or apps that carry malware or try to steal information. This malware can be disguised as an app: anything from a popular game to something that checks traffic or the weather.

  6. Be alert for people trying to trick you.

    warning sign

    Whether it's your email, phone, messenger, or other applications, always be alert and on guard for someone trying to trick you into clicking on links or replying to messages. Remember that it's easy to spoof phone numbers, so a familiar name or number doesn't make messages more trustworthy.

  7. Back up your data.

    backup sign

    Back up your data frequently and check that your backup data can be restored. You can do this manually on an external HDD/USB stick, or automatically using backup software. This is also the best way to counter ransomware. Never connect the backup drive to a computer if you suspect that the computer is infected with malware.

  8. Choose strong passwords.

    lock sign

    Use strong and unique passwords for each of your accounts. Avoid using personal information or easily guessable words in your passwords. Enable two-factor authentication (2FA) on your accounts whenever possible.

  9. Be careful where you click.

    cursor sign

    Be cautious when clicking on links or downloading attachments from unknown sources. These could potentially contain malware or phishing scams.

  10. Don't use pirated software.

    Shady Guide

    Avoid using Peer-to-Peer (P2P) file-sharing programs, keygens, cracks, and other pirated software that can often compromise your data, privacy, or both.

To avoid potential dangers on the internet, it's important to follow these 10 basic safety rules. By doing so, you can protect yourself from many of the unpleasant surprises that can arise when using the web.

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