Remove Locky ransomware (Virus Removal Guide)

Locky is a file-encrypting ransomware, which will encrypt the personal documents found on victim’s computer using RSA-2048 key (AES CBC 256-bit encryption algorithm), appending the .Locky extension to encrypted files.
Locky then displays a message which offers to decrypt the data if a payment which vary from BTC 0.5 to BTC 1.00 (BTC is short for “bitcoin,” where one bitcoin is currently worth about $400/£280) is made.
Locky Ransomware Note

Locky Ransomware Bitcoin

We cannot help your recover your files, apart from suggesting to use ShadowExplorer or (free) File Recovery Software. This guide was written to help you remove the infection itself, and if a 100% proven method to recover the encrypted files is found, we will update this guide.

At this moment, there is now decryptor available for the Locky ransomware. However, you can try to search on the Emsisoft Decrypter page for any updates: https://decrypter.emsisoft.com/

1. How did the Locky virus got on my computer?
2. What is Locky Ransomware?
3. Is my computer infected with Locky virus?
4. Is it possible to decrypt files encrypted by Locky?
5. How to remove the Locky ransomware (Virus Removal Guide)
6. How to prevent your computer from becoming infected by Locky

1. How did the Locky ransomware got on my computer?

The Locky ransomware is distributed via spam email containing infected attachments or links to malicious websites. Cyber-criminals 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 embedded inside the email). And with that, your computer is infected with the Locky virus.
Locky email ransomware


2. What is Locky Ransomware?

The Locky ransomware targets all versions of Windows including Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8 and Windows 10. This infection is notable due to how it encrypts the user’s files – namely, it uses AES-265 and RSA encryption method – in order to ensure that the affected user has no choice but to purchase the private key.

When the Locky ransomware is first installed on your computer it will create a random named executable in the %AppData% or %LocalAppData% folder. This executable will be launched and begin to scan all the drive letters on your computer for data files to encrypt.
Locky ransomware searches for files with certain file extensions to encrypt. The files it encrypts include important productivity documents and files such as .doc, .docx, .xls, .pdf, among others. When these files are detected, this infection will change the extension to .Locky, so they are no longer able to be opened.
Files targeted are those commonly found on most PCs today; a list of file extensions for targeted files include:

.sql, .mp4, .7z, .rar, .m4a, .wma, .avi, .wmv, .csv, .d3dbsp, .zip, .sie, .sum, .ibank, .t13, .t12, .qdf, .gdb, .tax, .pkpass, .bc6, .bc7, .bkp, .qic, .bkf, .sidn, .sidd, .mddata, .itl, .itdb, .icxs, .hvpl, .hplg, .hkdb, .mdbackup, .syncdb, .gho, .cas, .svg, .map, .wmo, .itm, .sb, .fos, .mov, .vdf, .ztmp, .sis, .sid, .ncf, .menu, .layout, .dmp, .blob, .esm, .vcf, .vtf, .dazip, .fpk, .mlx, .kf, .iwd, .vpk, .tor, .psk, .rim, .w3x, .fsh, .ntl, .arch00, .lvl, .snx, .cfr, .ff, .vpp_pc, .lrf, .m2, .mcmeta, .vfs0, .mpqge, .kdb, .db0, .dba, .rofl, .hkx, .bar, .upk, .das, .iwi, .litemod, .asset, .forge, .ltx, .bsa, .apk, .re4, .sav, .lbf, .slm, .bik, .epk, .rgss3a, .pak, .big, wallet, .wotreplay, .xxx, .desc, .py, .m3u, .flv, .js, .css, .rb, .png, .jpeg, .txt, .p7c, .p7b, .p12, .pfx, .pem, .crt, .cer, .der, .x3f, .srw, .pef, .ptx, .r3d, .rw2, .rwl, .raw, .raf, .orf, .nrw, .mrwref, .mef, .erf, .kdc, .dcr, .cr2, .crw, .bay, .sr2, .srf, .arw, .3fr, .dng, .jpe, .jpg, .cdr, .indd, .ai, .eps, .pdf, .pdd, .psd, .dbf, .mdf, .wb2, .rtf, .wpd, .dxg, .xf, .dwg, .pst, .accdb, .mdb, .pptm, .pptx, .ppt, .xlk, .xlsb, .xlsm, .xlsx, .xls, .wps, .docm, .docx, .doc, .odb, .odc, .odm, .odp, .ods, .odt

Once your files are encrypted, the Locky ransomware will create the _Locky_recover_instructions.txt text files ransom note in each folder that a file has been encrypted and on the Windows desktop. The ransomware will also change your Windows desktop wallpaper to _Locky_recover_instructions.png.
These files are located in every folder that a file was encrypted as well as in the user’s Startup folder so that they are automatically displayed when a user logs in. These files will contain the informations on how to access the payment site and get your files back.
When the infection has finished scanning your computer it will also delete all of the Shadow Volume Copies that are on the affected computer. It does this so that you cannot use the shadow volume copies to restore your encrypted files.


3. Is my computer infected with Locky virus?

If your computer is infected with the Locky ransomware will display a red _Locky_recover_instructions.png wallpaper that covers the entire desktop, and all your documents will have a .Locky extension. A _Locky_recover_instructions.txt text file will be placed on your desktop. Both files contain instruction on how or recover the encrypted files.

The messages displayed by this ransomware infection can be localized depending on the user’s location, with text written in the appropriate language.
This the message that the Locky ransomware may display:

!!! IMPORTANT INFORMATION !!!!

All of your files are encrypted with RSA-2048 and AES-128 ciphers.
More information about the RSA and AES can be found here:
hxxps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RSA_(cryptosystem)
hxxps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Advanced_Encryption_Standard

Decrypting of your files is only possible with the private key and decrypt program, which is on our secret server.
To receive your private key follow one of the links:

If all of this addresses are not available, follow these steps:
1. Download and install Tor Browser: hxxps://www.torproject.org/download/download-easy.html
2. After a successful installation, run the browser and wait for initialization.
3. Type in the address bar: [removed] 4. Follow the instructions on the site.
!!! Your personal identification ID: [removed] !!!


4. Is it possible to decrypt files encrypted by Locky?

No, at this time it’s not possible.
Locky is notable due to how it encrypts the user’s files – namely, it uses AES-265 and RSA encryption method – in order to ensure that the affected user has no choice but to purchase the private key. The RSA public key can only be decrypted with its corresponding private key. Since the AES key is hidden using RSA encryption and the RSA private key is not available, decrypting the files is not feasible as of this writing.
Brute forcing the decryption key is not realistic due to the length of time required to break an AES encryption key.

So unfortunately, once the Locky encryption of the data is complete, decryption is not feasible without paying the ransom.

Because the needed private key to unlock the encrypted file is only available through the cyber criminals, victims may be tempted to purchase it and pay the exorbitant fee. However, doing so may encourage these bad guys to continue and even expand their operations. We strongly suggest that you do not send any money to these cyber criminals, and instead address to the law enforcement agency in your country to report this attack.


5. How to remove the Locky ransomware (Virus Removal Guide)

If you DO NOT  plan on paying the ransom and want to try to restore your files, you can follow the below guide.

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

This page is a comprehensive guide, which will remove the Locky infection from your computer, however we cannot guarantee that your personal files will be recovered. We cannot be held responsible for losing the documents during this removal process.

A. Remove Locky ransomware from your computer

Malwarebytes and HitmanPro can detect and remove this infection, but these programs cannot recover your encrypted files due to the nature of asymmetric encryption, which requires a private key to decrypt files encrypted with the public key.

STEP 1: Remove Locky virus with Malwarebytes Anti-Malware Free

Malwarebytes Anti-Malware Free uses industry-leading technology to detect and remove all traces of malware, including worms, Trojans, rootkits, rogues, dialers, spyware, and more.
It is important to note that Malwarebytes Anti-Malware works well and should run alongside antivirus software without conflicts.

  1. You can download download Malwarebytes Anti-Malware from the below link.
    MALWAREBYTES ANTI-MALWARE DOWNLOAD LINK (This link will open a new web page from where you can download “Malwarebytes Anti-Malware Free”)
  2. Once downloaded, close all programs, then double-click on the icon on your desktop named “mbam-setup” to start the installation of Malwarebytes Anti-Malware.
    Start Malwarebytes Anti-Malware setup
    Picture of User Account Control You may be presented with a User Account Control dialog asking you if you want to run this file. If this happens, you should click “Yes” to continue with the installation.
  3. When the installation begins, you will see the Malwarebytes Anti-Malware Setup Wizard which will guide you through the installation process.
    Malwarebytes Anti-Malware Installer
    To install Malwarebytes Anti-Malware on your machine, keep following the prompts by clicking the “Next” button.
    Malwarebytes Anti-Malware final screen
  4. Once installed, Malwarebytes Anti-Malware will automatically start and you will see a message stating that you should update the program, and that a scan has never been run on your system. To start a system scan you can click on the “Scan Now” button.
    Malwarebytes Anti-Malware Scan Now
  5. Malwarebytes Anti-Malware will now start scanning your computer for malware. When Malwarebytes Anti-Malware is scanning it will look like the image below.
    Malwarebytes Anti-Malware Scanning for Malware
  6. When the scan has completed, you will be presented with a screen showing the malware infections that Malwarebytes Anti-Malware has detected. To remove the malicious programs that Malwarebytes Anti-malware has found, click on the “Remove Selected” button.
    Remove Locky with Malwarebytes Anti-Malware
    Please note that the infections found may be different than what is shown in the image.
  7. Malwarebytes Anti-Malware will now quarantine all the malicious files and registry keys that it has found. When removing the files, Malwarebytes Anti-Malware may require a reboot in order to remove some of them. If it displays a message stating that it needs to reboot your computer, please allow it to do so.
    Malwarebytes Anti-Malware asking to restart PC
    After your computer will restart, you should open Malwarebytes Anti-Malware and perform another “Threat Scan” scan to verify that there are no remaining threats

STEP 2: Double-check for the Locky malware infection with HitmanPro

HitmanPro is a 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.). HitmanPro is designed to work alongside existing security programs without any conflicts. It scans the computer quickly (less than 5 minutes) and does not slow down the computer.

  1. You can download HitmanPro from the below link:
    HITMANPRO DOWNLOAD LINK (This link will open a new web page from where you can download “HitmanPro”)
  2. Double-click on the file named “HitmanPro.exe” (for 32-bit versions of Windows) or “HitmanPro_x64.exe” (for 64-bit versions of Windows). When the program starts you will be presented with the start screen as shown below.
    HitmanPro Installer
    Click on the “Next” button, to install HitmanPro on your computer.
    itmanPro while installing on PC
  3. HitmanPro will now begin to scan your computer for Locky malicious files.
    HitmanPro scanning
  4. When it has finished it will display a list of all the malware that the program found as shown in the image below. Click on the “Next” button, to remove Locky virus.
    HitmanPro detected malware
  5. Click on the “Activate free license” button to begin the free 30 days trial, and remove all the malicious files from your computer.
    Remove malware with HitmanPro
In some cases you may need to change your wallpaper, and delete the harmless _Locky_recover_instructions.PNG, _Locky_recover_instructions.HTML and _Locky_recover_instructions.TXT files.

B. How (try) to restore your files encrypted by Locky ransomware

In some cases, it may be possible to recover previous versions of the encrypted files using System Restore or other recovery software used to obtain “shadow copies” of files.

Option 1: Restore your files encrypted by Locky ransomware with ShadowExplorer

Locky will attempt to delete all shadow copies when you first start any executable on your computer after becoming infected. Thankfully, the infection is not always able to remove the shadow copies, so you should continue to try restoring your files using this method.

  1. You can download ShadowExplorer from the below link:
    SHADOW EXPLORER DOWNLOAD LINK (This link will open a new web page from where you can download “ShadowExplorer”)
  2. Once you have downloaded and installed ShadowExplorer, you can follow the below video guide on how to restore your files while using this program.

Alternatively, you can use the System Restore to try to recover the encrypted documents.

Option 2: Restore your files encrypted by Locky ransomware with File Recovery Software

When Locky encrypts a file it first makes a copy of it, encrypts the copy, and then deletes the original. Due to this you can use file recovery software such as:

How to prevent your computer from becoming infected by Locky

To protect your computer from the Cryptowall ransomware, you should always have an antivirus installed on your computer and always have a backup for your personal documents. As an extra protection method, you can use programs called HitmanPro.Alert or CryptoPrevent, which will prevent any file encrypting malware from running.


Your computer should now be free of the Locky infection.
If you are still experiencing problems while trying to remove virus from your machine, please do one of the following:

Protect your device from viruses

Here are some basic security tips that will help you avoid malware:

  1. Install updates.

    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.

  2. Be careful when installing programs and apps.

    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."

  3. Don't use keygens and cracks.

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

  4. Install an 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.

    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.

    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

    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. Secure your device.

    Keeping all the above tips in mind will keep you well on your guard, and installing a good antivirus will monitor your files for unusual changes and other warning signs. Whether you use a PC, a Mac, or a mobile device, Malwarebytes Premium is the strongest protection ever. Malwarebytes sits beside your traditional antivirus, filling in any gaps in its defenses, and providing extra protection against sneakier security threats.

2 thoughts on “Remove Locky ransomware (Virus Removal Guide)”

  1. Hello and thanks for your guide. I was recently able to clear my father’s PC of infection using this guide and others like it. The work put into compiling and error-checking such guides is appreciated. FYI, it looks like an email that appeared to be Sent and Received by hisself had a zip attachment containing obfuscated .js, which i assume visited a compromised site and downloaded the main .exe. This email was received 8 minutes before encrypting started,although my father believes he did not unzip and execute the js file…but at this stage (unless there’s an exploit to auto-execute attachments to Incredimail emails) I can only believe he did.

    My first question – I am an InfTech student and thus have no illusions about the size of the solution space a 2048bit key covers. But does anyone have any information about what technology is used to actually decrypt the files, once a valid key has been (illegitimately) purchased? Would the encryptors have developed a custom decrypting tool that would be needed, or are there standard tools that encrypt in a standard fashion using a specific key? I ask, as Kaspersky have posted sets of recovered keys for CoinVault Infections, and also a Kaspersky decryptor, however despite Kasperskys (admittedly vague) references to it working for locky encryptions, I cannot get it to ‘notice’ my .locky files.
    I would like to hope that perhaps one day some keys may be recovered via prosecution or other means, and it would be frustrating to have keys but no way to apply them.

    Second question – I noticed locky moved from one file to the next in just a few seconds, regardless of filesize. And I know that encrypting every bit of a gigabyte file is not something my dad’s PC could have done in that time, so I am assuming the virus either a) encrypts the file header or b)encrypts a random portion of bytes….does anyone have any suggestions for handling jpg files with possibly only corrupted headers?

    Thanks for your time and thanks for the guide, they are invaluable for people in teh unenviable position of facing an encrypted PC.

    Felix, Brisbane, AUS

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