ACTOR Ransomware πŸ” (.ACTOR File) β€” Removal Guide

Written by Brendan Smith
The Actor virus falls under the Phobos ransomware family. Ransomware of this type encrypts all user’s data on the PC (photos, text files, excel sheets, audio files, videos, etc) and appends its extra extension to every file, creating the info.txt files in each folder with the encrypted files.
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When we talk about the intrusion of unfamiliar programs into your computer’s work, the proverb β€œForewarned is forearmed” describes the situation as accurately as possible. Gridinsoft Anti-Malware is exactly the tool that is always useful to have in your armory: fast, efficient, up-to-date. It is appropriate to use it as an emergency help at the slightest suspicion of infection.
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What is Actor virus?

☝️ A scientifically correct designation for the Actor is “a Phobos family ransomware-type infection”.

The scheme of renaming is the following: id[xxxxxxx].[contact_email].actor. After the encryption, a file named, for instance, “report.docx” will be changed to “report.docx.id[1E857D00-2224].[zoye1596@msgden.net].actor”.

In every directory that contains the encrypted files, a info.txt text file will be found. It is a ransom money note. Therein you can find information about the ways of contacting the racketeers and some other remarks. The ransom note usually contains instructions on how to purchase the decryption tool from the tamperers. You can obtain this decoding tool after contacting zoye1596@msgden.net by email. That is it.

Actor overview:
NameActor Virus
Ransomware family1Phobos ransomware
Extension.actor
Ransomware noteinfo.txt
Contactzoye1596@msgden.net
Detection2Trojan:Win32/Ramnit, Trojan:Win32/ExtenBro!MSR, Trojan:Win32/Selfdel.C
SymptomsYour files (photos, videos, documents) have a .actor extension and you can’t open them.
Fix ToolSee If Your System Has Been Affected by Actor virus

The info.txt file coming in package with the Actor malware provides the following discouraging information:

!!! All of your files are encrypted !!!
To decrypt them send e-mail to this address: zoye1596@msgden.net.
If we don\'t answer in 48h., send e-mail to this address: zoye596@protonmail.com

In the picture below, you can see what a folder with files encrypted by the Actor looks like. Each filename has the “.actor” extension appended to it.

Actor Virus - encrypted .actor files

That is how encrypted “.actor” files look.

How did my machine catch Actor ransomware?

There are plenty of possible ways of ransomware injection.

There are currently three most exploited methods for malefactors to have ransomware acting in your digital environment. These are email spam, Trojan injection and peer-to-peer networks.

If you access your mailbox and see letters that look just like notifications from utility services companies, delivery agencies like FedEx, Internet providers, and whatnot, but whose sender is unknown to you, beware of opening those letters. They are most likely to have a harmful file enclosed in them. Thus it is even riskier to open any attachments that come with emails like these.

Another thing the hackers might try is a Trojan virus scheme3. A Trojan is a program that infiltrates into your computer pretending to be something legal. For example, you download an installer of some program you want or an update for some program. But what is unboxed turns out to be a harmful agent that corrupts your data. As the installation wizard can have any name and any icon, you’d better be sure that you can trust the resource of the things you’re downloading. The best way is to trust the software developers’ official websites.

As for the peer networks like torrent trackers or eMule, the threat is that they are even more trust-based than the rest of the Internet. You can never know what you download until you get it. So you’d better be using trustworthy websites. Also, it is reasonable to scan the directory containing the downloaded objects with the anti-malware utility as soon as the downloading is complete.

How to remove the Actor virus?

It is crucial to note that besides encrypting your data, the Actor virus will most likely install the Azorult Spyware on your PC to seize your credentials to different accounts (including cryptocurrency wallets). The mentioned spyware4 can derive your logins and passwords from your browser’s auto-filling data.

Often racketeers would unblock several of your files so you know that they really have the decryption tool. Since Actor virus is a relatively new ransomware, anti-malware designers have not yet found a way to undo its work. However, the anti-ransomware tools are frequently updated, so the effective countermeasure may soon arrive.

Sure thing, if the malefactors succeed in encoding victim’s essential data, the hopeless person will most likely fulfill their demands. Nevertheless, paying to criminals does not necessarily mean that you’re getting your data back. It is still risky. After obtaining the money, the racketeers may send a wrong decryption code to the injured party. There were reports of hackers simply disappearing after getting the ransom without even bothering to reply.

The optimal countermeasure to ransomware is to have a system restore point or the copies of your critical files in the cloud storage or at least on an external storage. Surely, that might be not enough. The most important thing could be that one you were working on when it all happened. Nevertheless, it is something. It is also wise to scan your PC for viruses with the antivirus program after the system is rolled back.

There are other ransomware products, besides Actor, that work similarly. Examples of those are Vvwq, Oori, Ooxa, and some others. The two basic differences between them and the Actor are the ransom amount and the encoding method. The rest is the same: files become blocked, their extensions changed, ransom notes appear in each folder containing encoded files.

Some lucky victims were able to decrypt the blocked files with the help of the free software provided by anti-malware specialists. Sometimes the racketeers mistakenly send the decoding code to the wronged in the ransom note. Such an epic fail allows the victim to restore the files. But obviously, one should never rely on such a chance. Remember, ransomware is a criminals’ technology to pull the money out of their victims.

How to avert ransomware infection?

Actor ransomware has no superpower, so as any similar malware.

You can defend your system from ransomware injection in several easy steps:

  • Never open any letters from unknown mailboxes with unknown addresses, or with content that has nothing to do with something you are waiting for (how can you win in a lottery without even taking part in it?). In case the email subject is likely something you are expecting, scrutinize all elements of the suspicious email carefully. A fake email will surely have mistakes.
  • Avoid using cracked or untrusted software. Trojan viruses are often distributed as an element of cracked software, most likely as a β€œpatch” preventing the license check. But untrusted programs are difficult to tell from reliable ones, as trojans may also have the functionality you need. Try searching for information about this software product on the anti-malware forums, but the best solution is not to use such programs at all.
  • And to be sure about the safety of the files you downloaded, scan them with GridinSoft Anti-Malware. This program will be a perfect armor for your PC.
Reasons why I would recommend GridinSoft5

There is no better way to recognize, remove and prevent ransomware than to use an anti-malware software from GridinSoft6.

Download Removal Tool.

You can download GridinSoft Anti-Malware by clicking the button below:

Run the setup file.

When setup file has finished downloading, double-click on the setup-antimalware-fix.exe file to install GridinSoft Anti-Malware on your system.

Run Setup.exe

An User Account Control asking you about to allow GridinSoft Anti-Malware to make changes to your device. So, you should click β€œYes” to continue with the installation.

GridinSoft Anti-Malware Setup

Press “Install” button.

GridinSoft Anti-Malware Install

Once installed, Anti-Malware will automatically run.

GridinSoft Anti-Malware Splash-Screen

Wait for the Anti-Malware scan to complete.

GridinSoft Anti-Malware will automatically start scanning your system for Actor infections and other malicious programs. This process can take a 20-30 minutes, so I suggest you periodically check on the status of the scan process.

GridinSoft Anti-Malware Scanning

Click on “Clean Now”.

When the scan has finished, you will see the list of infections that GridinSoft Anti-Malware has detected. To remove them click on the β€œClean Now” button in right corner.

GridinSoft Anti-Malware Scan Result

FAQ

πŸ€” Is it possible to open β€œ.actor” files?

Negative. That is why ransomware is so frustrating. Until you decode the “.actor” files you will not be able to access them.

πŸ€” What should I do to make my files accessible as fast as possible?

If the β€œ.actor” files contain some really important information, then you probably have them backed up. If not, there is still a function of System Restore but it needs a Restore Point to be previously saved. The rest of the methods require patience.

πŸ€” You have advised using GridinSoft Anti-Malware to get rid of the Actor virus. Does it mean that all my files, currently encrypted, will be removed too?

Absolutely not! Your encrypted files are no threat to your PC.

With the help of GridinSoft Anti-Malware, you can clean your computer off the actual threats. The virus that has infiltrated your computer is probably still active and it scans your system every so often to arrest any new files you might create on your computer after the initial attack. As it has been mentioned above, the Actor virus does not come alone. It installs backdoors and keyloggers that can take your account passwords by trespass and provide malefactors with easy access to your computer after some time.

πŸ€” What to do if the Actor malware has blocked my computer and I can’t get the activation code.

In such an unfortunate situation, you need to have a memory stick with a pre-installed Trojan Killer. Use Safe Mode to do the cleaning. You see, the ransomware runs automatically as the system boots and encodes any new files created or brought into your PC. To stop this process – use Safe Mode, which allows only the essential programs to run upon system start. Consider reading our manual on running Windows in Safe Mode.

πŸ€” And what should I do now?

Many of the encoded files might still be at your disposal

  • If you exchanged your important files through email, you could still download them from your online mailbox.
  • You might have shared images or videos with your friends or relatives. Simply ask them to give those pictures back to you.
  • If you have initially got any of your files from the Web, you can try to do it again.
  • Your messengers, social networks pages, and cloud disks might have all those files too.
  • It might be that you still have the needed files on your old computer, a notebook, cellphone, memory stick, etc.

HINT: You can use file recovery utilities7 to retrieve your lost information since ransomware encrypts the copies of your files, removing the authentic ones. In the video below, you can see how to use PhotoRec for such a recovery, but be advised: you can do it only after you remove the ransomware itself with an anti-malware program.

Also, you can contact the following official fraud and scam sites to report this attack:

To report the attack, you can contact local executive boards. For instance, if you live in USA, you can have a talk with FBI Local field office, IC3 or Secret Service.

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Brendan Smith
How to Remove ACTOR Ransomware & Recover PC

Name: ACTOR Virus

Description: ACTOR Virus is a ransomware-type infections. This virus encrypts important personal files (video, photos, documents). The encrypted files can be tracked by a specific .actor extension. So, you can't use them at all.

Operating System: Windows

Application Category: Virus

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References

  1. My files are encrypted by ransomware, what should I do now?
  2. Encyclopedia of threats.
  3. You can read more on Trojans, their use and types in the Trojan-dedicated section of GridinSoft official website.
  4. You can read more on spyware variants and nature in the respective section of GridinSoft official website.
  5. GridinSoft Anti-Malware Review from HowToFix site: https://howtofix.guide/gridinsoft-anti-malware/
  6. More information about GridinSoft products: https://gridinsoft.com/products
  7. Here’s the list of the best 10 file recovery tools of 2021.

About the author

Brendan Smith

Journalist, researcher, web content developer, grant proposal editor. Efficient and proficient on multiple platforms and in diverse media. Computer technology and security are my specialties.

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