CHOCVM Ransomware ๐Ÿ” (.CHOCOLATE File) โ€” Removal Guide

Written by Brendan Smith

The Chocvm virus belongs to the ransomware type of infection, that belongs to Makop malware family. Harmful software of this type encrypts all user’s data on the computer (images, text files, excel sheets, audio files, videos, etc) and appends its specific extension to every file, leaving the +README-WARNING+.txt text files in every folder with the encrypted files.

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What is known about the Chocvm virus?

The renaming will be done according to the following scheme: .chocolate. In the course of encryption, a file entitled, for instance, “report.docx” will be turned into “report.docx.[2AF20FA3].[[email protected]].chocolate”.

In every folder containing the encoded files, a +README-WARNING+.txt text file will be created. 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 most probably contains a description of how to purchase the decryption tool from the Chocvm developers. You can get this decryptor after contacting [email protected] through email. That is pretty much the scheme of the crime.

Chocvm Overview:

Name Chocvm Virus
Extension .chocolate
Ransomware note +README-WARNING+.txt
Contact [email protected]
Detection TrojanDownloader:Win32/Dalexis, Win32/GenCBL.DKX, Virlock.Ransom.FileInfector.DDS
Symptoms Your files (photos, videos, documents) have a .chocolate extension and you can’t open them.
Fix Tool See If Your System Has Been Affected by Chocvm virus

The +README-WARNING+.txt document coming in package with the Chocvm ransomware states the following:

::: Greetings ChocVM :::

Little FAQ:

.1.
Q: Whats Happen?
A: Your files have been encrypted. The file structure was not damaged, we did everything possible so that this could not happen.

.2.
Q: How to recover files?
A: If you wish to decrypt your files you will need to pay us.

.3.
Q: What about guarantees?
A: Its just a business. We absolutely do not care about you and your deals, except getting benefits. If we do not do our work and liabilities - nobody will cooperate with us. Its not in our interests.
To check the ability of returning files, you can send to us any 2 files with SIMPLE extensions(jpg,xls,doc, etc... not databases!) and low sizes(max 1 mb), we will decrypt them and send back to you. That is our guarantee.

.4.
Q: How to contact with you?
A: You can write us to our mailboxes: [email protected] or [email protected]

.5.
Q: How will the decryption process proceed after payment?
A: After payment we will send to you our scanner-decoder program and detailed instructions for use. With this program you will be able to decrypt all your encrypted files.

.6.
Q: If I don t want to pay bad people like you?
A: If you will not cooperate with our service - for us, its does not matter. But you will lose your time and data, cause only we have the private key. In practice - time is much more valuable than money.

:::BEWARE:::
DON\'T try to change encrypted files by yourself!
If you will try to use any third party software for restoring your data or antivirus solutions - please make a backup for all encrypted files!
Any changes in encrypted files may entail damage of the private key and, as result, the loss all data.

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

Chocvm Virus - encrypted .chocolate files

An example of encrypted .chocolate files.

How did Chocvm ransomware end up on my PC?

There are plenty of possible ways of ransomware injection.

Nowadays, there are three most popular ways for evil-doers to have ransomware settled in your system. These are email spam, Trojan infiltration and peer-to-peer file transfer.

  • If you access your inbox and see letters that look just like notifications from utility services companies, postal agencies like FedEx, web-access providers, and whatnot, but whose “from” field is strange to you, beware of opening those letters. They are very likely to have a malicious file attached to them. Therefore, it is even riskier to open any attachments that come with letters like these.
  • Another thing the hackers might try is a Trojan virus model. A Trojan is an object that gets into your computer pretending to be something different. For example, you download an installer for some program you need or an update for some software. But what is unpacked turns out to be a harmful program that compromises your data. As the update file can have any title and any icon, you have to make sure that you can trust the source of the things you’re downloading. The optimal way is to trust the software companies’ official websites.
  • As for the peer-to-peer file transfer protocols 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 resources. Also, it is reasonable to scan the directory containing the downloaded files with the anti-malware utility as soon as the downloading is done.

How to remove ransomware?

It is important to inform you that besides encrypting your data, the Chocvm virus will most likely install Vidar Stealer on your machine to seize your credentials to various accounts (including cryptocurrency wallets). The mentioned spyware can extract your credentials from your browser’s auto-filling cardfile.

Remove Chocvm with Gridinsoft Anti-Malware

We have also been using this software on our systems ever since, and it has always been successful in detecting viruses. It has blocked the most common Ransomware as shown from our tests with the software, and we assure you that it can remove Chocvm as well as other malware hiding on your computer.

Gridinsoft Anti-Malware - Main Screen

To use Gridinsoft for remove malicious threats, follow the steps below:

1. Begin by downloading Gridinsoft Anti-Malware, accessible via the blue button below or directly from the official website gridinsoft.com.

2.Once the Gridinsoft setup file (setup-gridinsoft-fix.exe) is downloaded, execute it by clicking on the file.

setup-gridinsoft-fix.exe

3.Follow the installation setup wizard's instructions diligently.

Gridinsoft Setup Wizard

4. Access the "Scan Tab" on the application's start screen and launch a comprehensive "Full Scan" to examine your entire computer. This inclusive scan encompasses the memory, startup items, the registry, services, drivers, and all files, ensuring that it detects malware hidden in all possible locations.

Scan for Chocvm Ransomware

Be patient, as the scan duration depends on the number of files and your computer's hardware capabilities. Use this time to relax or attend to other tasks.

5. Upon completion, Anti-Malware will present a detailed report containing all the detected malicious items and threats on your PC.

The Chocvm was Found

6. Select all the identified items from the report and confidently click the "Clean Now" button. This action will safely remove the malicious files from your computer, transferring them to the secure quarantine zone of the anti-malware program to prevent any further harmful actions.

The Chocvm has been removed

8. If prompted, restart your computer to finalize the full system scan procedure. This step is crucial to ensure thorough removal of any remaining threats. After the restart, Gridinsoft Anti-Malware will open and display a message confirming the completion of the scan.

Remember Gridinsoft offers a 6-day free trial. This means you can take advantage of the trial period at no cost to experience the full benefits of the software and prevent any future malware infections on your system. Embrace this opportunity to fortify your computer's security without any financial commitment.

Trojan Killer for “Chocvm” removal on locked PC

In situations where it becomes impossible to download antivirus applications directly onto the infected computer due to malware blocking access to websites, an alternative solution is to utilize the Trojan Killer application.

Trojan Killer - Main View

There is a really little number of security tools that are able to be set up on the USB drives, and antiviruses that can do so in most cases require to obtain quite an expensive license. For this instance, I can recommend you to use another solution of GridinSoft - Trojan Killer Portable. It has a 14-days cost-free trial mode that offers the entire features of the paid version. This term will definitely be 100% enough to wipe malware out.

Trojan Killer is a valuable tool in your cybersecurity arsenal, helping you to effectively remove malware from infected computers. Now, we will walk you through the process of using Trojan Killer from a USB flash drive to scan and remove malware on an infected PC. Remember, always obtain permission to scan and remove malware from a computer that you do not own.

Step 1: Download & Install Trojan Killer on a Clean Computer:

1. Go to the official GridinSoft website (gridinsoft.com) and download Trojan Killer to a computer that is not infected.

Download Trojan Killer

2. Insert a USB flash drive into this computer.

3. Install Trojan Killer to the "removable drive" following the on-screen instructions.

Install Trojan Killer to Removable Drive

4. Once the installation is complete, launch Trojan Killer.

Step 2: Update Signature Databases:

5. After launching Trojan Killer, ensure that your computer is connected to the Internet.

6. Click "Update" icon to download the latest signature databases, which will ensure the tool can detect the most recent threats.

Click Update Button

Step 3: Scan the Infected PC:

7. Safely eject the USB flash drive from the clean computer.

8. Boot the infected computer to the Safe Mode.

9. Insert the USB flash drive.

10. Run tk.exe

11. Once the program is open, click on "Full Scan" to begin the malware scanning process.

Searching Chocvm Virus

Step 4: Remove Found Threats:

12. After the scan is complete, Trojan Killer will display a list of detected threats.

Searching Chocvm Finished

13. Click on "Cure PC!" to remove the identified malware from the infected PC.

14. Follow any additional on-screen prompts to complete the removal process.

Restart needed

Step 5: Restart Your Computer:

15. Once the threats are removed, click on "Restart PC" to reboot your computer.

16. Remove the USB flash drive from the infected computer.

Congratulations on effectively removing Chocvm and the concealed threats from your computer! You can now have peace of mind, knowing that they won't resurface again. Thanks to Gridinsoft's capabilities and commitment to cybersecurity, your system is now protected.

Sometimes criminals would decode several of your files to prove that they do have the decryption tool. Since Chocvm virus is a relatively new ransomware, anti-malware designers have not yet found a way to undo its work. Nevertheless, the decoding instruments are constantly updated, so the solution may soon arrive.

Understandably, if the evildoers succeed in encoding victim’s critical data, the hopeless person will probably comply with their demands. Despite that, paying to criminals gives no guarantee that you’re getting your files back. It is still dangerous. After obtaining the money, the racketeers may send a wrong decryption key to the injured party. There were reports of malefactors just vanishing after getting the money without even bothering to reply.

The optimal countermeasure to ransomware is to have aan OS restore point or the copies of your critical files in the cloud storage or at least on an external disk. Obviously, that might be insufficient. The most crucial thing could be that file you were working upon when it all went down. Nevertheless, it is something. It is also reasonable to scan your PC for viruses with the antivirus program after the OS restoration.

Chocvm is not the only ransomware of its kind, since there are other specimens of ransomware out there that act in the same manner. Examples of those are Cdmx, Cdqw, Lock, and some others. The two main differences between them and the Chocvm are the ransom amount and the method of encryption. The rest is the same: documents become inaccessible, their extensions altered, ransom notes emerge in every folder containing encrypted files.

Some fortunate victims were able to decrypt the blocked files with the aid of the free tools provided by anti-malware specialists. Sometimes the criminals accidentally send the decoding key to the wronged in the ransom note. Such an extraordinary fail allows the user to restore the files. But obviously, one should never rely on such a chance. Remember, ransomware is a tamperers’ technology to pull the money out of their victims.

How ัan I avert ransomware attack?

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

You can armour your computer from its infiltration in three easy steps:

  • Never open any emails from unknown mailboxes with unknown addresses, or with content that has nothing to do with something you are waiting for (can you win in a lottery without even taking part in it?). In case the email subject is more or less something you are expecting, scrutinize all elements of the suspicious email with caution. A fake letter will surely contain mistakes.
  • Avoid using cracked or untrusted software. Trojans are often distributed as an element of cracked products, most likely under the guise of โ€œpatchโ€ to prevent the license check. Understandably, dubious programs are difficult to distinguish from trustworthy software, because trojans may also have the functionality you need. You can try searching for information about this program on the anti-malware message boards, but the best way is not to use such software.
  • And finally, to be sure about the safety of the objects you downloaded, check them with GridinSoft Anti-Malware. This software will be a perfect defense for your PC.

Frequently Asked Questions

๐Ÿค” Is it possible to open โ€œ.chocolateโ€ files?

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

๐Ÿค” What should I do to make my files accessible as fast as possible?

Hopefully, you have made a copy of those important files. In case you haven’t, there is still a chance that you do have a Restore Point from some time ago to roll back the whole system to the moment when it had no virus yet, but already had your files. All other solutions require time.

๐Ÿค” Will GridinSoft Anti-Malware remove all the encrypted files alongside the Chocvm virus?

Of course not. Unlike the ransomware program itself, the encrypted files do not jeopardize your system.

With the help of GridinSoft Anti-Malware, you can clean your PC off the actual threats. The virus that has infected your device is probably still functional and launching checks every so often to encrypt any new files you might create on your PC after the infection. As it has already been said, the Chocvm virus comes with the company. It installs backdoors and keyloggers that can steal your account credentials and provide criminals with easy access to your computer in the future.

๐Ÿค” What actions should I take if the Chocvm ransomware has blocked my PC and I can’t get the activation code.

In such an unfortunate situation, you need to have a memory stick with a previously installed Trojan Killer. Use Safe Mode to execute the procedure. You see, the ransomware starts automatically as the system launches and encodes any new files created or brought into your system. To suppress this function – use Safe Mode, which allows only the vital programs to run upon system boot. Consider reading our manual on running Windows in Safe Mode.

๐Ÿค” What can I do right now?

Many of the encoded files might still be at your disposal

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

HINT: You can employ file recovery utilities1 to get your lost data back since ransomware encrypts the copies of your files, deleting the original ones. In the video below, you can learn how to recover your files with PhotoRec, but be advised: you can do it only after you eradicate the virus with an anti-malware program.

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Brendan Smith
How to Remove CHOCVM Ransomware & Recover PC

Name: CHOCVM Virus

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

Operating System: Windows

Application Category: Virus

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References

  1. Here’s the list of Top 10 Data Recovery Software Of 2023.

About the author

Brendan Smith

I'm Brendan Smith, a passionate journalist, researcher, and web content developer. With a keen interest in computer technology and security, I specialize in delivering high-quality content that educates and empowers readers in navigating the digital landscape.

With a focus on computer technology and security, I am committed to sharing my knowledge and insights to help individuals and organizations protect themselves in the digital age. My expertise in cybersecurity principles, data privacy, and best practices allows me to provide practical tips and advice that readers can implement to enhance their online security.

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