How to remove HarpoonLocker Virus (.locked Files of Ransomware)

Written by Brendan Smith
The Harpoonlocker virus belongs to the ransomware type of malicious agent. Ransomware of this type encrypts all the data on your PC (photos, text files, excel sheets, music, videos, etc) and adds its specific extension to every file, leaving the restore-files.txt files in each folder with the encrypted files.
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Harpoonlocker virus: what is known so far?

☝️ A scientifically correct description for the Harpoonlocker is “a ransomware-type malicious agent”.

Harpoonlocker adds its extra locked to the title of each encrypted file. For instance, a file entitled “photo.jpg” will be turned into “photo.jpg.locked”. Just like the Excel table with the name “table.xlsx” will be changed to “table.xlsx.locked”, and so on.

In every folder containing the encrypted files, a restore-files.txt text document will appear. It is a ransom money memo. Therein you can find information about the ways of paying the ransom and some other remarks. The ransom note usually contains a description of how to purchase the decryption tool from the Harpoonlocker developers. That is how they do it.

Harpoonlocker summary:
NameHarpoonlocker Virus
Ransomware noterestore-files.txt
DetectionNSIS/Injector.RU, Python/Spy.KeyLogger.RT, MSIL/Flooder.Agent.DM
SymptomsYour files (photos, videos, documents) get a .locked extension and you can’t open them.
Fix ToolSee If Your System Has Been Affected by Harpoonlocker virus

The restore-files.txt document accompanying the Harpoonlocker ransomware states the following:

 - Hello -
 ═╣ What happened? ╠═
 All of your important files have been encrypted and all sensitive data was stolen.
 The only way to restore your files and keep your data from going public is to contact us.
 After a payment has been made you will be given access to decryption software.
 As a quarantee we will decrypt 3 files for free.
 If you don\'t contact us within 72 hours the price will be doubled.
 ═╣ Instructions ╠═
 - Download qTOX messanger from
 - Send message to this Tox ID: 3728E933284CE638D06FCF1CBE921096E102508BD370D6D23137D3271EE5733825F63F56805E
 Your message should contain your Unique Key: *******

In the image below, you can see what a folder with files encrypted by the Harpoonlocker looks like. Each filename has the “.locked” extension added to it.

Harpoonlocker Virus - encrypted .locked files

That is how encrypted “.locked” files look.

How did my machine catch Harpoonlocker ransomware?

There are many possible ways of ransomware infiltration.

There are currently three most exploited methods for hackers to have the Harpoonlocker virus planted in your digital environment. These are email spam, Trojan infiltration and peer networks.

If you open your mailbox and see emails that look like familiar notifications from utility services companies, postal agencies like FedEx, web-access providers, and whatnot, but whose mailer is strange to you, be wary of opening those letters. They are most likely to have a viral file enclosed in them. Therefore, it is even riskier to download any attachments that come with emails like these.

Another option for ransom hunters is a Trojan file model. A Trojan is an object that infiltrates into your PC pretending to be something legal. For instance, you download an installer for some program you need or an update for some program. However, what is unboxed turns out to be a harmful agent that compromises your data. As the update file can have any title and any icon, you’d better be sure that you can trust the resource of the files you’re downloading. The best way is to use the software companies’ official websites.

As for the peer-to-peer networks like BitTorrent or eMule, the danger is that they are even more trust-based than the rest of the Web. You can never guess what you download until you get it. So you’d better be using trustworthy resources. Also, it is a good idea to scan the directory containing the downloaded objects with the anti-malware utility as soon as the downloading is done.

How do I get rid of the Harpoonlocker virus?

It is important to inform you that besides encrypting your files, the Harpoonlocker virus will probably deploy the Azorult Spyware on your machine to get access to credentials to various accounts (including cryptocurrency wallets). That program can derive your logins and passwords from your browser’s auto-filling data.

Sometimes tamperers would decrypt some of your files so you know that they do have the decryption tool. As Harpoonlocker virus is a relatively recent ransomware, anti-malware engineers have not yet found a way to undo its work. However, the decryption instruments are frequently upgraded, so the effective countermeasure may soon arrive.

Sure thing, if the hackers succeed in encoding victim’s critical files, the hopeless person will probably fulfill their demands. Despite that, paying to criminals does not necessarily mean that you’re getting your blocked information back. It is still dangerous. After getting the ransom, the racketeers may deliver a wrong decryption code to the victim. There were reports about ransomware developers just disappearing after getting the ransom without even writing back.

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 storage. Surely, that might be insufficient. The most crucial thing could be that one you were working on when it all went down. Nevertheless, it is something. It is also reasonable to scan your drives with the antivirus program after the OS restoration.

Harpoonlocker 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 Ravencoin, Iavpt, J2xnp, and some others. The two major differences between them and the Harpoonlocker are the ransom amount and the encoding method. The rest is almost identical: documents become inaccessible, their extensions altered, ransom notes are created in each directory containing encoded files.

Some fortunate victims were able to decrypt the arrested files with the help of the free tools provided by anti-malware experts. Sometimes the racketeers accidentally send the decryption code to the victims in the ransom readme. Such an extraordinary fail allows the injured part to restore the files. But naturally, one should never expect such a chance. Make no mistake, ransomware is a bandits’ technology to pull the money out of their victims.

How to avoid ransomware injection?

Harpoonlocker ransomware doesn’t have a endless power, so as any similar malware.

You can defend your computer from ransomware attack taking several easy steps:

  • Never open any letters from unknown senders with unknown addresses, or with content that has nothing to do with something you are expecting (can you win in a money prize draw without even taking part in it?). {In case|If the email subject is likely something you are expecting, scrutinize all elements of the questionable email carefully. A fake letter will always have mistakes.
  • Never use cracked or unknown software. Trojans are often shared as a part of cracked software, possibly under the guise of “patch” which prevents the license check. Understandably, dubious programs are very hard to tell from reliable software, as trojans sometimes have the functionality you seek. You can try searching for information on 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 objects you downloaded, check them with GridinSoft Anti-Malware. This program will be a perfect shield for your system.
Reasons why I would recommend GridinSoft1

There is no better way to recognize, remove and prevent ransomware than to use an anti-malware software from GridinSoft2.

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 “Yes” 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 computer for Harpoonlocker 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 completed, you will see the list of infections that GridinSoft Anti-Malware has detected. To remove them click on the “Clean Now” button in right corner.

GridinSoft Anti-Malware Scan Result

Frequently asked questions

🤔 How can I open “.locked” files?Are the “.locked” files accessible?

There’s no way to do it, unless the files “.locked” files are decrypted.

🤔 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. There are other ways to beat ransomware, but they take time.

🤔 Will GridinSoft Anti-Malware remove all the encrypted files alongside the Harpoonlocker virus?

Absolutely not! Unlike the ransomware program itself, the encrypted files do not jeopardize your system.
GridinSoft Anti-Malware only deals with actual viruses. The virus that has attacked your device is most likely still functional and running scans from time to time to encrypt any new files you might create on your computer after the initial attack. As it has been said above, the Harpoonlocker malware comes with the company. It installs backdoors and keyloggers that can steal your account credentials and provide hackers with easy access to your system in the future.

🤔 What actions should I take if the Harpoonlocker malware has blocked my PC and I can’t get the activation key.

In such an unfortunate situation, you need to prepare a flash memory card with a previously installed Trojan Killer.

🤔 And what should I do now?

{Some of the encrypted files can be found elsewhere.|Many of the blocked files might still be within your reach.

  • If you sent or received your important files through email, you could still download them from your online mail server.
  • You may have shared images or videos with your friends or relatives. Just ask them to post those pictures back to you.
  • If you have initially got any of your files from the Internet, you can try downloading them again.
  • Your messengers, social networks pages, and cloud drives might have all those files too.
  • It might be that you still have the needed files on your old computer, a laptop, phone, external storage, etc.

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 HARPOONLOCKER Ransomware & Recover PC


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

Operating System: Windows

Application Category: Virus

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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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